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Efficiency Review: Faster reimbursements, master calendar among changes

President Napolitano gives a progress report and announces the latest improvements she’s asked the Efficiency Review Working Group to begin implementing this month:

Dear UCOP Colleagues,

Thanks to your ideas and efforts, the UCOP Efficiency Review is having a real impact on how we do things. I’m pleased and excited that so many of you have embraced the process and helped make OP more efficient and responsive.

Here are the latest recommendations I’ve asked the Efficiency Working Group to begin implementing this month, as well as some important milestones we’ve achieved thanks to your ideas:

1) Faster expense reimbursement: I’m pleased to report that we’ve simplified the process of submitting expense reports and shortened the time it takes to get reimbursed. Since January, 150 UCOP staff in more than 30 departments have been trained to use the travel and business entertainment reimbursement system, Express. Thanks to that training, more than 20 departments are receiving payments 15 to 20 days faster by directly entering expense reports into Express. Direct entry makes editing the reports easier and shortens processing time by eliminating the need to fill out a paper form and send it to the Business Resource Center (BRC) to be entered into the system. As part of a commitment to continually improve this process, all UCOP departments will be redirected through the BRC for all travel and business entertainment audits — instead of UCLA — by Oct. 1, 2014. This will standardize the review process and provide a consistent application of policies and documentation requirements for all of UCOP, leading to quicker reimbursements for all.

2) Creation of master calendars for systemwide meetings and reports: Feedback from campuses as well as UCOP staff showed that a calendar to track all systemwide meetings would save time and money on travel, particularly for campus-based staff. Such a calendar would also improve coordination with UC locations and make collaboration easier across OP departments and divisions. Equally important, a central database of reports to UCOP from around the system would make reporting requirements more transparent, possibly reduce the number of reports and advance UCOP’s mission to support campuses. In the coming weeks, a task force will be named to create these tools. The group will engage with departments and make recommendations on how UCOP can more effectively manage systemwide meetings and reports.

3) Cut down on offsite document storage: As part of our ongoing effort to reduce the amount of paper we use and store, UCOP Records Manager Laurie Sletten is leading a review of more than 8,900 boxes of documents currently stored off site and at UCOP. The review, suggested by the Less-Paper/Paper-Less work group and the UCOP sustainability focus group, is expected to lower our storage costs by reducing the number of retained documents. It is also expected to free up much-needed floor space for better use. The review will take place in August, so please give Laurie your swift attention if she contacts you to review documents and retention schedules.

4) Silo-busting speaker series: One way to help us be more efficient is to learn as much as possible about what our colleagues do and how we can help them. The UCOP CFO Division has had great success in this area with its Lunch and Learn speaker series and has offered to open up the series to all of OP. Each month, a UCOP leader will give a talk on his or her department’s mission, how it interacts with the rest of OP and how other departments can help it be more efficient. The first speaker will be John Valva, executive director of Alumni and Constituent Affairs, on Friday, July 18, 12 to 1 p.m., in Franklin Lobby 1. Future speakers and dates will be announced in Link.

Looking ahead, I wanted to let you know about a new focus group for executive assistants that’s going to kick off in July. Bringing together our executive assistants — who know so much about how things get done at UCOP — will provide us with valuable insight for improving our efficiency.

Lastly, I want to thank Robert Hayes, Matthew Leet, Pamela Madison and Kurt Vergara for their hard work putting in place the improved wayfinding signs in the Franklin elevator lobbies. I’ve found them very helpful and I hope you do, too.

As you can see, it’s been a busy month. Thanks again for your commitment to improving UCOP. Please keep the ideas coming, and I’ll be in touch again next month.

Yours very truly,
Janet Napolitano



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