University Business Magazine Honors University of West Georgia for Being a “Model of Efficiency”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

University of West Georgia is one of nine colleges and universities nationwide being recognized by University Business magazine in its winter 2012 “Models of Efficiency” national recognition program. Sponsored by Higher One, a company that assists in college business office operations, the Models of Efficiency program recognizes innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through technology and/or business process improvements.

Eddie Rogers“University of West Georgia’s efforts to centralize and streamline the pub and print group are a good example for other higher ed institutions to follow,” said Tim Goral, editor in chief of University Business. “In addition to an impressive financial savings, they’ve done a great job empowering students to manage their own projects as well as eliminating any unnecessary workload.”

Headed by Director Sally Roberts, Publications and Printing serves a vital role in the academic success of students, faculty and staff at the University of West Georgia. Pub and Print is easily accessible, produces award winning high quality products and services and has a rich history of experience and interaction with the campus community.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” said Roberts. “P&P is an amazing team and this couldn’t have been accomplished without their hard work and dedication.”

“In late 2009, as the recession began to take its toll on consumer spending and state tax collections, monies available for university funding also suffered dramatically. It became apparent to the leadership at the University of West Georgia that its Publications and Printing operation would need to wean itself from state subsidy and become a profitable operation in order to survive in the future,” said Mark Reeves, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services.

“To accomplish this, we knew that we first needed to increase revenues. We took a hard and candid look at Pub & Print’s business model; we identified the products and services that we were really good at producing, and then the products and services that our customers explicitly desired; where those overlapped became our core business offerings moving forward. We also had to contain the expenses related to producing these products and services. While Pub and Print achieved impressive savings in the areas of purchasing and materials management, the biggest opportunities for savings were in operational efficiencies,” said Reeves.

Dan Lewis, director of the Center for Business Excellence at the university, used business process redesign and lean six sigma to identify areas within the department that had the greatest opportunities for improvement, looking for potential increases in efficiency, reductions in cost, and generation of new revenue.

Research and competitive assessments revealed products and services that were being sought by the campus community but purchased elsewhere, including graduation invitations, holiday cards, CDs/DVDs, print-on-demand, posters/graphics, and laminating.

In its search for additional equipment, the department found a large-format printer in the Learning Resources Department and transferred it to pub and print for broader use. Similarly, Information Technology Services donated print-on-demand equipment.

After highlighting non-value-added aspects or parts of the process that the customer was unwilling to pay for, the team eliminated them. Worker responsibilities also shifted. Today, the supervisor focuses on keeping machines operating, while the front desk focuses on customers. Other processes, such as print-on-demand, were also redesigned. With the addition of a computer in the lobby of pub and print, students can now prepare and design their own text files on-site.

The changes generated a 23.5 percent productivity improvement, saving an estimated 18 hours a month. Taking student assistance and service out of the hands of the supervisor and into those of the office staff eliminated an estimated 313 minutes, recapturing $6,179 in monthly revenue. New graphic software shaved roughly 323 minutes off set-up time per month, generating an additional $6,377 in monthly revenue. Processes improved 42 percent the first year, from $470,000 to more than $670,000.

“This was the same initiative that we received the gold award for in customer service/ process efficiency from the University System of Georgia last month,” said Lewis. “While I am humbled by this recognition, I want to make sure that the credit goes to Sally Roberts and the staff of Publications and Printing for their initiative on new product research and teamwork for making the pieces come together.”

In addition to University of West Georgia, winter 2012 Models of Efficiency honorees include: Baldwin Wallace University (Ohio); Dallas County Community College District (Texas); Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management (Calif.); Northern Michigan University; NorthWest Arkansas Community College; Polk State College (Fla.); Southern California University of Health Sciences; and Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Models of Efficiency is an ongoing recognition program. Higher education institutions can participate in upcoming rounds by visiting www.universitybusiness.com/moe.

The program is sponsored by Higher One, a leading company focused on helping college business offices manage operations and provide enhanced service to students. Through a full array of services from refunds to payments, electronic billing, payment plans, and more, Higher One works closely with colleges and universities to ensure students receive financial aid refunds quickly, pay tuition and bills online, make on-campus and community purchases, and learn the basics of financial management.

“From creativity to planning to technology installation and results, we are always inspired by the honorees’ outstanding efforts to streamline operational efficiencies,” said Miles Lasater, co-founder and COO of Higher One. “We are proud to stand with University Business to support and recognize all nine Models of Efficiency winners.”

“We are all very pleased at the multiple recognitions this innovation has received,” said Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, president of UWG. “On the heels of the very prestigious gold (top) award for customer service / process efficiency from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, to be recognized nationally in the 2012 Models of Efficiency national recognition program is nothing short of exceptional. Of course, the biggest satisfaction comes from the efficiency benefits accrued to the students, faculty and staff of the University of West Georgia.”