"Paper-sparse" Plan


The "Paper-Sparse" initiative, begun January 1992, articulated the goal of reducing the volume of paper utilized by administrative processes by five million pieces per year on a permanent, ongoing basis. Prior to 1992, paper was the first step and the end product of most administrative processes. The path paper followed through the organization was a road map of UCI's administrative policies and procedures. To extend this metaphor, the assignment to reduce paper stimulated managers to look at the road map and to identify shorter routes, unnecessary detours, freeway access, and alternate transportation options. In short, it caused managers to look critically at their paper-intensive processes.

Goals Extend Beyond Eliminating Paper

The underlying goals of the "Paper-Sparse" Plan initiative include:

  • Review business processes for streamlining opportunities
  • Identify ways to simplify business processes
  • Create opportunities to delegate and clarify responsibilities
  • Reduce excessive approvals, complex prior-authorization procedures, and lengthy, bureaucratic information paths
  • (As well as) reduce reliance on paper for business processes.

The results of the three-year effort are annualized savings of 7.3 million pieces of paper and numerous, substantial administrative process improvements. This program's goals and results are summarized in the Progress Report Section (4.3). An important part of this program, UCI's Zotmail/Zotfax system, was recognized by NACUBO in 1995 with an Innovative Management Award.

Managers' Action Plans include process streamlining improvements that will increase paper-savings in future years. Although focusing on paper-use is equivalent to concentrating on the process output, it has provided an effective process improvement tool for managers.