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University of Arkansas - Custodial Services Program Review

Fayetteville, Arkansas

  INDUSTRY: Higher Education
  SERVICE AREA(S): Performance Analysis

As part of a campus-wide series of program assessments, the University of Arkansas engaged Draper & Associates to conduct a comprehensive Review of Physical Plant Operations. The objectives of this Review were to:

  • Determine the level of service and the corresponding level of expenditure that is appropriate in managing and maintaining the University's Education and General (E&G) facilities.

  • Identify and define opportunities to improve cost-effectiveness within the Physical Plant Department.

  • Determine the Business Structure (i.e., mix of resources, organizational structure and operating practices) that is most compatible with targeted service and expenditure levels.

  • Develop specific plans for implementing targeted improvement initiatives and for transitioning to the selected Business Structure.

The work performed during this Review covered all areas of General Fund facilities management encompassed within the Physical Plant Department. This included a detailed examination of the Custodial Services Program .

The approach for this Review involved a thorough combination of fact-finding and analysis. The fact-finding activities performed included interviews at all levels throughout Custodial Services, as well as with customer/constituent and staff from other areas of the University. In addition, several years of detailed data and operating/staffing statistics were gathered and analyzed in order to determine and evaluate the true cost of delivering custodial services. The results of this analysis were then used to compare and contrast the University's custodial operations with that of a selected group of Peer Institutions.

The impact of the changes proposed is broad-reaching and affects the following stake-holders:

University Administration

  • Quality Management Program
    • Established standards and specifications
    • Monitoring (inspections)/performance measures
    • Training
  • Staff and operations reorganization
    • Shift to nights with resulting efficiency/production gains
    • Managers managing, not doing
    • Create Lead Custodians to help leverage Coordinators
    • Institute Relief/Project Team to help assure consistency

Campus Customers

  • Service level enhancements
    • Equity of services and resources across buildings/spaces
    • Consistency through a Quality Management Program
    • Minimal interruption/disruption (more focused daily cleaning)
    • Training Program expansion/revitalization
    • Increase frequency of periodic/project work
  • Efficiency/cost-effectiveness gains
  • Staff safety and security considerations incorporated into plans
    • Lead Custodians designed to provide direct supervision to smaller work groups within Custodial Zones
    • Policy regarding unlocking and locking of exterior and interior doors
    • Extended hours of evening operation for Transit shuttle

Custodial Staff

  • Unimpeded access to work areas
  • Greater sense of accomplishment
  • Better pay through the Shift Differential
  • Career ladder with Lead Custodian positions filling the current gap between the Custodial Worker and Coordinator of Housekeeping positions providing upward mobility/economic mobility
  • Improved retention/recruiting enhancement


" Draper & Associates has been of great assistance in helping us to determine the level of service and the corresponding mix of resources and level of expenditure that is appropriate in managing and maintaining the University's facilities. Their analytical work is allowing us to more clearly define and quantify our facility requirements as we pursue an accelerated growth strategy for the campus. Their integrated approach to organizational and program planning is positioning us to gain synergies across projects ranging from routine maintenance to renovation and new construction. As a result, we have a clearer indication of what we are getting when we make capital expenditure decisions and a higher confidence in our ability to generate a bigger bang for the buck."

Dr. Donald O. Pederson
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
The University of Arkansas





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