UCSF Launches Operational Excellence Website

December 16, 2010
By Juliana Bunim UCSF’s ongoing effort to achieve both administrative excellence and financing savings – better known as Operational Excellence – has launched a new website to keep the campus community informed about how new systems and service centers are being evaluated and implemented. The website URL is operationalexcellence.ucsf.edu. Chancellor Susan-Desmond Hellmann, MD, MPH, first announced Operational Excellence in February 2010 as a response to the University’s myriad challenges, including mounting health care costs for employees and retirees and significant state budget cuts estimated at $90 million during the course of the last 15 years. Part of this necessary cost cutting is being achieved by consolidating and centralizing essential functions campuswide, such as campus Human Resources, Information Technology Services, finance and research administration. In her year-end message to the campus community this week, Desmond-Hellmann says that Operational Excellence is making a huge difference. “Operational Excellence is something on our campus that is a vision and a concept that I think is going to add great value here at UCSF,” she said. “In 2011 alone, our target is $21 million in savings and we have already achieved over $15 million in savings to date. What’s more important is that by 2013, Operational Excellence will allow us to save about $50 million a year.” These savings will allow UCSF to make thoughtful, strategic investments in our future – like new programs, better support for our students, and improved facilities, Desmond-Hellmann said. John Plotts, senior vice chancellor for Finance and Administration, will update the campus community on the status of this work in January. Desmond-Hellmann said she appreciates the work of more than 150 people who are involved in making Operational Excellence a success. Showing examples how the initiative is changing the way people work and conduct business at UCSF is one of the goals of the new website. “Operational Excellence is this huge initiative in a great big institution and what we wanted the website to do is bring it back down to ground level,” said Beth Kane, director of organizational development for the UCSF School of Medicine and a member of the Operational Excellence (OE) Oversight Committee. “It’s the combination of a lofty goal for the institution driven by pragmatic implementation that all have to result in about $50 million worth of savings [by end of FY2013].” Obviously, changing the way UCSF does business and cutting costs that can lead to layoffs can be difficult, Kane acknowledges. “We wanted the site to recognize that OE is tough and not everything is an easy fix. But we also wanted to generate confidence with a site people can go to that is credible and, in order to do that, it has to have integrity, be comprehensive and not shy away from tough questions,” Kane said. One of the most candid sections on the new website is the Rumor Mill, where faculty and staff can submit questions and see the posted answers dispelling the half-truths that can often swirl when major changes come to campus. Posted rumors range from whether “UCSF is going to fire ALL staff and make them reapply for new jobs” to if “All administrators will be relocated into one big service center located in a huge room full of cubicles.” Neither rumor is true. The new website encourages feedback, with 42 different ways to click or send an email with inputs or questions. Kane says users are already taking advantage of the interactive functionality. “We’re getting some cool ideas and some interesting perspectives,” Kane said. As the Operational Excellence workgroups continue to individually focus on key administrative areas to help translate the Chancellor’s goals into reality, the website will post the work papers to keep the community informed. “We want the campus community to see the actual work coming out of the work groups,” Kane said The section OE “In the Works” helps translate the jargon into what it means to faculty and staff in their respective departments. “We don’t want it to be a profit of doom,” said Kane. “But it’s being clear, open and honest.”

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Operational Excellence Website Chancellor Shares Plans for Achieving “Operational Excellence”