A standardized process is a sequence of valued added steps or activities that are efficiently organized to consistently achieve a desired outcome, as defined by the client or beneficiary of the process. Processes are a part of everything we do. When a process is not standardized, or performed according to a routine set of agreed upon and universally understood procedures, the variation that exists in the process causes an increase the amount of errors, delays the flow of value or quality service to the client, and raises the administrative cost per transaction, which results from increased time and effort to correct mistakes.

There are thousands of administrative processes on our campus, which are governed by uniform UCR campus and/or UC system-wide policies. Some common examples include travel, onboarding new hires, payroll, and ePay reimbursements. As policies are updated, each campus organizational unit is responsible for translating these changes into administrative procedures that guide the transactional work performed by staff. This process occurs in the units without the benefit of standardized guidance on how to best interpret, apply, or communicate policy revisions. This yields twenty-six different campus procedures and internal practices, one per unit, for performing a single common administrative process.

Standardizing processes is critical to UCR becoming a 21st century model for academic excellence, student access, and best-in-class administration. It’s estimated that more than 50% of the cost to educate a student is from administrative operations (such as entering data, generating reports, querying databases, filling out forms, organizing emails, processing paperwork, etc.). By completing a comprehensive review of and standardizing those operations, waste is removed, fewer resources are consumed, and the released human and financial resources may be reinvested into key activities that support UCR’s research and teaching mission.

Here are seven best practices to design, develop, and implement a high quality and cost effective standardized business process: