Better information for greater efficiency

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

Team GRDA Training … GRDA Superintendent of Fiscal Services Joni Kelley speaks to her fellow employees during a recent training session to discuss the bottom-up budgeting process being implemented in 2014. Not only will the process add a greater sense of ownership to the Authority’s annual budget, but the input from all areas will also provide more specific details as the budget is being shaped.

Team GRDA Training … GRDA Superintendent of Fiscal Services Joni Kelley speaks to her fellow employees during a recent training session to discuss the bottom-up budgeting process being implemented in 2014. Not only will the process add a greater sense of ownership to the Authority’s annual budget, but the input from all areas will also provide more specific details as the budget is being shaped.

Approximately 90 different Grand River Dam Authority employees, representing a broad range of departments and responsibilities, came together last week for milestone training event. Gathering inside the Grand Hall at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley, their focus was on the implementation of a bottom-up budgeting process.

Granted, for much of the readership, that may sound like a pretty dry topic. However, this budgeting process is something new for GRDA, representing a big shift in how things have been done. A bottoms-up budget is just what it sounds like: a budget built from the ground up, involving all department managers across the Authority. Information, pulled from the knowledge and experiences of managers in very specific areas of the Authority, flows into the process. That information is then used to help shape the final budget, which is now built on a broad organizational foundation, carrying the imprint and input of every department.

In 2013, GRDA began the bottom-up process with personnel. In 2014, all other phases will be added, thus the need for the employee training event last week. This new process for the Authority was started under the direction of the GRDA Board of Directors and will serve to help GRDA better manage the workforce and results in the future. The new process also adds a sense of ownership to the employees who are now involved in both planning and following the bottom-up budget.

Of course, a broad overview of the GRDA budget reveals line items such as “Transmission” or “Administration and General” or “Fuel and Purchased Power” or “Law Enforcement.” Yet a closer inspection reveals the real details that comprise those items and keep the Authority in motion. From substation upgrades and power line inspections to railcar maintenance and printing expenses, those details are as diverse as the tasks of the employees who will help shape that budget in the future.

Better information, built on broader input, can lead to even greater efficiency in the years ahead. That is the GRDA goal.

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