Sunrise at Pulley Tower

March 2014

Electronic Work Order Distribution

The Physical Facilities Department processes over 42,000 work requests annually. In the past, these work requests were printed and given to employees to execute. Once the work was completed, maintenance employees personally accounted for their time, materials used, and the actions taken. As you might imagine, this was a time and resource intensive process to manage and required a significant amount of data entry. This process was an ideal candidate for evaluation by a Lean team of Sandra Mohr, Paul DiBenedetto, Keith Buckley and Jeremy Davis.

Following an extensive evaluation of the current state for work orders, the team recommended that the paper process be eliminated and replaced with a paperless work order system using hand-held tablets. The paperless system allows for realtime updates to customers on the status of their work, and customers are no longer expected to wait several days to receive charges or learn about progress on their work request. This Lean project is on track to avoid over $200,000 annually in employee time spent manually documenting and tracking work orders, and the good news is this is only one of seven projects aimed at improving productivity and customer communication through better planning and scheduling of work.

Grants and Contracts “Leans” HERD Survey Process

The Grants and Contracts Office annually prepares the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey (HERD). The HERD Survey is the primary source of information on research and development expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities. The survey is comprised of information by field of research discipline and the source of funds.

The original goal of the project was to reduce the time needed to complete the survey. After reviewing the current state, the project team identified 59 attribute values which the team felt could be entered into Banner when grant accounts were established which would simplify the data collection process. A Qualtrics Survey was developed to send to Principal Investigators (PI) of current research grants requesting a research discipline as it pertains to their funded project. Grant accountants were trained on how to send the Qualtrics Survey to PIs for each new award and how to enter the data collected from the PIs’ responses into Banner. With all of the required information in one location, a report was developed to pull the data from Banner and organize it using pivot tables to complete a large portion of the HERD Survey and reduce the amount of time needed to prepare the survey.

The information now being maintained in Banner has proven to be more accurate, consistent and efficient in reporting to the National Science Foundation. It is estimated that because of the enhancements to the process, the time to complete the annual HERDS report was reduced by 25% and paper usage was reduced by 50%. It also is estimated that an additional time savings of 15% will be achieved for the next annual survey.

The team was led by Cindy Green from the Grants and Contracts Office with members Linda Manley, Paula Murray, Paula Sizemore, Patricia Makaroff, Sarah Persinger, Anne Schauer and Vanessa Gordon.

Lean Suggestion Program Update

To date, the Lean Suggestion Program has received 316 continuous improvement ideas since its establishment in the fall of 2013. The program was piloted in the Physical Facilities Department in August 2013 and went online in January 2014 for the entire university. Ideas have now been submitted from Academic Affairs, Finance and Business Services, Intercollegiate Athletics, IT Services, the Regional Campuses and University Advancement. This program was developed by a cross functional Lean team representing all divisions currently involved in the Lean program. The team’s primary goal was to provide employees with an easy method to present ideas for continuous improvement. The benefits of ideas generated from the ground up, by those who know the challenges firsthand, are tremendous. Results from the pilot program show that 45% of the ideas submitted became projects with 19 of those having already been completed. These completed projects have saved the university over $850,000 and have the potential to generate $249,000 in revenue. We would like to extend a thank you to all who have submitted Lean ideas and encourage each of you to submit ideas for continuous improvement in the future!