With mounting budget cuts, Visalia Unified School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley, came under increasing pressure to improve processes and save money. The IT department specifically was tasked with looking beyond its own operations to help the entire district do more with less.
To support its population of 27,000 (K-12) students and 2,500 employees at 44 educational sites, Visalia USD identified more than 100 administrative processes that could be replaced with web forms and applications. The paper form-based processes targeted for replacement were multi-part, ranging in cost from 20 cents to over a dollar each. One form from the district’s print shop department was used more than 15,000 times each year, costing more than $10,000 alone.
In addition, these labor-intensive and inefficient paper forms typically have distributions which span several people and often multiple departments and physical sites. With tens-of-thousands of forms for many different purposes, Visalia USD recognized the savings in eliminating each paper form. But more importantly, the district recognized the much larger savings in automating workflow processes and creating efficiencies in labor use, which accounts for 85% of its annual budget.
Al Foytek, Visalia’s Director of Business Information Systems, was initially drawn to PerfectApps because of the product’s extensive functionality and affordability. Visalia was able to phase out its existing manual administrative procedures and fully integrate the no-code solutions built with PerfectApps into its administrative workflows. Ultimately, more than 100 paper forms were converted to PerfectApps, which are used by over 2,400 users. For example, the district used PerfectApps to automate accident reports, substitute teacher requests, and transportation requests. The customizability of PerfectApps also enabled Visalia’s staff to create web forms and web applications that looked exactly like their paper-based counterparts. This ensured an easier transition away from paper processes and required less training for teachers and staff.
PerfectApps’ workflow automation capabilities helped Visalia USD to dramatically increase efficiency and reduce costs. By cutting down the amount of time Visalia’s staff spends on administrative tasks, they are able to devote more time to students and parents, therefore improving school performance. Savings have been seen in many areas, including:
- Reduced printing costs. One process alone, which handles work order requests for the district’s print shop, saved $10,000 per year in the cost of paper forms, and many times that figure in related labor savings.
- Reduced labor costs. Web forms and applications eliminate costs for requisitioning, stocking, distribution and handling, and save time with automated notifications and distribution.
- Improved reporting. Management information summaries are generated faster and are more reliable as they are no longer subject to the errors inherent in manual processing. Records of all significant process events and data are archived and kept secure.
- Return on investment. Visalia USD recovered its investment with the money it saved on paper and printing alone. Significantly larger savings are gained in efficiencies created for its workforce. These efficiencies come from things like automated ordering, approval routing, automated data management, and overall faster processes.
“Next to email, our process automation system, based on PerfectApps, is our most important means of communication in the district.”
Director Business Information Systems
Visalia School District