Success: California State University – San Diego

By Andrea Peters

Objective:Improve the Work Order Process!

That ‘s a pretty tall order – as we learned in November 1999 at our first Process Mapping Workshop. Armed with enthusiasm and first-hand knowledge that SDSU ‘s work order process needed improvement,ten staff members from the Business and Financial Affairs Division formed a team with the goal to somehow improve the current system.

Facilitator Susan Williams of Orion Development Group introduced objectives and products we would consider and use. Then we established team”ground rules” and we were off and running – until we realized we really didn’t know exactly WHAT we would be trying to improve – only that (every two weeks) with the goal of having an”as is” map ready for Part 2 of our training in March 2000. We proceeded to map the”as is” process within each of the departments represented on the team.

To our amazement,one customer on the team had 28 steps in their work order process before it was even submitted to Facilities. What an eye opener! Another eye opener: We discovered that one department that should be part of the work order review process was routinely being left out of the loop.Formal work requests simply were not being routed to this department.So how did they find out when they have a job to do?

Through informal means – someone called or perhaps mentioned it in a hallway conversation.Even though they had a formal process in place for tracking work orders,they didn’t often get the chance to use it. the project and how it was selected,we discussed why this effort is important, and the current problems within the process,and outlined team expectations.

Finally,we reviewed with Vice President Sally Roush our goals and available resources,and the viability of having one work order system for various functions within the division. During our systems analysis,it became very clear that the work order process is cross-functional by nature and cross-divisional by necessity,spanning the entire campus community.Our process maps identified at least eight functions within the work order process and at least ten processes within the main process! Realizing that we,our team members, were confused about initiating requests for a variety of services,we could only imagine how the”customer” must feel..Therefore, we asked a member of the campus library staff to join our team in order to have input from a “customer’s” standpoint..
Something needed improvement!

The SDSU Work Order Process Team

Participation and enthusiasm within the team grew as we proceeded with this process mapping project and it became evident that everyone was fully focused on a successful outcome.With some very good participation from most team members,we made it to March ‘s follow- up process mapping workshop (our due date)with an”as is” map of the current work order process.We are now looking forward to learning more about how we can reduce gaps and confusion, enhance effectiveness,and increase customer and supplier satisfaction.