Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.85
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan State University
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Adam Lawver
Director of Campus Services
Infrastructure and Planning Facilities
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Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Mobile Action Plan

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

A key sustainability challenge of the 5200 acre Michigan State University campus, is the operation and maintenance of its total environment including both the built environment and the legacy parklike environment ( including the diverse variety of trees, over 35,000 plants, many which are a part of research and education, and protected spaces.) Proper management and protection of the green aspects contributes directly to its biodiversity and helps to manage the impacts on water usage and water quality. The Landscape Department of the Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities division is responsible for managing the environment for the health of the environment; impact on education and research; and overall sustainable development of the university experience. Their responsibilities also include managing the infrastructure that supports the university including the roads, sidewalks, and means of transportation throughout the university.
The overall mission of this innovation, the mobile action plan (MAP), was to provide: a sustainable university campus environment in financially responsible ways while empowering and engaging staff in a culture of sustainability and innovation. The MAP combines key strategies that directly relate to the four pillars of MSU’s Sustainability Moving Forward Strategy – Campus, Community, Curriculum, and Culture. More specifically, the MAP utilizes technology, training, and innovation to optimize the maintenance and operations in socially, environmentally, and economically efficient means to achieve the mission on the university – advancing knowledge and transforming lives (curriculum). To do so in a financially responsible way involves empowering the people that perform the work and creating a culture that is open to innovations to capture new technologies and measures to expand the management and preservation of our natural resources and environment. (culture and community).
To accomplish these goals, the Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities (IPF) Landscape Team at MSU is approaching a fundamental shift in its approach to building, grounds, and infrastructure maintenance of the physical environment to sustainably meet the mission of education, research, and outreach. IPF’s experienced team of 1,500+ professionals keep MSU running 24/7/365, delivering an immense menu of services to build and maintain the University assets for long term sustainability. As higher education continues to face financial turbulence, IPF’s competitive advantage is to operate with evidence-based decisions, a culture of high performance built upon the collective talent, experience and intuition of our workforce through leveraging accessible data for informed decision making. In 2016, IPF’s annual strategic planning identified three opportunities to leverage strategy with technology, to drive sustainable disruption in operations through digital transformation:
1. Provide employees with unprecedented access to information integral to daily decision-making.
2. Deploy mobile platforms, applications, and an interconnected environment to advance service excellence.
3. Create a more robust knowledge management system to modernize business processes.

Subsequently, IPF has been recognized for this transformation of operations as a leader in higher education facilities organizations; it has deployed over 1,200 mobile devices, empowering the front-line workforce with access to information. The six-part action plan has spanned and the results to date are transforming how the facilities organization manages work resulting in cost and labor savings while enhancing communications and engagement with the customers as well as empowering the employees. Over (80) business process changes have occurred to date and an initial $1.2 million investment is forecasting a $763,000 cost avoidance within the first year of implementation.
MSU has identified pitfalls that reduce the ability to optimally maintain and enhance the campus environment: lack of planning, absence of the correct tools, materials, and knowledge to perform the tasks, and lack of communication. The MAP has reduced these pitfalls, eliminated waste-in-process and improved the value IPF provides to campus partners through timely responsiveness and enhanced environmental protection. With the university being designated by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus U.S.A, the MAP has contributed directly to maintaining this designation by reducing the cost of maintaining the tree inventory by $100,000 annually in trimming and care and increasing the number of trees attended to as a part of its campus tree-care plan. See video https://youtu.be/I0qHD4daTuM


The MAP has also enhanced coordination between the various units [Landscape Services; Custodial Services; Surplus Store & Recycling; and Residential Education and Housing Services] involved with waste and recycling material collection. This improved coordination resulted in a reduction of collection expenses by $150,000 in two years while increasing collection by 35% during the same time period, thereby increasing the amount of materials that could be processed through the MSU Materials Recovery Facility. The cost savings in waste and recycling material recovery are based upon leveraging technology to provide a field solution at the point of decision making so the workforce could access the information critical to optimizing their daily routine.
Using GIS, 450, waste and recycling material recovery receptacles were mapped on campus to enable the change of frequency of service on those containers tracked on the mobile devices. The default frequency was weekly, but if receptacles weren’t full, employees could change the frequency. Then, using a dashboard, the receptables showed up on a campus map when their frequency interval came up. Over 150 receptacles had frequencies of every two months, so those were removed from the inventory, eliminating the labor, equipment, drive time, to service those receptacles.
The next phase of the MAP Transformation and one of its most impressive aspects has been the incorporation of the campus as a living laboratory with academic experiential learning. The initial student capstone engineering teams have engaged to develop new ways to manage wastes and communicate with the MAP. One designed a trash can capacity sensor which measures the amount of materials in a receptacle and triggers an alert through the GIS system when it reaches 75 % full. The second engineering group will be manufacturing and installing sensors and metrics of impact will be measured as they are deployed.
Fiscally, MAP has incorporated cost efficiencies through increasing workforce communication through voice, text and data usage by 300% Although the metrics have not yet been calculated, a compelling aspect of this savings is the reduction in time spent running back and forth to warehouses and buildings, thereby saving vehicle miles traveled, fuel, and reducing the congestion of traffic on campus during the busiest times of the day.
Additionally, the MAP was used in conjunction with the GIS and the Landscape Management Plan in estimating the new capital projects, including sustainability features, in design. This combination of technology paired with a systematic approach to landscape maintenance and improvement has resulted in improved coordination and collaboration with the Residential Education and Housing Services. See video: https:///youtu.be/bPCOBZRstLU.
Overall the MAP has spurred over 80 business process changes and has resulted in a $763,000 cost avoidance within the first year of implementation. The plan is transforming how IPF manages work, communicates with the customer and engages its employees. Other institutions have taken note of IPF’s winning formula. IPF staff have presented to over 20 universities since 2016, when the mobile device pilot was launched in Landscape Services. IPF is also scheduled to present at the International Society of College and University Planning Conference in the summer of 2019.
Dan Bollman, Senior Vice President of IPF describes the cultural significance of the MAP program to the organizational operations: “Implementation of our mobile strategy across IPF has been truly transformation in how our employees pursue their work. Communications have increased, our responsiveness to issues is faster, and most importantly I’ve noticed a great deal of satisfaction among employees who have gained greater control over their daily work activities. I believe MAP is leading the way for the entire university in being able to identify, deploy, and realize benefits in both productivity and employee engagement using these technology tools. In addition, they have had the opportunity to interface directly with our students in helping to design further innovations and solutions.” See video: https://youtu.be/j8nu8fEetDw


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Grounds
Waste
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

The MAP launched in 2016. With its modular framework, enhancements can continue to be developed and added into the program. The program itself embraces technology with employee innovation and culture to embrace a more sustainable means of preserving and maintaining the campus environment while contributing to the mission of the university.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.