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OHIO cost-saving initiatives update for fall quarter

Across all Ohio University campuses, efficiency is increasing and costs are going down thanks to a number of non-personnel cost-saving initiatives.

In early 2011, the Offices of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) launched several cost-savings initiatives designed to reduce Ohio University’s operating costs, increase program effectiveness and improve customer service. This update is one in a quarterly series.

"We have made great strides in our efforts to control costs and increase efficiency at the University, said Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding."Colleges and departments are making changes, and Ohio University is seeing incremental progress that over time can lead to significant savings for the colleges and operating units. We still have much to do, but I am confident we are on the right path."

Copier management/print and paper reduction

This initiative – part of the larger Bobcat Buy project – is designed to reduce the costs associated with departmental use of printers, copiers, faxes and scanners, as well as have a positive impact on the University’s environmental footprint. It is on schedule and the transition is underway with an ultimate goal of seeing a 15 percent reduction in paper use sustained over three years.

The Print Responsibly website has launched and is linked to the VPFA Website as a campus resource for extended information on the copier management program. Equipment installation is complete for the College of Business’ program pilot.

ComDoc, the vendor for this initiative, is progressing in its second and third project phases to address equipment needs through departmental discussion and installation of each new solution.

Other colleges and departments will transition to the ComDoc solution as priority and transition timelines are established. In addition, the University will continue to monitor the College of Business pilot program and report to the community on the results.

Control workplace injuries and cost

The Workers’ Compensation Manager Larry Wines took over the position on January 9th. He joined the Workers’ Compensation team, and they are meeting monthly to develop plans to close Workers Compensation claims and return injured employees to work.

A new draft policy, 40.032, on workers compensation and occupational health management has been created to set the foundation for the team's new core functions.

The unit is finalizing an injured employee packet to be given by supervisors to help employees better understand the Workers’ Compensation process. The unit's review process has been expanded and now includes all claims from all departments.

For 2011, Workers’ Compensation Claims decreased by 56 percent while Lost Time Claims dropped by 57 percent, since 2007 when the Workplace Safety Initiative (WSI) was launched.

Fleet reduction

The unit is continuing to move forward after seeing a savings of approximately $52,800 during the last reporting period from reducing the University's fleet of vehicles.

The Vehicle Usage Policy has been approved. This new policy will give Transportation Services additional authority in assisting and approving new vehicle purchases.

Another fleet reduction is planned for FY2013 in consultation with individual colleges and planning units and based on need and overall utilization. As analysis of a fleet reduction is best done in light of the next year's budget planning, data from the State of Ohio Department Of Administrative Services Report will aid in discussion with the various colleges and departments.

Holiday closure
The Holiday Closure Steering Committee has recommended that the initiative be implemented in December 2012.

A small work group headed by University Human Resources that includes representatives from the colleges and from the Classified and Administrative Senates, is currently looking into how to account for time off. They will then make recommendations to the Holiday Closure Steering Committee and ultimately to the President for his consideration.

Funds and Foundation deployment review
The Division of Finance has received all planning reports and are reviewing them with planning units.

Based on these reports, the unit will develop a budget template for FY2013 that includes Ohio University Foundation funds.

Space management

Strides continue to be made in cutting OHIO's second-largest expense category.

Pilcher House has been taken offline; it is now being temporarily used as a construction office for the contractor responsible for the renovation of the Old Baker University Center into the future home of Scripps school. Several long-term solutions for Pilcher House are being explored.

With the University's upcoming adoption of Responsibility Centered Management (RCM), it is anticipated that colleges and departments will become more aware of the cost of space. This, in turn, will encourage more efficient use of space. A consultant has been hired to analyze data on space use. They will make recommendations for space management in an RCM model.

Reduction of discretionary travel expenses

The updated draft of the travel program policy developed with input from colleges and departments across the University is still undergoing review.

Implementing centralized procurement – Bobcat Buy

Implementation continues to thrive, as more than $9 million has been purchased through Bobcat BUY, the University's portal for centralized procurement.

Training is scheduled for other colleges and departments across the University.