I learned about, and became fascinated with, the Toyota Production System (TPS) while I was in University.
One of the main goals of the TPS is to eliminate waste, which come in forms that typically would not immediately come to mind. It has been said that the savings from waste reduction are much greater than reducing the number of employees, which is the typical, default strategy of many organizations and corporations.
Rather than increasing unemployment, let’s look at the following forms of waste.
- Over-production – Is your church or ministry wastefully over-producing anything without thinking through whether it is needed? Are you printing thousands of bulletin shells for that week, only to see 80% of them left in the seats once the service is over?
- Motion (of operator or machine) – Do you have anyone traveling unnecessarily?
- Waiting – Are there any staff members who sit idly by while waiting for things? Could the process/system be re-written to eliminate any waiting? Are people forced to sit around while their dial-up internet loads the page, and you don’t want to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if that time wasted would pay for the high speed?
- Conveyance - Are documents being printed and hand delivered between departments rather than just emailed?
- Processing itself – Are the ways that things are being processed just flat out inefficient and/or redundant? An extreme example would be for bookkeeping still being done on paper, rather than electronically.
- Inventory – Did you pay to have a billion bulletin shells printed in 1989, only to have them changed about 10 times since then…and they are still sitting around? Are you keeping old equipment, which takes up storage space, and then finding yourself undergoing an expansion project for more room?
- Correction (rework and scrap) – Do you have a terrible Quality management system, which causes the reproduction of another million of something that had a small spelling error?
Financial stewardship in Christianity is the belief that God is the true owner of our possessions. As such, we will be held accountable to God for the way in which we manage those possessions (resources) that have been given to us. I encourage your church or ministry to look at ways waste elimination efforts can be improved.