Category Archives: Business Operations Services

Customer Service Pilot Project—Phase 2

Initiating the Pilot

Auxiliary Services within Michigan Tech’s Administration has been conducting a Customer Service Pilot Project aimed at aligning our departments with our Mission and Guiding Principles. Specifically, our pillar of Customer Service/Service Excellence which states “Our units strive to create a great Michigan Tech experience for students, employees, and visitors. We seek to continuously enhance our understanding of customer and stakeholder needs that supports institutional values.” The pilot project consisted of creating a universal means of gathering customer service data from a variety of service-oriented locations on campus in order to poll a range of customers and situations. Auxiliaries partnered with the Office of Information Services and Business Operations in order to create location specific QR Codes that are able to be displayed in a tableau dashboard on Administration’s website. This dashboard is able to display both the “big picture,” combined results of the surveys from all of the locations the surveys have been deployed to and it is able to “drill down” to the specific locations where customers interact with Auxiliaries employees.

Locations that were selected for the pilot include: the Campus Store, the Portage Lake Golf Course, University Images, and the Central Ticketing Office.

Customer Service QR Code Ad
Look for our customer service QR Code stations around campus!

The Next Step

Phase two of the Customer Service Pilot Project included improving the design for the original “Rate our Service” ads by creating vanity URLs for each location that is tied to the same survey the QR Code is on that ad. This is a way to expand the response base from those who have used QR Codes before to everyone with a smart phone. Business Operations also created a second version of the ad that has a lower profile, so each location is able to decide what type of ad is appropriate for their space. Lastly, Business Operations created two different “How To” posters, one for the customer, explaining how to download the QR Code reader and use the “Rate our Service” ad and one for the Auxiliaries employees to explain to them how they are able to help their customers give the feedback that we find so important.

How to use a QR Code poster
Look for our “How to” posters around campus!

New locations for Phase Two include: the Mont Ripley Ski Area, the Memorial Union Guest Rooms and Office, the North Coast Grill and Deli, the Library Cafe, Coaches Corner, the Campus Cafe, Fusion, Huskies Cafe, and the Par and Grill.

If you have any questions on this or any other customer service project, please contact the Office of Information Services.


Continuous Improvement: Tips to Success

Establish an enduring culture

A leadership team who embrace change and are adaptable is critical. Similarly having a team who are resilient can also pay dividends. It’s also important to gauge the impact of any improvement work on the overall culture of the organization.

Lean MeetingGet feedback from all concerned

Be open to suggestions and take on-board feedback that has been given. Also remove blame from the equation, and allow for an open discussion.


On The Road—Educause and CUWFA

Donna Mathew attends the 2018 CUWFA Conference

Donna's Staff PhotoDonna Mathew, WorkLife Program Coordinator within VP for Administration, attended the College and University Work-Life-Family Association (CUWFA) 2018 conference. The annual CUWFA Conference took place on March 13, 2018. The three day event was hosted by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and was attended by over 100 work-life professionals from universities all over the country and Canada. This year’s conference focused on the theme of ‘Working Together for a Sustainable Tomorrow.’ The conference encouraged its attendees to focus on some of the unique work-life related challenges that colleges and universities face together, and exchange their experiences about what is working in their own institutions and where there still seems to be some struggle, so that they may develop solutions to close these gaps and move towards a more sustainable future.

Colin Neese attends the 2018 Educause Enterprise IT Summit

Picture of Colin NeeseColin Neese, Business Systems Analyst within the Office of Information Services, attended the 2018 Educause Enterprise IT Summit on March 5-7 in Orlando, Florida. This summit is a collaboration between EDUCAUSE, AIR, and NACUBO, the Enterprise IT summit brings together IT and finance leaders to discuss ways they can work together to address institutional challenges. The focus this year was around analytics and how they can be used to improve student success.

Need Help Finding Professional Development Opportunities?

If you would like assistance in locating professional development opportunities, please contact the WorkLife Connections Office at worklife@mtu.edu. Remember that professional development activities should be discussed with and approved by your supervisor.


Safety Tip of the Week—Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety IconWe’ve all seen that outlet that is filled to capacity. Extension cords everywhere and cords tangled in a knot that has no foreseeable end.  Did you know that this situation could be a fire hazard and an example of poor electrical safety practice? This week’s safety tip of the week is dealing with electrical safety.

An easy thing to remember is to unplug appliances when they are unused, this also saves money on electric bills.

When unplugging a cord, pull gently at the plug rather than the cord itself.

Replace and damaged electrical equipment immediately; do not attempt to repair equipment unless qualified and authorized—you wouldn’t was to shock yourself.

Do not use electrical equipment in wet or damp conditions without a ground fault circuit interrupter—water conducts electricity and could seriously injure you.

Do not tie power cords in knots; this can lead to short circuits. Only use extension cords for temporary use.

Do not overload outlets with power strips and adapters.

Allow air circulation around appliances to prevent over heating, and use light bulbs with the correct wattage to prevent overheating.

Switch power tools OFF before connecting them to a power supply.

Poor Electrical Safety Practice has the potential to start a fire—if you find you self in that situation call 911 immediately.

For other information visit the OSHA website: osha.gov/Publications/electrical_safety.html


Dashboards—Best Practices

A Dashboard is a visual tool that allows you to view data in real time. When coupled with your Key Performance Indicators, you can build a dashboard that enables you to gauge the health of your organization or business unit at a glance.

An image of an example of a quality dashboard.
An example of a good quality dashboard.

Best Practices for Developing a Dashboard

Dashboards normally have limited visual space, so choosing which metrics are displayed is a key decision. Remember that the goal of a Dashboard is to display only the most critical data and metrics to provide your staff with an “at a glance” view of how well they are meeting the business objectives.

“A picture is worth 1,000 words.” This is a great rule to use when trying to make your dashboards. Try to keep things as visual as possible with different chart types, colors, shapes, or interactivity and try to avoid turning your dashboard into a big spreadsheet.

When you start developing your dashboard, think about how you are going to keep it up-to-date. Your dashboard is only as accurate as the data it’s based off of, so determining the refresh rate of your dashboard should be taken into consideration.

The easier your dashboard is to access and use, the greater the chance that your staff will buy in to this new idea.

An image of an example of a poor quality dashboard.
An example of a poor quality dashboard.

Avoid the following Pitfalls

Adding in too much complexity during your starting phase. Keep it simple at first, and build in complexity once you have buy-in from your staff and have communicated your metrics.

Ensure that your metrics have been defined and communicated to your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Displaying a metric that your staff does not understand, not only takes up precious space on your Dashboard, but it adds in a level of confusion that could affect your staff’s level of buy-in.

Avoid clutter and non-value-added visualizations. Keep it simple and only include your most important metrics.

When developing your dashboard, be sure to account for the additional time and resources it will take to maintain and modify them.

Make sure that your metrics are aligned with your organization’s goals. Revisit your set metrics periodically to ensure that you are charting the correct course to achieve success.

Displaying poorly designed charts or graphs may add more confusion than understanding to your dashboard. Avoid this pitfall by having some outside eyes review your dashboards.

Contact us for Help!

For further information or questions, please contact the Office of Information Services.


Special Operating Hours Pilot

Business Operations has facilitated a pilot project designed to gather and organize the special operating hours from the various departments on campus into a single source. This special operating hours project was initiated in 2015 when the daily Tech Today feed was overwhelmingly populated with special notices from departments across campus communicating their specific hours for the fall, winter, and spring breaks. The ultimate goal of the project is to have Tech Today serve as a reminder for departments to submit their special operating hours to Business Operations where they will be posted on the /Business-Operations main page. The ultimate list of the department’s operating hours is also linked to from Michigan Tech’s main page.

According to Google analytics, the Business Operations website has been visited over 750 times in the last month that the special operating hours report has been active.

You can find the special operating hours form and list on the business operations website at mtu.edu/business-operations.

Business Operations | Special Operating Hours
Business Operations | Special Operating Hours

Did you use the Special Operating Hours webpage?

You can see it here! Let us know how we did! Please respond here: mtu.news/2E37DQ1


Parent Ambassador Training

Danielle Davis
Danielle Davis, Business Operations

Danielle Davis, Office Assistant for Business Operations and Michigan Tech’s representative on the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative (CCGSC), along with four other parents from the community participated in Parent Ambassador training through the Copper County Great Start Collaborative. The Parent Ambassador training provided the parents with information on the local resources and services that are available for families in the community in times of need or crisis. Part of the training included a two-day intensive Strengthening Families Framework Training that was presented by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC). This is the first time this training has been offered locally and it was free for area family service providers and parents. If interested in future training sessions, please contact the CCGSC for more information.

Participants in the Strengthening Families Framework Training learned how to integrate what they learned into existing programs, strategies, systems, and community opportunities. Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The ECIC is focused on engaging families, programs, and communities in building protective factors into everyday life such as parental resilience, social connections, and knowledge of parenting and child development.

The newly trained Parent Ambassadors have already assisted many local families in finding resources and services in the community. The CCGSC, along with the current Parent Ambassadors will be training another group of parents in the future. If you are interested please contact the CCGSC or Danielle for more information.

Danielle also participated in the Strengthening Families Assessment with the CCGSC. The assessment helped the Great Start Parents Coalition set goals for the next year. They are currently working on “Welcome to the Community” folders that will include community resources for new employees and students with families who participate in orientation at Michigan Tech. Danielle will be adding community events to the WorkLife website in an effort to further network Michigan Tech’s community outreach and the CCGSC’s efforts to provide resources to parents in the community.


Lean Focus—Supply Room 5S

Cleaning Up!

Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area 5S Team (left to right): Colin Neese, Andi Barajas, Cayce Will, Danielle Davis, Ann Kitalong-Will, and Lean Facilitator Laura Harry.
Fifth Floor Supply Area 5S Team (left to right): Colin Neese, Andi Barajas, Cayce Will, Danielle Davis, Ann Kitalong-Will, and Lean Facilitator Laura Harry.

Business Operations and the Office of Information Services completed a 5S of their supplies area. The previous state of the supply area was unorganized, full of items nobody wanted or needed, and staff couldn’t find the supplies they need easily. The new, current state has an organized supply area, having supplies on hand that are needed, removing unused items, eliminating waste and to created an easy order process. The improvement ties into the University’s Strategic Goals by promoting safety, effectiveness, and efficiency and creates an aesthetic and sustainable infrastructure. A Kanban system was created for reorder and to determine inventory levels. Weekly audits of the space are posted in the supply cubicle that staff and students are included in to sustain the area.

Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area Before the 5S.
Fifth Floor Supply Area Before the 5S.
Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area During the 5S. “Keep, Return, and Rid”
Fifth Floor Supply Area During the 5S. “Keep, Return, and Rid.”
Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area After the 5S.
Fifth Floor Supply Area After the 5S.

On the Road—Ann attends the Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Kitalong-Will PictureAnn Kitalong-Will, Executive Director for Business Operations in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, attended the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Conference and Exposition in San Francisco, October 23-25. This annual conference is sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
The D&I conference provides opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices to grow a globally inclusive workplace through programs and knowledge-sharing that support employee development. Ann will be working toward enhancing Michigan Tech’s work-life initiatives by developing inclusive programming to support the University’s increasingly globally diverse employees.

Safety Topic—Active Shooter Training

Police officer with students

Business Operations and the Office of Information Services received hands-on active shooter training from Public Safety. The training was on the 5th Floor of the Huntington National Bank Building where the offices are housed. The training focused on customizing a response plan that could be executed in the office’s daily location in the event of an active shooter threat. After the training, our staff developed and recorded the customized active shooter response plan for the staff and students who work on the floor. The plan includes three different threat scenarios: “Get Out,” “Lock Out,” and “Take Out.” The “Get Out” plan involves everyone on the floor safely leaving the building and meeting up in a safe place. For the “Lock Out” plan, the offices are creating a “goBag” in case those on the floor need supplies while they wait out the threat and are in a safe, barricaded place to do so. The “Take Out” plan is only used in the event that those on the floor cannot use the “Get Out” or “Lock Out” options. When the students who work in the offices come back this fall, there will be a training on what the new response plans are in order to ensure everyone understands the plan and that it’s easy to follow.

Having these plans in place and regularly practiced will give the staff and student employees an set of instructions in-case of an active shooter on the floor or in the building.