Spring “Cleaning”

Spring and early summer can be a slower period for many departments on campus.  This is a great time to set aside a few days to make some improvements in your area or within the processes that you work with.  Here are some of the improvement events taking place this spring on campus:

  • Golf Course merchandising process – Improvements were made to the process of moving inventory that is delivered to the sale floor in April
  • Campus Directory update process – The annually printed campus directory currently requires a 2-3 month long process for updating  and formatting content.  A team will seek improvements for the process in June.
  • Facilities Shared Network Drive 5S Project – The “P” Drive in Facilities was a mess; some employees didn’t even know where they saved their own files.  Their shared drive is undergoing a transformation that will include guidelines so that new order will be maintained. 

What should you be cleaning this spring?

PDCA and the “Cash Hub”

The Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) cycle is the backbone of an improvement event.  It is a four step model for carrying out a change.  Here is a real life example of what PDCA can look like:

Plan: Recognize an opportunity and plan a change.  Collect Baseline Data and gather information.

Auxiliary Services identified an area that needed improvement.  Problem Statement:

“Cash accounting and financial reporting is decentralized and inconsistent among the operational units of the Memorial Union, Dining Services, Merchandising and Rozsa Center.  This is causing: unclean month end reports, delays in deposits and remittances, and stopped work when employees are out.”

Do: Observe and analyze the current process, design an improved process, test the change.

A team was formed and met for five days.  They analyzed problems and brainstormed solutions.  As a result, by day five a new cash accounting process was implemented. 

A hub and spoke model was created, and the 16 operational units began sending their accounting to the newly created “cash hub.”  Each operational unit would submit a daily cash bag to the cash hub.  The hub model allowed for the following:

  • A controlled environment for cash accounting to be completed
  • Staff specialists in cash accounting
  • Work that continues even if an employee is out

Check: Review the new process and monitor the results.  Is it working?

Cash hub staff continued to collect data and performed additional monitoring of the new system.  A few areas for improvement were observed:

  • Numerous bag errors being submitted to the hub
  • Numerous hours were spent fixing and deciphering the errors
  • 2 new units need to feed into the hub
  • No time to handle new units

Adjust: Modify and make improvements as needed.  Continue to check and adjust, or PDCA again if the change didn’t work. 

Standardized work sheets and visual aids were created to help the staff at each operational unit submit an error free bag.  Feedback loops were also created for error tracking.  As a result of their monitoring and continued improvements, the Auxiliary Services cash hub has been seeing results. 

Website Launch

The Continuous Improvement website will be launched later next week.  There will be a presentation of the website at the Staff Council meeting on Thursday, April 21st at 12:00 PM in the MUB Datolite Room 100.  Everyone is invited to attend.

The website launch will also be announced in Tech Today!

Website Beta Test

Today the Continuous Improvement website will be sent to a select group of individuals to undergo beta testing.  A group has been selected to help rid the site of any broken links or bugs and to help ready it for it’s public release in one of the upcoming weeks.  Stay tuned for the launch!

Welcome!!

Hello Everyone!  Welcome to the Continuous Improvement Blog. 

This blog is set up to complement the Continuous Improvement Website (which will be on-line soon!), to keep our campus community up-to date and involved in University improvement efforts.  Here are a few things you can expect hear about through this blog:

  • Announcements of new or updated tools and resources,
  • Announcements of continuous improvement overviews, trainings and report outs
  • Success stories, lessons learned, pictures and other examples of on-campus improvement initiatives
  • Links and information to outside resources, webinars, and trainings
  • Quick tips and other educational posts, and
  • Guest writers sharing their stories.

I am also very open to suggestions you might have for future blog posts!   

-Wendy Davis