UCLA saves millions in costs
Automation and efficiency have helped UCLA boost productivity even during a prolonged period of diminished resources.
By Ann Burke, Published in the UCLA Today March 2006
In a presentation to UC regents, Sam Morabito, associate administrative vice chancellor, said that one unit alone Business and Administrative Services (BAS) doubled productivity between fiscal 1991 and 2005 when staffing declined by 15%.
"Our focus has been on eliminating unnecessary steps in work-flow processes and using technology to automate where possible," Morabito told the regents, meeting at Covel Commons on March 15.
Morabito brought into sharp focus the dramatic ways in which automation has changed the workplace.
In 2001, BAS employees were inputting 96% of transactions by hand, using paper forms that had to be centrally reviewed and keypunched, Morabito said. By the end of 2005, employees were inputting 90% of transactions online, using embedded business rules and post-audit review that eliminated the need for central office handling.
In 2002, UCLA began giving students the option of paying bills electronically. Today, 95% of students choose e-bills, saving the university about $250,000 a year, Morabito said.
At UCLA Housing, students can access services around-the-clock using self-service software.
This so-called smart technology frees residence hall staff members to handle issues requiring personal attention.
Even during a time when campus space increased 2 million square feet, UCLA has saved $16.6 million in purchased utilities. The savings came from a 12% decrease in energy consumption since 1998-99 and the avoidance of costs related to a 2% annual growth of energy consumption, Morabito said.
The campus saved utilities costs in four ways: centralized building systems controls that enabled setbacks of heating and air-conditioning systems during off-peak hours, lighting retrofits, energy-saving equipment and the consolidation of cooling towers.
In the late 1990s, UCLA began a strategic sourcing initiative that has returned almost $57 million in direct savings and rebates to campus departments, the Office of the President and UC Merced. UCLA provides business services to the Merced campus and presidents office because the Westwood campus invested significantly in systems and technology.
Morabito said that UCLA is always on the lookout for more ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. A planned consolidation of IT services is expected to save $7 million to $10 million annually, he said. While consolidation of e-mail and calendaring has already occurred in central administrative units, it will take several years to accomplish campuswide.
Regents applauded UCLAs cost-saving initiatives, which are being used as a model for similar efforts throughout the UC system.
Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2006