Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Resource Optimization and Service Enhancement (ROSE) program at the University of Manitoba
Year Submitted 2011
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name Title
Deborah J. McCallum Vice President Administration
Joanne Keselman Vice President (Academic) and Provost
Tom Hay Comptroller
Joanne Dyer University Budget Officer and E.A. to the V.P. (Administration)
Name of Institution University of Manitoba
Office Address Room 202 Administration Building Fort Garry Campus
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T2N2
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Telephone: 204-474-9777
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Deborah J. McCallum
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Vice President (Administration)
Office Address Room 202 Administration Building Fort Garry Campus
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T2N2
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Telephone: 204-474-9777
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

To improve service delivery to students, staff and faculty and to reduce administrative costs through the application of industry best practices, the ROSE project was implemented at the University of Manitoba (UM) in the fall, 2009.

Following an RFP process, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was engaged to assist the UM with a review of all administrative processes, to look at ways to improve service delivery and reduce the costs of these functions by eliminating duplication, sharing resources, assessing appropriateness of controls, leveraging technology and applying industry best practices.

Phase 1, Assessment, which took place over a six-week period, involved the assessment and identification of opportunities for potential savings and service enhancement, based on information received through over 150 interviews, town hall meetings and suggestions posted on the web-site “suggestion box”

After extensive review, a number of these opportunities were selected for inclusion in Phase 2, Design, which took place over a five-month period. During Phase 2, over 400 UM staff participated in collaborative workshops led by PWC at which specific administrative “as is” processes were reviewed and “future state” designs were developed.  The activities and detailed analysis completed during Phase 2 further highlighted and identified significant opportunity for the University to both enhance service and reduce costs.  PWCwas instrumental with assisting the various functional areas to assess opportunities and identify a vision for the future state in each area.

Upon completion of the Design Phase, the detailed design document including recommendations for implementation was reviewed.  A series of discussions were held to review the final scope, timing and prioritization for all streams leading to the development of an implementation plan.

The ROSE project is now in Phase 3, Implementation.  Twenty initiatives are underway within IT, Human Resources, Finance, Research Services, Student Services, Physical Plant and Communications and Marketing.  Some of these initiatives will be completed in the short term while others will take three to five years.  PWC is providing project and change management support for a six-month period.  An Office of Continuous Improvement is being established to guide us through the rest of our journey.  With the continued engagement of our dedicated staff, the Project will not only result in enhanced service, but our financial challenges will be significantly reduced.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

Absolutely! Every aspect of this project is fully transferable. Subsequent to the June 15, 2010 CAUBO joint University of Manitoba/University of Calgary Resource Optimization presentation, Deborah McCallum was approached by senior administrators from several other Canadian Universities who were highly interested in learning more about the ROSE project. Since that time, at least two other Canadian institutions (York) and (Saskatchewan) have commenced similar projects. The University of Calgary initially undertook a similar project but with a smaller scope. The University of Manitoba will share project documents such as the original RFP, Phase 1 Assessment Report, Project Governance Structure, Project Charters etc.

Quality Impact

Although achieving cost savings was the initial driver, perhaps more important are the significant service enhancements associated with the ROSE initiatives. New service delivery models in IT and Human Resources, for example, will clarify staff roles and responsibilities resulting in more satisfied employees. Enhancements to our student services will translate into more satisfied students and increased enrolment. Simplifying processes will reduce duplication of effort, rework related to error correction and will improve service resulting in more satisfied employees and clients. Establishment of performance measures and service level agreements will enhance accountability to deliver outcomes.

Productivity Impact

To date the project has realized annual savings of $2 million. On the revenue generation side, funding has been set aside to seed initiatives that will enhance recruitment of international students and funding has also been made available from the University Investment Trust (UIT) to support the hiring of additional fundraising staff. Once implementation of the current initiatives is complete, ROSE is expected to garner between $8 to $15 million in annual savings and $10 to $12 million in increased revenue. The savings realized to date have been achieved through implementation of alternative staffing models, elimination of duplication of services, supply chain savings, reduction in overtime costs and increased use of technology, to cite some examples.


What makes this project innovative in the context of higher education is not only the breadth, depth and magnitude of the ROSE project but the level of involvement and engagement both across the institution and at the grass roots level. Solutions to problems and major process redevelopment typically emanate from a much higher level and are then presented as a done deal to the staff charged with administering the process. The initiatives currently being implemented or which are now in place were identified during the Assessment Phase by university staff and were developed during the Design Phase by staff and customers directly involved in the process. The Phase 3 Implementation teams are comprised of staff from all levels including support staff, faculty and deans and directors. Customer advisory groups have also been set up for each stream. The commitment of senior academic leaders to this project is also unique. As a result of the economic downturn, most Canadian Universities are now faced with unprecedented financial challenges. The University of Manitoba, however, has faced significant financial challenges for the past eleven years as a result of a Provincially imposed tuition freeze in effect from 2000/01 through 2008/09. While the tuition freeze was lifted in 2009/10, strict tuition controls remain in place. Base operating grant increases have not been sufficiently large to compensate for the loss in tuition revenues and a large going concern pension deficit contributed to the financial challenges. As a result, the University of Manitoba required a creative solution not only to ensure a balanced budget but also to allocate limited funds in support of institutional strategic priorities. In June, 2009 a facilitated retreat was held with Deans and Directors of academic units, senior heads of Administrative Units and members of the Executive Team. The objectives of the retreat were to: - foster a common understanding of the main objectives and priorities of the University, including the need to address serious budget constraints in 2010-11 and beyond; - agree on options to pursue in adjusting how the University needs to operate and/or organize itself in order to achieve its objectives. The retreat commenced with a review of the University's financial situation. Several possible financial models were presented with varying assumptions on the level of grant increases, tuition increases, salary increases, enrolment and pension obligations anticipated for 2010 through 2014. Even under the most optimistic model, the University would face a significant budget challenge. Faced with this information and the desire to avoid across the board budget cuts, the group then explored and agreed upon a number of both short term and longer term options that could help to address this budget challenge and at the same time enhance service. One of the shorter term solutions was to engage a consultant to lead us through a project to look at ways to improve service delivery and reduce the costs of these functions by eliminating duplication, sharing resources, assessing appropriateness of controls, leveraging technology and application of industry best practices. The retreat was the springboard for launching the Resource Optimization and Service Enhancement (ROSE) project designed to consider means to enhance service while optimizing the use of resources rather than relying on significant budget reductions as the sole means of meeting budget challenges. The following core principles guiding this project were developed at a Deans and Executive Retreat in 2009: - Realize cost savings and efficiencies - Enhanced quality of service - Be premised on fairness and equity - Advance shared responsibility - Promote accountability and transparency The involvement of the executive level, deans and directors and senior administrative leaders has resulted in a project that is not only championed at the top but has also engaged staff, students and the Board of Governors. We are all truly excited about what these changes will mean to the University of Manitoba.