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Archive for Sunday, August 19, 2012

KU hopes efficiencies around campus bring major savings

August 19, 2012

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Renegotiating office supply contracts doesn’t make a splash, but it’s a suggestion that’s saving Kansas University money.

Last fall KU started implementing suggestions made by Huron, a private company that audited the university.

Audit recommendations

Gavin Young, Kansas University provost communications coordinator, outlined a number of other changes the university will implement from the Huron audit:

• Create shared service centers that will consolidate some administrative and human resources staff from different departments under one roof.

“As opposed to having multiple people in every unit, you centralize those functions in a shared services center,” Young said. Young explained that in some small departments, one person is in charge of six administrative jobs. Instead, some of the tasks would be passed to shared service centers, eliminating certain responsibilities from staff. Administrative and human resources staff would be transferred from different departments to fill these centers.

• Switch to electronic pay system, which eliminates all paper from the payroll and makes employee payment easier.

• Push to increase enrollment numbers by attracting more students to campus and to the residence halls.

Gavin Young, the provost communications coordinator at KU, said renegotiating the price the university pays for paper, paper clips, and scientific and other supplies will save the university as much as $800,000.

Young said many other savings will come from increased efficiency and fewer worker hours.

For example, the Facilities Operations and Housing Maintenance staffs combined to form Facility Services, which Young said allows a more efficient use of employees.

Vince Avila, interim Facility Services director, said in the past both offices were busy at different times of the year and sometimes short on employees. Combining the staff allows more efficient scheduling and helps avoid using contract labor.

The way KU has organized maintenance has changed into a zone system. Facilities Operations used to work out of a central office near Bob Billings Parkway and Kasold Drive.

“That’s a little ways out there if you are on the main campus,” Avila said. “They would have to clock in at the shops and come all the way on campus and then come back out at lunch time.”

So KU is splitting campus maintenance into zones, decreasing drive and response time for crews, as well as vehicle mileage.

“I think this will provide better customer service,” he said.

Young said full implementation of all changes the university adopted from the Huron suggestions could be a few years off.

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