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Carolina Counts initiatives save money and improve efficiency

In the last month, the Employee Forum heard several presentations on Carolina Counts initiatives geared toward saving time, money and space.

At the July 13 forum meeting, Kevin Seitz, associate vice chancellor for finance, reviewed new eProcurement initiatives introduced through Carolina Counts, the University-wide initiative to improve the efficiency of campus operations based on key recommendations from the 2009 Bain & Company study.

The vendor catalog was implemented last November and the small order process, in January.

Changes implemented in procurement policies have resulted in shorter wait times and more freedom for people at the unit level to choose where to buy items if they can find a better deal, Seitz said.

For example, employees who are required to have mobile communicates devices in their jobs have choices that allow them to get the devices they want and save the University money in the process.

Under the old policy, these employees received devices and plans obtained by the University. Under the new policy, employees can receive a monthly stipend to apply toward the purchase of their own phones and service plans that they can use for both personal and professional use.

The estimated cost savings to the University is about $1 million a year, Seitz said.

Carolina Counts has a built-in incentive for units to find savings by allowing them to keep the money saved and apply it to other needs, he said.

Tools are in place to gather data on purchases as well, Seitz said. With this data, the University will be able to do an analysis that would result in consolidating suppliers, which would lead to additional cost savings.

At the Aug. 3 meeting, Bruce Runberg, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction; Carol Tresolini, associate provost for academic initiatives; Roberta Kelly, associate University registrar; and Abbas Piran, engineering director of the Engineering Information Services Department, reviewed initiatives under way that would use existing classroom space to help accommodate future enrollment growth.

Runberg said the University’s ability to fully maximize the use of classroom space is tied to an elaborate software system that Piran developed called Enhanced SPOTS, or eSPOTS. SPOTS stands for Space Planning and Occupancy Tracking System.

Kelly said the project calls for standardizing class meeting times as well as increasing peak and off-peak classroom use. Another idea is to use residence hall seminar rooms as classrooms, she said.

In another matter, Overton said the Employee Forum’s office budget will see a 20 percent cut for fiscal 2011–12, resulting in the office at 124 E. Franklin St. being closed on Fridays.

Even in this period of downsizing, Overton said she would like the forum to spruce up the office that over the years has accumulated its furniture from the campus surplus store.

“I am proud of what the forum does and people across campus are proud of it, too, and I want our office to reflect that pride,” she said.

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August 10, 2011

Aug. 10 Gazette as PDF
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* *With budget cuts, Carolina will feel ‘measurable damage’

* *Hargrove elected BOT chair, new members sworn in

* *Thorp makes a tough call with football coaching change

* *Honor system slated for review when academic year begins

* *University sees increases in research funding, fundraising in fiscal 2011

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NEXT ISSUE: Aug. 24, 2011

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