Suggestions & Responses

At the end of May, more than 175 suggestions had been submitted.  The Duke Administrative Reform Team (DART) and the DART analysis team are reviewing suggestions for potential savings and enhanced efficiencies. Several recommended changes have already been implemented, including:

  • moving to paperless pay statements,
  • curtailing external hiring through the vacancy management initiative,
  • offering a staff retirement incentive plan,
  • limiting use of consultants and contract services, and
  • extending the cycle for computer replacement.

Below are other frequent suggestions with responses from administrators.

Idea:  Reduce energy consumption

“I think Duke should adopt an air conditioning policy. We waste so much energy by over air-conditioning, and it’s freezing everywhere.”
-Nancy Kimberly, Continuing Studies

“We should power down all offices by 6 or 7 p.m.”
-Deirde Wilson, Perkins Library

Response:

“Facilities Management is exploring new energy conservation measures, such as the possibility of establishing policies for temperature standards and hours of operation in University buildings. We are making progress on energy conservation and implementing more efficient building systems as part of our overall sustainability efforts. Temperature control is difficult in older buildings, particularly with the heat gain associated with the sunny side of buildings. Therefore it is difficult to maintain a set point in any particular office.”
-Anne Light, DART Analysis Team

Idea: Renegotiate contracts for services and leased office space

“Re-open contracts with all suppliers/vendors with the aim of re-negotiating rates and achieving a savings of 5 to 10 percent.”
-Elaine Madison, Duke Engage

Response:

“The University began deliberately renegotiating lease space nearly three years ago, even before the market tightened. Between the Health System and the University, Duke has approximately 2.2 million square feet in leases, mostly in Durham. The nature of the leases is that they are long term, but as they rotate over, we have generally been able to lower the rental rates.”
-Scott Selig, associate vice president of real estate

“Vendors can be a good resource for assisting in lowering cost. We have asked all major suppliers to step up and support our serious need to reduce cost.”
-Jane Pleasants, assistant vice president for procurement

Idea: Telecommuting, compressed work week, and other flexible work options

“I think we should encourage 4, 10-hour days and/or work from home. This greatly reduces facilities costs – computers, lights, elevators, etc.”
-Angela Rice-Warren, Research Cost Compliance

Response:

“Duke encourages the options you mention as a way to help employees balance the demands of work and home. However, each department has to consider these options in light of its ability to maintain efficiency and service to its customer base. Telecommuting and other flexible work options offer creative ways of meeting business needs while providing greater flexibility than traditional work arrangements. The potential cost savings would vary depending on many factors. For example, to support a telecommuting arrangement, a department might have to purchase additional equipment or services. In most cases, Duke would still need to maintain existing facilities for others working on site, so the cost savings are not guaranteed.”  
-Dexter Nolley, Staff & Labor Relations