People and Change: Dan Mathers

People and Change: Dan Mathers

April 01, 2019

This month we speak with Dan Mathers, credit card program lead, Customer Support Supply Management and Financial Operations.

Dan has worked in Financial Operations for four years and has been working in partnership with the Procurement Modernization team to design and implement changes to the procurement and payables processes. He is helping to simplify and realign current processes that will eventually transfer to the new cloud-based software solution, Workday, which will eventually be used in Student, Finance and Human Resources services.

Can you explain how procurement was processed at UBC before the Procurement Modernization project began?

Yes, previously we processed a lot of paper requests. End users had to physically sign, scan and email purchase requisitions. The process was taking much longer than what people were expecting on campus. It was time for a new, more modern approach to procurement.

And how has procurement changed since?

Many of our roles have been realigned to meet the needs of the campus and prepare for our new Service Delivery Model. Our jobs have become more specialized, and we have added more positions, including buyer roles that work specifically with departments to simplify processes.

Overall, I think this has been a positive experience, and people in our department see a more logical progression in the hierarchy of our jobs. In fact, some staff have been working toward a Procurement designation because they are motivated to expand their skills.

My position now focuses on credit cards, and as a subject matter expert (SME), I’m assisting the Integrated Renewal Program team to plan how we will use and configure Workday, which will be implemented in 2020 for HR and finance systems.

Can you explain the new Service Delivery Model and how it will prepare UBC for Workday?

Currently, when someone submits a request for a purchase it is reviewed by Procurement Services. If there are any mistakes it is returned with comments on how to correct it. This process is fairly reactive and is not suitable when the request calls for an immediate turn-around time. We have been piloting the new Model at Sauder School of Business. The buyer role assists staff with purchases and shows them the steps to take from the beginning. The goal was to improve the experience with procurement. This will also help with simplifying processes with Workday as staff and faculty begin to see their purchase orders online.

Since that pilot started, we've hired a full-time procurement team lead to supervise the buyers, and so far, things are going well at Sauder. They can see that they have a new level of support and are happy to give us some of the tasks that they used to be responsible for.

What have you learned from working on the Procurement Modernization project and how has it helped you as an SME for Workday?

One thing I’ve learned is to become more curious and to question why we do things the way we do. Could there be a simpler alternative? For instance, there was an extra step included in our purchase order process that was not necessary. When someone would send a retroactive purchase order to Procurement with an invoice included, we would send them the purchase order and ask them to send the approved invoice to Accounts Payable. Based on feedback from the campus community during our Lean exercises, we removed this step. Being part of this process has helped me become more open to new ideas.

5. What benefits do you see in the future coming out of the transition to Workday? What do we have to look forward to?

For everyone, including Student, Finance, and HR, more work will be online, significantly reducing paper and manual transactions. Most processes will be automated and self-serve. This will result in more transparency as to when transactions are submitted, where they are in the system and when they have been approved. Currently, when someone fills out a form, I have to transpose it into the system. Once UBC is using Workday, this process will be no longer be needed, eliminating the duplication of work.