Leaning in to streamline our processes

The implementation phase of Our University: A Framing of Futures continues apace, with innovative methodology and expertise being applied to strategic priority 7: Improving those aspects of our support services to realise this aspiration and vision.

In February we reported on some of the early work already underway in support service improvements, including changes to the delegations of authority, simplifying PDR, procurement and the budget template. To help the University develop a consistent way of thinking about support services improvement, we have explored the work of a number of leading universities around the world which have adopted the ‘Lean’ methodology to bring about change to their business processes, with that change driven by the local subject matter experts in each support area. The University is in the process of recruiting an expert in the Lean techniques to assist our Business Process Improvement Initiative (BPII) team to implement this methodology and train staff to review and refine their processes.

“From the beginning, we have thought it important that the implementation of strategic initiatives should be guided by the philosophy of ‘learning while doing’. Lean has at its centre the empowerment of the people who are experts in their own business processes, who know what works well, what needs to be improved and who have the knowledge and drive to make improvements. It has been widely used in higher education support services’ improvement and we want to draw on that international expertise for Macquarie University”, said Chief Operating Officer Dr Paul Schreier, who co-sponsors this Framing of Futures initiative with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students & Registrar) Deidre Anderson.

The first project will be a pilot, the scope of which will be reviewing the process from the receipt of a postgraduate domestic application through to the point of offer. The deliverable is improving the quality of the application and the speed of response.

We have secured an expert in the use of Lean methodology in Higher Education – Head of Lean at St Andrews, Mr Mark Robinson– to assist with the training and leading our first pilot program, running from 16 to 20 June, 2014.

Mr Robinson will also provide an information session for interested staff, opened by the Vice-Chancellor:

What: Lean methodology and the St Andrews experience
When:  Thursday 12 June
Where: Level 3, Campus Hub
Time: 12.30pm to 2.30pm
RSVP: online by Wednesday 11 June

Find out more about the Business Process Improvement Initiative and the Lean methodology.