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Reengineering success stories

The following, gathered from several teams, highlights some of the improvements in administrative services which are the result of reengineering projects. Results are just beginning to emerge, since some teams are still in the design stage and others are in the early phases of implementation.

Student Services Center

The pilot center, which opened for business December 2, provides one-stop shopping (in a central location on the Infinite Corridor) for most registrar, bursar and financial aid transactions. During the first week of operation, 895 students visited the Center.

Electronic Pre-Registration

Last week, a program allowing students to pre-register for subjects electronically was successfully piloted with a group of 700 students from three departments. Using this system, students review the schedule on the Web, find the classes they want and click on them to pre-register. The system includes a daily schedule to show what time slots will be filled each week, in order to help avoid conflicts.

On-Line Graduate Awards and Appointments

Implemented in August, departments now enter their graduate awards and appointments directly into the student system. As a result, staff time to process an award has been reduced from 15 to three minutes per award, and errors were reduced from 15 percent to zero. It used to take one to three weeks to notify a student of his or her award; now students are notified within minutes, via e-mail. The Graduate Education Office used to handle 30,000 pieces of paper a year. Now 98 percent of these appointments are handled electronically.

Loan Processing

Students received their funds five to 10 days earlier this year (30 percent sooner), affecting 3,000 loans. For the first time, the loan notes were batch-printed instead of hand-typed individually on a typewriter.

Financial Aid Processing

Upperclass renewal applications were separated into groups. Simple cases were processed automatically without any apparent loss of system integrity. This represented a savings of 60 hours of staff time.

Repair and Maintenance

Repair and Maintenance has moved from a centralized to a zone-based system with teams of workers stationed in each of five zones. Results so far indicate better, more proactive response to both emergency and ongoing repair needs.

Several building system crises have been averted because an alert and knowledgeable person was nearby, noticed symptoms of a problem, and mustered forces to correct it. In addition, teams have identified and fixed problems that had either been ignored in the past or were thought to be insolvable. This has occurred because the teams are closer to the problem and can put in the time required to figure it out. Some examples are a roof drain leak in Building E53, ventilation in Building E17 animal quarters, and resolution of construction/design/product deficiencies that hindered research in Building 68.

Custodial Services

An additional 300,000 square feet in the biology building and the Tang Center are being cleaned with no additional staff; weekend service and enhanced weekday custodial service also have been provided with no additional staff.

Supplier Consolidation

We have saved $1 million in office and lab supplies, furnishings, and temporary help-as a result of negotiating better prices with a selected number of vendors. Office Depot has reached a service level of 98 percent on next-day delivery of supplies.

Contract Negotiations

We also saved approximately $500,000 in long distance telephone charges and $500,000 in the cost of hospitalization for our health plan members. These savings are the result of contract negotiations with our vendors.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 11, 1996.

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