As we move into our final phases of the Marshall 20/20 implementation project, I want to provide a quick update of the process and some of the early findings and recommendations emerging from the implementation teams.
The seven teams have been working hard since January and have already produced some “early wins.” You will see more results this summer as the university begins to execute on all the 20/20 initiatives.
Several projects have already been completed or are close to being launched. These include the following:
- Rebid of Cable Service – The university’s contract for cable services was reviewed and rebid, leading to a projected savings of more than $60,000 annually.
- Efficiencies in Library Services – The library has launched efficiency initiatives that are projected to ultimately yield cost savings of more than $300,000 annually. These savings will be realized through cross-training of personnel and reductions in the cost of library materials.
- Trademark Licensing – The Office of University Communications has launched a plan to help spread the Marshall brand across the state and country, maximize profits from sales of licensed items and ensure university trademarks are appropriately protected, promoted and developed. It is anticipated that these measures will increase revenue from the sale of licensed items by more than $40,000 each year for the next five years.
- Consolidated Leases – The university currently leases space for several departments. Two of those departments, the Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC) and the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) will be terminating their leases and moving to university-owned space this summer. At least one more department may be a candidate for relocation to university space. Total projected savings is approximately $130,000 annually.
- Parking Garages – The implementation team has recommended closing down underutilized floors in the 3rd Avenue and 6th Avenue parking garages during the summer months. Parking garages are typically at 25% capacity during the summer. Savings from reduced utility consumption are projected at $15,000 annually.
These initiatives represent the leading edge of a much larger group of ideas emerging from the implementation team work. I am excited to see how quickly the university is moving to begin implementing these identified opportunities, creating momentum for the wave of initiatives to come this summer.
New Approaches to Service Delivery
As you know, the focus of the Marshall 20/20 project was not simply to reduce cost, but also to eliminate pain points and reimagine service delivery. The following two areas in particular should address these goals:
- Shared Services – A number of universities have moved to new shared service models on their campuses to enhance service delivery and reduce cost. Shared service models consolidate multiple service delivery areas to create economies of scale and ensure consistent quality. Areas that may be considered for this model at Marshall include travel administration and grants management.
- Strategic Sourcing – Another shift in the higher education industry has been a move from procurement to strategic sourcing. This shift represents an important change from a mandate to “buy things” to the development of key partnerships that focus the university’s purchasing power. Strategic sourcing has proven to be an effective change at other institutions, leading to lower overall costs and enhanced service.
The implementation teams will complete their work this spring, leading to a final wrap-up meeting in mid-June. Implementation of most of the initiatives will begin immediately to allow us to maximize savings for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2015.
As we move toward that June wrap-up meeting, I look forward to sharing with you the total recommendations from this process, and to working with you over the coming months to begin to implement the initiatives. I am confident the resulting changes will allow us to reinvest in Marshall University’s strategic priorities and, most importantly, its mission to serve its students.
As always, you can visit the Marshall 20/20 website for more information and updates.
Gary G. White