Improving the Procurement Process at UTPA

The University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) encourages students to “Prepare, Discover, Transform.” As the University has become highly successful, it now struggled to support the demands of the increased volume of a growing regional University.

A 3-day Value Stream Mapping event was held to focus on the procurement process.  With this detailed view of the process, the team was able to identify the “friction points” in the process – the things that got in the way and slowed things down.

The team was then able to resolve that all their improvement ideas centered on five basic themes:

  1. Lack of Visibility for information
  2. Lack of Flow – process stops without warning and waits
  3. Choosing the Wrong Path / Routing Errors
  4. Training / Insufficient Knowledge – the people involved with the process just were not sure what to do.
  5. Infrastructure – The tools (hardware and software) were not adequate to support the procurement needs.

With each improvement idea, the team estimated the relative impact the “fix” would have on the overall procurement lead time, and a “future state” Monte Carlo simulation was used to model the overall expected impact on performance. 

Within a few months, the team had met the expectations of the modeled performance. Without increasing costs or headcount, they were able to bring the lead time for the procurement process down by almost 50%.

The UTPA staff became encouraged by the success they experienced in the procurement process, and started to map other elements of the administrative and transactional processes.   

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