Just Over One Hundred Days In Office

Memo from the chairman: SHABANJI OPUKAH
To: All Members
24th October, 2011

On behalf of the Management Committee ( MC), I would like to thank all our club members for their continued support of the MC and patronage of the Club in varying degrees. This has ensured that we, your MC are energised and encouraged to keep working to deliver on the mandate bestowed on us to provide service to our club members and other club customers. It is not an easy task, indeed it can even at times appear thankless, but I can assure all members that we are committed to delivering service and managing the club as best we can.

To date we have done just over One Hundred days in office. That is a time of some ritual against which we are happy to run you through some of the things we have done so far and to state what is ongoing and what is imminent.

You may recall that we established sub committees to make the work of the MC more effective and productive. This was to ensure that we function efficiently and in a focussed way with team work and transparency / accountability being the guiding principles.

The sub committees developed their plans of action on which our ongoing work streams are now based. You can view some of these on the website or better still contact the various sub committee heads and teams for further information. I am completely determined as Chairman that we progress things in this way. I would like this regime to be remembered for bringing about innovation, change and development that is sustainable and beneficial to Kakamega Sports Club.

On the Development, HR and Communications front, we have made a lot of progress. In short we have crafted the right plan for attaining the objectives identified in this area viz; agreed a work schedule with the contractor for the completion of the new club house, established a working relationship with the consultant and the contractor. The new club house is close to the stage of laying the first floor slab and the ring beam. A delay was caused by lack of NEMA certificate but this was resolved by the MC to enable the construction to proceed apace. We have established a site meetings schedule at which all issues are addressed and resolved amicably.

We have developed a plan for migration from the temporary club structure to the new club house upon its completion. This plan includes ways and means of raising money for furnishing the new club house which as you know falls on members not Mumias Sugar Company who are financing the construction of the new club house. We shall soon be asking for members’ contributions like levies towards the furnishing project. We shall also be utilising some of the resources at our disposal to raise funds for this project.

Our migration to the new club house calls for attention as to how we shall manage the new expanded facility. This includes the need for more competent and better qualified staff to add to or substitute what we have. To this end, the MC has carried out a detailed audit of our HR resources and made recommendations for action. We shall soon be implementing the appropriate HR changes to address this issue. I can assure you they have been well thought through and documented. We shall implement them without fear or favour and professionally. We intend to introduce a work smatter and think better culture in our HR management to address the bloated payroll we are currently carrying.

The MC has examined the Club membership numbers and is now nearly able to distinguish with some certainty the various categories of members including those that have been idle for ages and possibly even some that may be on our members register irregularly. The next step will be to engage the members accordingly to ensure that their membership adds value to them and the club. The MC will also be carrying out a membership drive to boost the membership base taking advantage of the new club house as a key selling point. It is expected that this exercise will result in better revenue generation for the club. Note that, presently our club is actually making do with a shoe string budget. We are literally on a wing and prayer having inherited a poor state of financial affairs that was caused by many recent capital expenses and losses made in the business in the preceding financial year as reported in the accounts at the AGM. We inherited some liabilities such as trees that were allegedly sold by the MC in place in 2005. The current MC is addressing this matter on a case by case basis. We will communicate any outcomes as necessary.

The matter of our land registration has been a bane for the club for many years gone by and money wasted on trying to resolve it. I am glad to report that the MC has finally fingered the stumbling blocks and we are addressing this with a view to resolving this very important matter, hopefully by the end of this year, all things being normal and equal. This is a key objective and deliverable for the MC.

On communications: We are determined to keep our members informed via all available channels. I may reiterate that for us nothing is too big or too small to handle providing that it is not in the direction of mere gossip, innuendo or empty rumour mongering. You have seen the Chairman’s memos before, you have received emails and you continue to see an active website. We have developed and adopted a communications strategy that will soon result in other products including a newsletter which is under development.

With the ongoing club house construction, our car park has more or less been lost. We have been able to get the MoPW to assist us with equipment to create more space and we have plans to enhance this in due course using the same resource.

Our eight rooms provide affordable and quality accommodation with excellent meals in Kakamega. The MC is working on boosting bed space occupancy ratios that have of late been weak due to several factors which we believe include the disruption caused by the ongoing construction and the general economic downturn in the country. I urge all our members to act as our ambassadors and salesmen for our rooms. They are a vital source of revenue for the club.

Though a very small step and you may not have noticed it, the MC has now introduced mugs instead of cups to serve tea. We have also recently been able to stock the bar with more and appropriate glasses so that you are not served your favourite whisky or brandy in the wrong glass. We wish to maintain standards that are commensurate with our club status. That is what we are – a members club. Please expect more changes in this direction in the days and months ahead.

Golf forms a key part of the club’s activities. Unfortunately we have been starved of tournaments most of the year 2011. The Golf Captain who is the KGU recognised person in the golfing arena for our club has been asked to be more aggressive in securing tournaments. We understand that our nearby neighbouring clubs have advantages over us but we should still be able to secure our own tournaments. I urge our members to make their contributions to get more action in the golfing area. The smooth swing news is that our golf course is in great shape at the moment and that in itself is reason why we must succeed in getting more tournaments. Heading to November and December we are already assured of two tournaments but we need more. We have carried out a thorough audit or diagnosis of all our golf equipment and have a list ready for action. The plan is to repair them in order of priority depending on availability of funds. We do not want to overwork the new equipment in case they break down and lead us into limbo again. Meanwhile we have put in place a golf course maintenance regime aimed at keeping the course in sound shape whilst also saving on the fuel budget. This has in the past been a runaway spend area.

One area where the MC is paying a lot of attention is finance management. In this regard, the MC is about to launch two key innovations namely, a quick books accounting system for all our business operations and a voucher system to replace the current difficult and confusing money wasting cash sales system.

On quick books we have installed the necessary hardware, captured data up to September 2011 and completed work on the back office. We aim to complete the front office installation and migrate to the system by the beginning of November. This has been a necessary capital spend that will be of use to the club for many years to come. Going forward, it is expected that the MC will now be discussing our business operations and management based on the right platform with proper management accounts every month. We should be able to track performance and seal any loopholes that may ensue.

On vouchers: We have been to Nyanza Club to pick lessons on how they are managing the system. The outcome is that, this is a user – friendly, quick fix solution with least cost and yet much added value. It helps to avoid the ever infuriating and loss leading activity of cash dealing at the bar and other areas of the business. We will be implementing the voucher system at Kakamega Sports Club with effect from early November 2011. I would appeal to all our members and their guests to please render their utmost cooperation to make this change – over a success. We should avoid situations where we may be forced to post some of our members for failure to pay their bills. We will give strict instructions to staff to render service and get payment or they may face penalties. The ideal solution for a cashless system is complete IT migration such as exists at other clubs but the cost of this is a hindrance to us at the moment. Going forward, this is where Kakamega Sports Club aims to be. The voucher system is therefore only a precursor of other things to come funds permitting.

On procurement: In due course we shall set in place a procurement system that aims to avoid last minute unplanned and opportunistic purchases whose side outcome has always been a loss of club revenue. The quick books programme that we are due to roll out will among others, help us in setting up the new procurement system. Watch this space. I am keen that we do all we can to set in place a transparent and accountable management system at our club to save money, introduce efficiency and modernise the way we work. It is the only way to go and I am happy the whole MC team is reading from the same page on this key issue.

Overall, we are working on all ways and means to strengthen the club’s revenue base and grow the business focussed on the three pillars of Innovation, Change and Development. Our new club house provides us with an excellent opportunity and anchor to grow the club, raise its profile and truly set it in its place for the 21st century. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. The future for Kakamega Sports Club can only be bright. We need the support of our members and all our patrons to achieve this. The Management Committee under my Chairmanship is dedicated to ensuring we succeed. Our Club vision, Go West, Grow and Enjoy continues to inspire us.