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February 14, 2005

BEST Program Seeks
To Improve Services

Are you having problems with some administrative or operational processes? Are your customers, patients, students, faculty, or staff getting caught up in process inefficiencies? If your answer is yes, the Office of the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer wants to know which ones.

UConn BEST (Breakthroughs, Excellence, and Success through Teamwork) is a joint initiative between the Health Center and the Storrs campus that seeks to improve services provided to students, patients, faculty, and staff, primarily within the departments that report to Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, by working with employees from the academic, research, and health care units.

This goal is accomplished through process improvement teams charged with tackling specific problems that can be analyzed in ways that allow the team to identify solutions and put an end to the inefficiencies.

Steering committees, made up of leaders from the two campuses, meet with the teams at defined intervals to provide leadership, guidance, and support and to ensure that the teams’ solutions are implemented.

The first six teams are concluding their work and will make presentations to the steering committees this month.

The first teams have tackled processes related to:

  • Recruiting and purchasing at both campuses;
  • Post grants management closures;
  • Dropped patient calls and late charges;
  • Reducing the time to respond to minor maintenance work orders;
  • Improving the accuracy and speed of special payroll.

The initiative needs the community’s input as it begins the next round of projects. Members of the teams will be trained in March and April. Flaherty-Goldsmith wants to address the processes that cause problems or delays. However, not every problem is appropriately addressed by BEST teams, so the steering committees have established parameters for nomination and selection.

To qualify to be tackled by a BEST team, the problem or process must meet the following requirements:

  • The problem must be chronic in nature;
  • Improvements would save time and money and increase customer satisfaction;
  • It is manageable in size and can be analyzed and improved within six months;
  • There is a key problem that is measurable in dollars and failures.

All processes and problems must fall under one of the following functions or departments:

At the Health Center, Human Resources (and Payroll); Public Safety; Information Technology; Purchasing; Facilities Management; and Campus Planning, Design, and Construction.

At Storrs, Human Resources and Payroll; Facilities; Architectural and Engineering Services; Capital Projects and Contract Administration; University Information and Technology Services; Purchasing; Accounts Payable; Travel; Motor Pool; Mail Services; Document Production Center; Parking and Transportation; Police; Fire, Fire Marshal, and Building Inspector; Environmental Policy; and Environmental Health and Safety.

Please send your recommendations to Pam Heath-Johnston at by Feb. 25. Staff will then work with those involved to create a problem statement and mission that can be used by the steering committee for evaluation.