Thursday, August 20, 2009

Camp Kaizen

For the last several years, I have been directing a week long church camp for fathers and sons called, "Dads Camp". Each year, I use continuous improvement techniques to make the outing easier, cost less, and reduce preparation time. Here's a story about improving the financial aspects of our event.

In 2008, a number of fathers spent their own money for camp expenses and once camp was completed, it took weeks to straighten out the mess and get everyone paid. Receipts were unclear, the process was not understood, and miscommunication occurred. So, using lean improvement methods, we made the camp expense process much easier by changing the following:

  1. All camp expenses had to be pre-approved before the actual event or they would not be reimbursed.
  2. Several required camp items were paid with the church credit card in advance eliminating the need to front all the expense money.
  3. Expense forms were brought to the camp so that they could be completed and sent back to the church office immediately for faster turnaround.
  4. Thank you gifts were purchased in advance of the outing for distribution at camp instead of weeks later.

These kaizens made the wrap-up process so much easier and I am pleased to report that our camp budget was in the black. Using kaizen techniques, we didn't need a bailout. Even a few small changes can make a difference and there will be even more improvements next year.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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