I mentioned last year that we were planning to look at the University’s business travel processes and how these could be “e-enabled”. The Lean Kaizen event took place in December, and my thanks to the team for a great job. Here are some of their key findings and suggestions:
We currently process about 3,000 forms every year through the paper process. Some get lost, many are not correctly filled in or are incomplete. Visit reports are prepared but are often filed and never used to help future travellers. It can take up to 3 weeks to authorise travel in some instances. The team looked at flight bookings in particular and found that many of these were booked very close to the time of travel – 20% less than two weeks before travel. The team reckons that if a more efficient booking process allowed flights to be booked at least 4 weeks in advance we could save up to £30k per annum.
The team looked in depth at how a new electronic process might work and came up with 4 key objectives.
1) It will be simple, paperless, and completed within 1 week. The electronic process will be smart enough to know where you are travelling, and particularly for local travel will present a much simpler form.
2) It will provide useful information to management and travellers. For management, the system will provide information on current and future travellers by destination and analyse travel patterns. For travellers, the team have suggested some kind of internal “Trip Advisor” capability so that travellers can share information on different destinations.
3) It will allow the University to keep in contact with travellers where required. We do have many staff travelling to a whole range of international destinations. Situations can change quickly and for some destinations we will want regular contact to ensure that staff are safe and well.
4) It will assist the University to meet its strategic objectives. We want to make sure that the system helps to encourage staff to avoid travel where possible, and to use more sustainable travel in preference to high carbon modes of travel.
Next stage is to start the detailed work of putting together the electronic system. We would hope to have something up and running by the Summer and will keep you posted as this develops.
Members of the Lean Kaizen team were:
Professor David Gray (Images Research Institute), Amy Jones (Aberdeen Business School), Ally Flett & Claire Murray (Research and Enterprise Services), Debbie Teperek (Exec Support), Julie Deighton (International Office), Karen Henderson (Pharmacy and Life Sciences), Laurie Power, Petrena Morrison & Ros Shanks (School of Engineering). Renee Raper from HR facilitated the week.