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Feb. 3, 2011: Operational Excellence Enters Design Phase
The diagnostic phase of the Operational Excellence component of Project 50 Forward concluded in December 2010 and the design phase launched in January 2011. Information gathered during the diagnostic phase created a “fact base” on operations for the Steering Committee to identify and prioritize ways Stony Brook can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of many of its departments by simplifying and automating administrative functions, making decision processes more transparent, and streamlining the organization. Opportunities for improvement were identified in departments such as facilities, finance, human resources, information technology, procurement, research administration, and student affairs.

During the design phase Stony Brook faculty and staff, grouped into initiative design teams, will examine the opportunities identified in the diagnostic phase and develop detailed solutions to improve Stony Brook’s administrative process and cost savings. The teams will gather input from the campus community using methods such as focus groups and surveys to make recommendations to the Steering Committee.

 Over the course of the next three to four months the initiative design teams will start their analyses and evaluations. Initiative managers are leading each team, supported by project sponsors from Stony Brook’s senior leadership. Each team provides cross-university representation and has expertise in the functions being reviewed.

The first four initiatives are:

Human Resources—The Hiring Process: This team is sponsored by Karol Kain Gray, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer of the Stony Brook Foundation, and Eric Kaler, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Lynn Johnson, assistant vice president for human resource services, will manage the team, which will focus on redesigning human resources-related operations such as the employee search and selection process, to streamline effort and improve user satisfaction.

Finance and Budget: Gray and Kaler are the sponsors of this team, which will be managed by Lyle Gomes, associate vice president for finance and university controller, and Mark Maciulaitis, assistant vice president for budget. This team will help develop enhancements to the budget process that will support budget planning; better align budgets with the University’s strategic priorities; and improve budget-related communications, tracking, and reporting. The team will also focus on redesigning and automating several finance-related transaction processes.

Procurement Systems: Gray and John H. Marburger III, vice president for research, will sponsor this team, which is managed by James Fabian, assistant vice president for procurement services. This effort will facilitate the implementation of an enhanced procurement system to provide streamlined processing of purchase orders and payments.

Organization Spans and Layers: Under this initiative, department heads will examine organizational structures and support levels in their areas to realign roles and responsibilities for positions affected by, for example, the simplification of administrative processes, the streamlining of the organization, and the early retirement incentive.

A Program Management Office (PMO) has formed to support the initiative design teams. The PMO’s purpose is to build and sustain a process for continuous improvement at Stony Brook. The PMO will engage in the following key activities:

  • Project management—coordinating and tracking initiative teams and managing cross-team interdependencies where applicable
  • Initiative coordination—compiling progress reports from initiative teams
  • Financial oversight—tracking finances to identify and realize cost savings
  • Academic integration—promoting faculty involvement on initiative teams
  • Communication—conveying program status and achievements to the Stony Brook community and reporting progress on a monthly basis to the Steering Committee

Through a gift to the Stony Brook Foundation, the engagement with Bain & Company has been extended through June 2011. This extension will enable Bain to assist the initiative design teams and the PMO during the design phase and to help Stony Brook sustain the improvement process.

With the launch of Project 50 Forward, Stony Brook is relying on input from all sectors of the Stony Brook community to achieve its goals. If you have suggestions on how Stony Brook can be made more effective and efficient, please contact the Project 50 Forward team.

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