CSG Winter 2013 – Continuous Process Improvement at Notre Dame

I’m at the CSG Winter meeting, being hosted in sunny LA by USC.

The morning workshop is on Process Improvement in IT. It starts by Mike Chapple from Notre Dame talking about their campus process improvement effort.

Process Improvement at Notre Dame

Ways to take Process Improvement work and make it non-threatening. The message is these are a series of tools to use to continue the work that’s been going on for over 100 years.

Creating a sustainable culture of continiuous improvement is one of the goals the President set.

Why CPI?

Internal – Mission to be a preeminent research university – have to do more to achieve that goal; Overburdened staff; Obligations to be good resource stewards.

External – Decline in benefication; increased financial aid; Increased healthcare costs.

Adapting CPI to culture – can’t just pick up corporate Process Improvement and use it. They visited other schools and industries, looked methodologies. They picked the Lean Six Sigma methodology. Uses DMAIC – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control.

Cultural lessons learned –
– Eliminate jargon – talk about what they’re doing, why, and what the results are. – Learned to Pull, not Push – can’t push people to do things in higher ed. Found projects that looked like good successes, and told those stories. Then the people in the units told the stories.
– Don’t talk about money – don’t cast efforts as financial savings. It’s about more than just money… it’s about creating time.
– Embraced the tradition – our tradition is to constantly improve.

CPI and the Broader University
Started outside of IT. Important to have early wins. Started training program, have had hundreds of people certified in the last three years, about 20% of professional staff at the University.

Law school had a problem around competitiveness. Realized that one of the issues was the timeliness of application turnaround. Typical law student only visits one or two campuses, generally after they’ve been admitted. They were taking too long to admit students, so weren’t getting the important visits. Worked with law school staff, now can turn around admissions in 30 days.

HR effort around creation of new staff positions. Took about six months to get a position created. Did a value-stream mapping effort. Now able to turn around a position creation in a little more than a day.

Effort to improve warehouse functions in central receiving.

CPI and IT

Team APEX – steering committee on campus, representation from each of the major units. Help with areas where it’s either nobody’s problem or everybody wants to own it.

911 Dispatch process – after VOIP implementation location information wasn’t accurate as people moved phones around. Developed solution where scripts run to collect MAC addresses of phones and jack location every night and updates info. REduced likelihood of incorrect address from 10% to 0.03%.

PCI DSS validation – Process was inefficient and complicated. Streamlined process and achieved considerable savings. They had overrated many of their merchant accounts, were able to simplify forms.

IT Project Process – Made improvements in way projects are tracked and prioritized. Created improvement in throughput and on-time performance.

DMCA compliance – managing the process was nobody’s problem. Things were slipping through the cracks. Did process improvement effort – IT took responsibility for more of the process, and automated the process. Went from 0% complaints handled within 30 days to 100%.

IT Training delivery – Wanted to use time from training group for other things. Looked at ways to create time in the training program. Made three changes: Streamlined course development (adopted materials from elsewhere instead of creating from scratch), saved 509 hours; Demand reduction (vetting process for what to say yes to), saved 391 hours; moved courses online with Lynda.com (saved over 100 hours).

Guest Wireless Access – PI effort ongoing now.

Concluding thoughts

Staffed PI office with three people. Have saved 12,885 hours of recurring time, financial impact of $22 million (one project was $21.8 M (pledge receivables)).


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