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DMAIC Analysis on Purdue Travel Procedure CONCUR User Integration Improvement


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Six sigma undergraduate project using the DMAIC methodology. Completed after performing a Process audit (PEMM).

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DMAIC Analysis on Purdue Travel Procedure CONCUR User Integration Improvement

  1. 1. DMAIC Analysis on Purdue Travel Procedure CONCUR User Integration Improvement By Weng Kwong Chan Jason Widgery Kevin Chang IT 446 Fall 2013
  2. 2. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 2 Table of Contents Pages 1. Introduction 3 2. Project Charter 4 3. Define 5 4. Value Stream Map 6 5. Process Map 7 6. Measure 8 7. Voice of Customer (VOC) 8 8. Analysis 12 9. Improvements 16 10. Conclusion 17 11. Acknowledgement 17 12. References 17
  3. 3. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 3 Introduction After talking to Dr. Ragu and Debbie, our IT446 Six Sigma DMAIC Project, we decide to look into Purdue University’s travel procedures for faculty. We originally thought of embarking on the entire scope of the university travel reimbursement system. However, we soon realize that the scope was too wide for our project. Hence, we narrowed down our focus to Expense Report in Concur System for Technology Leadership & Innovation Department in the College of Technology. Like all departments in a large world-class university, travel is an essential element of the faculty, distinguished guests, and our graduate students. Consequently, a systematic and reliable system must be set in place to ensure that the university process trip reimbursement efficiently and accurately, while making sure all trips are in compliance with the regulatory and legal reporting policies. Since January 2013, the Central Travel Office has replaced the paperwork process with Concur Travel and Expense across Purdue University, including regional campuses. Concur is the leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions. In conjunction with ALTOUR travel agency and the introduction of JP Morgan Chase Visa travel card, Concur intended to provide automated booking, authorization, and reimbursement processes, thus eliminating Form 17 and Form 25, which were previously required in the paperwork. Despite the lean effort from Central travel Office to redesign the travel procedures before adopting Concur Travel and Expense application, we still receive informal complaints from travelers and administrative staff after talking to them. Some of complaints involve around with the complexity of the new system, account assignment and the continuous need of retraining. Hence, our six sigma project commences by investigate the expense filing process which gives CONCUR users the most issues and is critical for the reimbursement process.
  4. 4. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 4 Project Charter Business Case The Central Travel Office has recently deploy CONCUR, a business travel and expense management software to replace the time-consuming paperwork process. However, because of some of the non- intuitive features of the CONCUR system and the fact not all Purdue faculty use CONCUR on a daily basis and received sufficient training, we stepped in to investigate the expense filing process which gives CONCUR users the most issues and effects on the reimbursement process most. Opportunity Statement The CONCUR system, oversee by Purdue Central Travel Office is relatively complex and not user- friendly. Since the deployment of CONCUR, some of travelers receive non to a basic 2-hour training while their delegates receive a more in-depth 6-hour training. Insufficient training and infrequent usage of CONCUR system has often generate system exceptions that carry over to the reimbursement process and hence affect the reimbursement duration. Goal Statement (1) Reduce cycle time (Creation of expense report to reimbursement) (2) Simplify the process by identifying bottleneck and unnecessary steps X: Workflow Cycle time Y: Efficiency, users' satisfaction, users' training level Project Scope We are working on the CONCUR system's expense report filing process for TLI and CoT faculty. Starting point: Return from trip Ending point: Receive reimbursement payment Project Plan For this project, we will be focusing on the Define, Measure, Analyze, and Improve phase of the DMAIC methodology DEFINE: -Establishing contact with Business Office (2 weeks) -Capture VOC, and convert them into CCR (2 weeks) -Understand the current CONCUR system and process mapping (2 weeks) MEASURE: - Develop comprehensive measuring rubric for various components (3 weeks) ANALYZE: - Use SPC tools to present collected data (2 weeks)
  5. 5. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 5 - Interpret statistical data (root cause analysis, process analysis, etc.) (3 week) IMPROVE: - Post suggestions based from statistically significant data (1 week) Team Selection Dr. Ragu Athinarayanan - Project Sponsor Debbie Tutak - TLI Administrative Staff Steven Cain - Consultant B.Gayle Stetler - Process Owner (Central Travel Office) Emily Haygood - CoT Business Office Account Clerk Weng Kwong Chan - Project member Jason Widgery - Project member Kevin Chang - Project member Define Our primary objective was to reduce the cycle time it takes from submitting Expense Report to reimbursement. Our first step was to contact the Business Office, which we kept in contact for over two weeks. From the business office, we established a connection in Central Travel Office with Gayle Stetler, who is an Account Payable Mangers and also part of the Concur deployment team. Gayle walked us through their current state and future state Value Stream Maps (Figure 1 and 2) and also some of the new features and improvements over the previous paperwork system. Gayle also helped us familiarize ourselves with Concur by giving us a demo session and walking through most of the steps and troublesome features in the Expense Report. We have also collaborate with Gayle to create a detailed process map (Figure 3) to understand each steps that happens between submission of expense report and reimbursement.
  6. 6. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 6 Value Stream Map Figure 1. Value Stream Map for Paperwork Process Figure 2. Value Stream Map for Concur Travel System
  7. 7. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 7 Process Map Figure 3. Process Map for Concur Expense Report Performance Indicators: P1 – Date of expense report submission P2 – Amount of expense report P3 – Reason for Business Office Rejection P4 – Reason for Ad-hoc approver rejection P5 – Reason for Disbursement Audit Rejection P6 – Audit Steps P7 – Date sent for payment
  8. 8. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 8 Measure In the previous paperwork system, the baseline performance of the Reimbursement Preparation Process (comparable to Expense Report in CONCUR System) was measured by interviewing processors and managers in Business Office and Central Travel Office. The process time was estimated to be 78 hours while the lead time ranged from 11 to 28 days. To initiate the measurement process for the current Concur system, our team gathered multi-dimensional data from the end-users and the Concur system. For end-users, we distributed a Qualtrics surveys in order to collect quantitative and qualitative data. The results of the survey are used as Voice of Customer (VOC) to further analyze and translate into Key Customer Issues and eventually into Critical Customer Requirements (CCR). In the survey, we asked specifically about the amount of training (in hours), user experience, and also 2 open-ended questions for travelers or delegates to express their concerns. On the other hand, since Concur is an automated application, Emily Haygood and Gayle Stetler helped us to obtain quantitative data such as cycle time (in days), the reimbursed dollar amount, and approval duration (in days) and etc. using the CONUS reporting service. With these data, we utilized statistical process control (SPC) tools to analyze and evaluate the results which will be discussed the analysis part of this report. Voice of Customer (VOC) External costumers are defined as the end-users (traveler or delegate). We collect the voice of customers by distributing a survey, and also take our own experience with Concur and online resources into account. One of the biggest concerns for all Concur users is their ability to use the system effectively. Due to the fairly recent implementation of the new process, frequency and proficiency of the system is on a steep learning curve. A common voice across methodologies was training, retraining and access to information. As seen in Table 1 all information acquired after training was from the Business office while online resources are available. It was noticed through observation, that the information is not only difficult to find, but the information is also not clearly interpreted. While overall user experience was good (67%), according to the survey, access to useful training documents was a “must” in order to use the application efficiently.
  9. 9. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 9 Table 1: Initial training and Information access survey results When asked how long it took them to file an expense report within the Concur system a 88% majority of respondents takes four hours or less. However, end-users still state the process does take longer than the older paper process (Table 2) # Answer % 1 Much shorter 11% 2 Shorter 11% 3 About the same 22% 4 Longer 44% 5 Much longer 0% 6 Don’t know, I haven’t use the CONCUR or the paper process before 11% Total 100% Table 2: Concur Expense Reports compared to paper process We also performed a simple Kano analysis on the specific details of the end-user experience and satisfaction of an improved process. Figure 4 suggests an increase in end-user satisfaction if information availability and clarity and user interface were improved.
  10. 10. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 10 Figure 4: Kano Analysis on Voice of Customer The VOC was further translated into a Critical Customer Requirements (CCR) in a CCR matrix (Figure 5). First and foremost, clear and concise training documents are a key requirement to end-users satisfaction. In addition, improved training would also minimize other attributed activities (discussed later) when creating expense reports through Concur. With increased training level, end-users would also be more familiar with Concur’s user interface and environment and hence reducing time needed to create an expense report. Although it is possible to communicate with Concur to improving the interface and automating some features, the changes are limited to the system architecture. Another concern that was raised is that end-users were bombarded with exceptions and daily email reminders that frustrate them.
  11. 11. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 11 Figure 5: Critical Customer Requirements (CCR)
  12. 12. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 12 Analysis The first thing we did to analyze the data, is to perform a Pareto analysis on the Exceptions that occur in the Expense Report. Exceptions are warning or error codes that Central Travel Office created to address some of potential issues while filing an Expense report. Although only level-99 Exceptions (Unused advanced cash, Invalid approver, Future date report) forbid users to submit their Expense Report, most Exceptions carry through the submission of the Expense Report. Figure 6: Pareto Chart of Exceptions for 2013 From the Pareto Chart, we can clearly see that two of the Exceptions: greater than 60 days old Exception and Duplicate Entry Exception make up more than 80% of the total exception fired. Greater than 60 days old exceptions indicates that the Expense Report is submitted more than 60 days of the actual travel and might cause some tax implications of the traveler him/herself. The second Exception is to warn users of potential duplicate entries. While both of these Exceptions were not critical errors and still allow users to submit their Expense Report, we think it necessary to minimize the occurrence of these two Exceptions as it might cause confusion among end-users. Furthermore, we also look at the relationship between the amounts approved (travelling expenses) with the amount of days it takes to get approval. Initially, we predict that these two variables would have a positive correlation: as the amount approved increases, the time takes to approval them also increases, and the scatter plot (Figure 7) suggest that a positive correlation may Frequency 128 56 1 11516322871124 858 807 634 210 199 Percent 0.6 0.3 0.0 0.070.610.7 5.2 4.0 3.8 3.0 1.0 0.9 Cum % 99.7100.0100.0100.070.681.3 86.5 90.5 94.3 97.2 98.2 99.1 Exceptions Allocation Required Account Assignm ent Fare Class Hospitality AND Allow ance M ileage Rental Car Class Car Rental Preferred Vendor EXP > TR Contra Expense Trip Request M issing Duplicate Entry > 60 days old 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 100 80 60 40 20 0 Frequency Percent Pareto Chart of Exceptions for 2013
  13. 13. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 13 exist. That would be reasonable as the amount of expense increases, Business Office and Central Travel Office would take extra time to evaluate the spending related to that trip. Figure 7: Scatter plot of Approved Amount vs. Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 According to the individual value plot (Figure 8), the average approval days among ECET, MET and TLI department were rather consistent, all around 5-6 days, while TLI department has a greatest standard deviation of approval days of 5.9 days, followed by MET’s 4.7 days and ECET’s 4.5 days. In our data, we also observed that faculty in TLI department travelled 94 times in the given time period, almost twice as much as MET and ECET department. Some of the trips, possible for couple months or multiple destinations, could explain some of the outliers in the individual value plot for TLI department. Figure 8 and 9: Individual Value Plot of Approval (Days) and Histogram of Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 403020100 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 403020100 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 ECET Approval (Days) ApprovedAmount MET TLI Panel variable: Department Scatterplot of Approved Amount vs Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 Relationship between Approved Amount and Approval(days) from CoT Department TLIMETECET 40 30 20 10 0 Department Approval(Days) 5.925536 5.34694 Individual Value Plot of Approval (Days) 363024181260-6 20 15 10 5 0 363024181260-6 20 15 10 5 0 ECET Approval (Days) Frequency MET TLI Mean 5.347 StDev 4.489 N 49 ECET Mean 6 StDev 4.703 N 53 MET Mean 5.926 StDev 5.888 N 94 TLI Histogram of Approval (Days) Normal Panel variable: Department
  14. 14. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 14 From the control chart of approval (days) (Figure 10), we are fairly confident that approval process is in control and most of the numbers of days for approval fall within the 6σ range. However, the process capability analysis further reveals that the process failed to meet the initial target duration they initially set in the lean meetings. During the multiple lean meetings the Central Travel Office before adopting Concur, they expect the lead time for the reimbursement process to improve to 1 to 7 days (our LCL and UCL). In reality, with a Cp value of merely 0.20 indicates that the 6σ spread is greater than tolerance spread. Although the process might be exhibiting natural variations, we conclude that the process is incapable of meeting the initial expectation set by the internal customers. Furthermore, Cpk value of 0.06 also supports that the process is not meeting expectation, even though the process average fall within the specification limits. Since Cp ≠ Cpk, the process is not centered, as showed in Figure 11. Figure 10: Control Chart of Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 918273645546372819101 40 30 20 10 0 -10 Observation Approval(Days) _ X=5.93 UCL=20.45 LCL=-8.60 1 1 1 Control Chart of Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 TLI Department
  15. 15. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 15 Figure 11: Process Capability of Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 Improvements Since Concur Travel and Expense application is a fairly recent implementation to replace the previous paperwork system, we would certainly expect some form resistance for users who are used to the paperwork process. However, regardless of their preferences, we think that Central Travel Office and Business Office should educate the end-users and develop their knowledge about the system. Despite rolling out Concur systematically with piloting groups and awareness presentations, end-users, especially travelers receive minimal training. Most travelers only went for basic 2-hour training, while designators or administrative staff attends in-depth 6-hour training. While it’s impossible to make professors and deans to sit through 2-hour training, we would highly recommend that Central travel Office would make a training video accessible to Concur end-users. This would allow travelers to learn about Concur at their own time or when they feel there’s a need, rather the having them sign up for a training session. Furthermore, from our survey, we also observed that almost all users would consult their local Business Office for advice or direction when facing issues or trouble with Concur. No respondents in our survey used the online resources, even though the Central travel Office believes 30.022.515.07.50.0-7.5 LSL USL LSL 0.04 Target * USL 7 Sample Mean 5.92553 Sample N 94 StDev (Within) 5.90413 StDev (O v erall) 5.88828 Process Data C p 0.20 C PL 0.33 C PU 0.06 C pk 0.06 Pp 0.20 PPL 0.33 PPU 0.06 Ppk 0.06 C pm * O v erall C apability Potential (Within) C apability PPM < LSL 127659.57 PPM > USL 287234.04 PPM Total 414893.62 O bserv ed Performance PPM < LSL 159418.56 PPM > USL 427796.89 PPM Total 587215.44 Exp. Within Performance PPM < LSL 158768.11 PPM > USL 427604.68 PPM Total 586372.79 Exp. O v erall Performance Within O v erall Process Capability of Approval (Days) Between Jan 27, 2013 and Nov 27, 2013 TLI Department
  16. 16. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 16 that their training web site would have most, if not all the information to complete the Expense Report. Users could be unaware of the resource/training website (Figure 12), or the website was too clustered and difficult to navigate, and users just refuse to use it. In addition, concise step-by- step instructions and cheat sheet specifically for each department could also be seen as a quick- and-dirty way to elevate users’ experience with Concur. As users are more educated about the operation of Concur, from exceptions to the troublesome account assignment, and the integration of ALTOUR and Purdue Visa travel card, and uploading your receipt using your mobile device, we would expect an improvement overtime in the approval time as users fully utilizing the features of Concur and reduce the occurrences of exception, and hence having users to complete their Expense Reports in one go. Figure 12. Home page of Travel and Expense Online Resource As we mentioned earlier in the report, the changes that can be made to Purdue’s Concur system is limited to the Concur’s system architecture. However, Central Travel Office should identify unnecessary exceptions codes, or at least clearly displays the severity of exception codes to the end-users. While we understand that exception codes are useful in indicating issues or errors to end-users, excessive exception codes would cause confusions among users. Also, the integration between Concur and SAP could also be improved, especially for the account assignments as the number of account assignments would throw some inexperienced users back. Another suggestions that we can provide, is to ask Central travel Office to think on the line of travel booking sites, such as Expedia and Priceline. Most of the features in those websites were very intuitive as consumers don’t require any prior knowledge of their system in order to book a trip. While we didn’t went through each steps in the whole process (from trip request to reimbursement), and we certainly understand there are some compliances and regulations to meet, this suggestion could only use as a guideline in improving the Concur system.
  17. 17. IT 446 CONCUR User Integration Improvement 17 Conclusion For those experienced users, the new travel process is considered an overall improvement over the past paper process. However, even the experienced few find that filing their end-of-travel expenses tedious and all too meticulous. Furthermore, end-users should be aware of possible exceptions from the forthcoming audit, and how to identify them, fewer may be made. A better understanding the Concur system will increase effective use, save valuable time and perhaps even some monetary resources. Further or increased training and accesses to clear, step-by-step instructions for end-users would hasten and improve Concur experience and improving SAP integration with Concur decrease the laborious nature of the system. Effective communication with third-party development is also crucial to improve Concur’s interface and would eventually result a more pleasant and intuitive user interaction. Acknowledgement We would like to thank: Dr. Ragu Athinarayanan for the project opportunity Debbie Tutak for providing project ideas Steven Cain for insightful experience B.Gayle Stetler for allowing her time and expertise Emily Haygood for being a life-saver Dr. Chad Laux for the guidance and the challenge References Business@Purdue: Travel Expense (2013). Purdue University. Retrieved from Meet Minitab 16 (2010). Minitab. Summers, D. C. (2011). Lean Six Sigma: Process Improvement Tools and Techniques. Prentice Hall. Travel (2013). Purdue University. Retrieved from