NEWS

Iowa Regents could approve spending more on efficiency review

Contractor expected to present 'sourcing and procurement' strategies

Students listen to instruction from theatre professor Dennis Barnett in their freshman seminar Music, Theater and Film from the Harlem Renaissance at Coe College on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, in Cedar Rapids. This year's freshman class is the largest in the college's history, helping set a record enrollment of 1,338 full-time students. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)
Students listen to instruction from theatre professor Dennis Barnett in their freshman seminar Music, Theater and Film from the Harlem Renaissance at Coe College on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, in Cedar Rapids. This year's freshman class is the largest in the college's history, helping set a record enrollment of 1,338 full-time students. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

The Board of Regents at its meeting next week could be asked, again, to approve paying more money to a consulting firm it hired to help find efficiencies within Iowa’s three public universities.

Deloitte Consulting LLC was hired last year to head the board’s massive “transparent, inclusive, efficiency review” at an initial cost of about $2.4 million. The board at its last meeting in June agreed to pay Deloitte up to $1 million more for its work on the second of the study’s three phases.

The study aims to find ways the regent universities can become more efficient, generate revenue, and improve effectiveness. All the savings will be invested back into the universities where they were found.

After visiting with administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members on the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa campuses earlier this year, Deloitte identified 17 opportunities it recommends pursuing — 12 are administrative in nature and five are academic.

The consultant has spent the last several weeks developing “business cases” around those opportunities — including in-depth analyses of how much money could be saved and how implementation would work.

Deloitte is expected to present at the Board of Regents’ meeting next week details on one of the opportunities — how to improve sourcing and procurement strategies across the regent system “to negotiate more favorable contracts.”

Board of Regents spokeswoman Sheila Koppin said Deloitte representatives are expected to explain purchasing strategies and recommend — in some cases — prompt implementation for those techniques.

If the board decides to proceed with implementation and contract with Deloitte for assistance in the area of sourcing and procurement, Koppin said, “They could talk to Deloitte about a fee for implementation.”

Koppin said she doesn’t know how much the regents might be willing to pay for such assistance, but she said more information on that could become available later this week.

As students and faculty to return to campus this fall, Deloitte will continue investigating possible efficiencies — focusing more on the academic opportunities.

Deloitte officials have said they expect the study to produce savings in the $30 million to $80 million range annually — once efficiencies and improvements are implemented.