How One College Campus Saved Millions by Automating Workflows
By their very nature, schools require processes to run efficiently. Larger schools tend to adopt more workflow processes in order to be able to accomplish the innumerable tasks that are required to deliver education to students. While processes are necessary, they can be clumsy and time-consuming. Yet schools stick with processes, however clunky or cumbersome, because they do accomplish things and help prevent necessary tasks from slipping through the cracks.
The University of Tennessee at Martin is part of the large University of Tennessee system, which spans the state with three primary campuses, of which UT Martin is one. The system also includes several other satellite campuses and has a combined enrollment of around 49,000 students. Mike Abney, Effectiveness and Efficiency Facilitator at the UT Martin, recognized a few years ago that the campus’s dual enrollment process (where local high school students also enroll in college classes) was slow and caused expensive problems.
Solving Two Problems at Once
The dual enrollment process was sometimes not completed until after a critical deadline determining how much funding the school would receive from the state. This led to reported enrollments lower than actual enrollments, and consequently less state funding than the school was eligible for. Abney discovered PerfectForms online and was skeptical at first, but quickly discovered that it could be an outstanding solution to the dual enrollment process problems.
Not only could the dual enrollment process be automated and streamlined with PerfectForms, saving students and staff time, it resulted in the dual enrollment process being completed before the critical funding determination deadline. Not only was money saved due to a quicker workflow, the school was able to qualify for more state funding due to more accurate enrollment figures.
“Grass Roots” Popularity Spreads to Other Campuses
Ultimately, the dual enrollment process went from a manual, paper-based process with 41 steps to an automated, electronic process with fewer than 10 steps and the total elimination of the need for couriers to deliver paper forms to their proper recipients. People noticed how well PerfectForms coped with automating the dual enrollment process, and it wasn’t long until other departments were identifying workflows that could be accelerated and automated with the software too. Not only did workflow automation take root at UT Martin, other campuses in the UT system took notice and they too decided to automate cumbersome workflows using PerfectForms. Today, UT Martin alone has 48 on-demand licenses for PerfectForms, and has automated 1,200 forms for their 7,000 student campus.
How Much UT Martin Saves Through Workflow Automation
Saving time saves money, as does preventing mistakes that would otherwise have to be identified, tracked down, and corrected manually. The UT Martin campus now saves around $1.1 million per year through workflow automation with PerfectForms. This figure includes over $3,000 in floor space savings (due to drastically decreased paper usage), and over $6,000 in savings on filing cabinets. The shift from paper to electronic workflows saves around $1,100 per year in printing costs alone.
The time saved is valuable too, and is estimated at over $50,000 in time saved on the part of department chairs, administrative workers, and department specialists. Because UT Martin is a public university, part of their evaluation hinges on how personnel time is spent. Automating workflows with PerfectForms has meant far less time spent on outdated, overly-complicated business processes.
Other Ways the School Has Used PerfectForms to Automate Workflows
Here are just a few examples of workflows UT Martin has automated using PerfectForms, generating significant savings of time and money:
• The contract review and approval process
• The purchase and bidding process
• Reservations for vehicles in motor pool (which is now done by a mounted iPad in a kiosk)
• The parent portal for monitoring student grades (which has resulted in a measurably higher student retention rate)
• Campus recreation administration (such as checking out of sports equipment to students)
Best Practices Take Hold and Propagate
One of the best features of PerfectForms is its flexibility, allowing schools and businesses of all sizes and types to discover new ways to improve workflows, save time, save money, and prevent errors. Take a look at some of our many case studies and see for yourself how businesses in every industry have transformed clunky workflows into more accurate and efficient workflows using PerfectForms.