Lee Kuntz coaches a foundation team through the design of a just-in-time, efficient, and effective paperless electronic payment process.
When the pandemic hit, this foundation’s grant payment process became unfeasible. Employees had to pick up paper checks and the related support from the foundation’s office. Then that pile was transported from one employee’s home to another for preparation and approval. The checks were then mailed to grantees’ offices, making them inaccessible to grantees working at home. In emergency cases, the foundation issued a manual ACH, which took about 40 minutes to complete. This situation caused the CFO to ask: How can we make these clumsy, time-consuming payment process work for the 3,000 grants payable during our busy season?
The CFO contacted IPD’s Lee Kuntz to learn how to install an efficient and effective paperless ACH process in just three months. First, Lee met with finance and grantmaking leaders to hear their goals and challenges. Then Lee recommended a quick-start package of process transformation training and coaching that offered the right tools and the right size project for the situation.
Lee kicked off the project by providing IPD’s four-hour, live, virtual Think Differently Concepts Training™ to the joint finance and grantmaking team. Through this training, attendees learned to spot wasted process steps and moved from resisting to driving improvement.
Next, Lee coached the team through a live virtual deep dive into the organization’s existing check and manual ACH payment processes through four three-hour virtual meetings. The newly designed processes moved the foundation from making ten manual ACH payments weekly to making 300–400 ACH payments using the same team and a more controlled, efficient process. The two outcomes of the deep dive were a more streamlined approach for both check and ACH payments and a detailed plan to put the new processes in place.
The team then quickly and successfully rolled out its newly designed process by implementing forty system, process, policies, and roles improvement tasks. The foundation said the project was delivered on budget and on time, which allowed the new process to be used for the busy season, making the foundation a hero with its employees, grantees and donors.
These success stories demonstrate how Innovation Process Design's proven approach cures operational pain and creates measurable improvement for organizations that rely on a smooth delivery of services.