The University of Michigan is trying to find ways to save resources as the institution grows.
Though many colleges are considered nonprofit research institutions, these secondary schools collect millions of dollars per year. Whether funds come in from the state, alumni or tuition, universities have to allocate funds to keep operations running as smooth as possible. The size of institutions run as small as a few thousand students and faculty or as large as Ohio State, which has 60,000 people on campus during the school year.
At the University of Michigan, there are about 28,000 students attending the school per year with a 16:1 student to faculty ratio, according to U.S. News and World Report. That means every year that the institution has to register students for work-study programs and update the faculty database, human resources are going through a large amount of paperwork.
As a way to reduce overall waste, the human resources and finance department are consolidating to use a comprehensive HR software solution that can complete more tasks, despite using less staffers, the Ann Arbor News reported.
The first phase of using the system occurred in the university's administration building. Based on the success of the pilot program, the institution decided it was time to use it to mitigate the 4 million processes that occur at the school each year. Technology like HR software solutions can help streamline the hiring process, as well as find more qualified applicants with specific filters.
"Long-term savings will come through a reduction over time in the total number of people necessary to conduct the work, in gains from technology and standardized processes at the Shared Services Center, and in re-engineered work processes in the units," an email from the University of Michigan stated.
The Shared Services Center is a building that is under construction that will house the combined human resources and finance departments, the source explains. Slated to open in April 2014, it will be the home of 275 employees. Based on three years worth of research, switching toward this solution is expected to save the university $5 to $6 million within the first few years.
"In our collective experience with other large process changes on campus, there will be benefits we will all share, but also some challenges we will face," University of Michigan officials mentioned in the email.