April 29, 2011
The structure of communications on campus, the various methods of payment and procurement used by the U of S, and the services and costs of in-house printing will be the three areas of focus as the Service and Process Enhancement Project (SPEP) moves into its second phase.
Richard Florizone, vice-president of finance and resources, said the three were identified from a long list of business processes examined in the first phase of SPEP which began late last year. That phase found “no giant, glaring opportunities or problems, but it did find a large number of areas where, like any organization, we can improve.” Those areas were ranked by impact in terms of dollars, alignment with the university’s strategic directions as well as by difficulty of implementation “but we have to be cautious about being too aggressive,” he said. “The risk would be that (major change) would interfere with integrated planning.”
The solution, he said, was to select a small number of initiatives for 2011 “and define where we want to go in the future.”
The three areas of focus—printing, communications and payments and procurement—will now undergo a study of process or structure redesign. In the case of communications, for example, that will mean looking to improve the connections between central communications and the services offered by colleges and units. Included in this phase of SPEP will be establishing working groups for each of the three areas, developing project charters and timelines, preparing implementation plans and identifying what external resources might be needed to carry out the change.
Florizone said the U of S is learning from similar processes underway at other universities in Canada, namely Manitoba, York and Calgary. “A principle in all we do is adhering to international standards and that means being informed by looking outside. SPEP is also following best practice for project management. That means taking a phased approach and setting milestones.”
The Board of Governors has approved $250,000 for the project “but overall, I want this to be cost neutral or even revenue positive,” said Florizone. “This is about finding ways to do things more effectively so we can deploy resources elsewhere.”