An occasional report on what's new in cyberspace
Campus units doing business with the Operation and Maintenance Division now have access to more detailed information about their O&M accounts.
Last summer, O&M switched to a new information-management system called CHAMPS (a proprietary name that stands for Computerized, History and Maintenance Planning System). Since the "PJ Vouchers" produced by CHAMPS are posted on the World Wide Web, departmental business managers can view account information from their desktop computers, using a Web browser. ("PJ Vouchers" are the documents sent out explaining charges for O&M work that departments charge against their own budgets. The name PJ came about as a slang term for "Plant Jobs," referring to a time when O&M was commonly known as the Physical Plant.)
According to Carl Wegel, manager of O&M's work-control center, the new system makes it easier for O&M and its customers to track costs. It also enhances O&M's capabilities for managing inventory and purchasing operations.
But, Wegel said, the biggest advantage of the new system is improved customer service. For example, "The former job-cost accounting system referred to material purchases by a reference number," which, he said, was meaningless to customers. "In CHAMPS, they're English-language descriptions."
The new system also provides categorical cost breakdowns, under headings such as labor, stock and non-stock material. And, users have access to monthly summaries and reports, with charges broken down in terms of labor and material.
Still another benefit, Wegel said, is that customers now have the ability "to download a CSV file, representing their PJ Vouchers, directly to their computers to be used in Excel or Lotus. They can then manipulate the files and use them in their own systems," he said.
To gain access to account information, users must have a valid user name and password. To request such authorization, Wegel said business managers need to contact the O&M help desk, 244-6350, or complete and mail a form that is available on the division's home page: http://www.oandm.uiuc.edu.
In an effort to make the Code on Campus Affairs and the Handbook of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students more accessible and user-friendly, the information now appears on the UI's World Wide Web site.
Although the Code and the Handbook have been merged into a unified document titled Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students, Carl J. Jones, chair of the Conference on Conduct Governance, stressed that "no changes in the substance of the rules or the way that rules are made or changed has occurred as a result of the move to electronic accessibility."
Some formatting changes were necessary, however, he said, "to make searches and hot links user-friendly." And some renumbering of existing rules was required as a result of merging the two documents.
Hard copies of the code are still available as well, but, Jones said, "it is anticipated that hard copy runs of the code will be decreased over time." Even so, reference copies will remain available in college and departmental offices, as well as at the Student Services Building, the Office for Student Conflict Resolution and other sites campuswide. The code can be accessed on the Web at http://www.uiuc.edu/admin_manual/code/.