AASCU Innovations Exchange
Your Source for Innovations in Public Higher Education

CSU Fresno logo
Project Title:Business Process Improvement InitiativesInstitution Name:Fresno State University Innovation Category:Resource Management Project Director:Cynthia Teniente-Matson, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial OfficerContact Information:(559) 278-2083, cmatson@csufresno.eduWebsite:http://www.csufresno.edu
Project Description:In the summer of 2009, Fresno State began the journey of business process improvement.  Since then, the university has undertaken two rounds of improvements, first in academic personnel, human recourses, and payroll functions using a corporate consulting model; second in a wider set of processes/products using the Lean University methodology. Each project was led by a team facilitator with support from a project sponsor. 
Objectives:
  • Reduce cycle time of processes
  • Reduce rework and increase accuracy
  • Free up time of existing staff to complete other duties
  • Increase user and producer satisfaction
Outcomes:
  • Automation of employee separation process and employee transaction process
  • Shortened the gift acceptance process cycle time
  • Increased the accuracy of reporting on open facilities work orders
  • Reduce the number of open facilities work orders (future)
Challenges/Problems Encountered:Those involved initially doubted it this was the “right time” to undertake these initiatives, given furloughs and budget constraints. However, as one faculty member aptly put it “Now is the time when we can’t afford not to do it.” During these process improvement projects, team members (as well as their colleagues who were not serving directly on process teams) began to see the power of the changes they were planning and what impact they were having on the campus.
Evaluation Approach:Each process improvement project had its own improvement measures and desired outcomes. Developing measures and then assessing the projects, both before and after, was/is the responsibility of the project team. From that information, team members could measure the process improvement initiatives’ effectiveness and then determine if the respective projects were complete or if they needed to “drill-down” further to find deeper problems hampering success. 
Potential for Replication:Fresno State did its process improvement projects in two rounds. After the first round, feedback from sponsors, facilitators, team members and others involved was taken into account before the next round of improvements was undertaken. When the next round was undertaken, the methodology was changed based on feedback from the first round. One of the key lessons learned from these improvement projects was the importance of selecting the process improvement tool that best fits the product/process being evaluated.  When an initiative is being undertaken, it is important to know where the inherent flaw is located.  How an initiative is undertake can vary greatly depending if it is a process flow issue, versus a product design issue.   
Additional Resources:http://www.leanuniversity-uco.com
CEO-to-CEO Contact:John D. Welty , Presidentjohnw@csufresno.edu
(559) 278-2324
Date Published: Monday, April 18, 2011