Purdue to maintain in-house custodial services

August 12, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A comprehensive needs assessment by Purdue University shows the current means of providing custodial services is more efficient than outsourcing the operation.

The findings mean Purdue will continue to maintain custodial services for the campus research, teaching and administrative buildings and auxiliary services, which include University Residences, School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, Memorial Union, Division of Recreational Sports and Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Benchmark review and assessment of custodial services at Purdue shows the current level of services is more efficient and effective than the industry standard,” said Al Diaz, executive vice president for business and finance, treasurer.

According to the report, Purdue custodians achieve the same level of service with 79 percent of the work force found at other institutions. Customer satisfaction levels also were high, which was an important factor, Diaz said.

Purdue undertook the custodial services review as part of Sustaining New Synergies, a university-wide effort to identify cost-cutting measures and operational efficiencies.

“The comparison was a necessary step to ensure we’re doing a good job in management and operations. Not only did it prove we were already highly efficient, it identified other areas where we could save money,” said Diaz, who serves as co-chair of the Sustaining New Synergies effort with Provost Tim Sands.

A committee led by an SNS Task Force member and included a member from procurement as well as supervisors from the service areas conducted the needs assessment over six months. The committee compared Purdue to industry benchmarks, as well as area enterprises and other universities.

The analysis found Purdue’s custodial staffs complete significant other non-traditional duties such as set up and tear-down for competitions, repairs, and assisting with special events. Collaboration among the six service areas also was high, providing flexibility to adequately cover duties in emergencies or long-planned facility shutdowns. Intangible benefits of the current structure included cultivating strong relationships with guests, customers and students that enabled staff to anticipate needs and work ahead and helping to create a secure environment for students and staff, according to the report.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, (765) 496-2644, sig@purdue.edu

Source: Al Diaz, 765-494-9705, aldiaz@purdue.edu