This is part three in our prompt payment blog series. You can read the overview post here and learn more about the citywide improvements that came out of that.
Denver International Airport, or DEN as it’s known internally, processes a high volume of invoices (close to 27,000 in the past two years). The core team involved in payment processing quickly emerged as a key champion of the Prompt Pay work and included Emmanuel Hanger, Irene St. Martin, Tzveta Panayotova, and Kamilah Thompson with executive sponsorship from Cristal Swain, Greg Hegarty, and Sandra Scanlon.
While there is so much they’ve accomplished in regards to prompt pay, their “back to basics” approach, as Irene St. Martin put it, really stands out. In part, the Prompt Pay Project set out to minimize the number of complicating factors that go into a prompt payment. Transactions differ depending on if they are for construction work, goods and services, etc., and the operations of the departments vary drastically. Layer in the fact that vendors have their own unique needs, and the process can get complicated quickly. A lot of this project’s work has been focused on simplifying these variations when possible. When that isn’t feasible, the focus has been on providing clear structure and guidance to ensure internal staff can process payments quickly, and equipping external vendors with what they need to be successful.
DEN played a big part in working towards the goal of simplifying in the process following ways:
- Re-education: While all agencies worked hard to ensure their staff completed a new training to re-tool on prompt pay, the DEN group stands out in their efforts. They had experienced some turn over on the team just before this effort and were especially speedy updating their training documents and getting their entire staff re-trained as soon possible. This ensured everybody was operating on correct and up-to-date information.
- Cross-agency collaboration: DEN was an excellent partner in collaborating with other departments. This was critical in developing consistency across departments and helped break down silos. As one example, DEN worked closely with the Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO) on updating the Contractor Certification of Payment form to make it easier to certify sub-contractors and benefit small, minority-, and women-owned businesses in particular.
- Internal teamwork: In addition to partnering well across departments, the DEN team showed strength in their internal teamwork. Many individuals took on key action items and exhibited strong leadership skills that always prioritized finding a path forward for the project over any one person’s specific idea.
- Prioritizing during a pandemic: This project launched in January 2020 and was ramping up when everything shut down for the pandemic. This environment meant there was high potential for the work to come to a halt. However, that was not the case, and as Emmanuel Hanger put it, “The singular element that contributed to the project’s success was the determination of each and every single team member to step it up a notch with regards to partnering, collaboration, and transparency into each other’s work progress.”
The DEN team has been a large part of the progress the City has seen in this project, and they are a good reminder that the fundamentals are key in a successful project.
Katie is a Continuous Improvement Specialist with Denver Peak Academy. Katie has spent the entirety of her career working for mission-driven organizations which has included non-profit consulting, healthcare, and higher education sectors. In her previous positions, she often found herself leading her work teams in creating more efficient and effective processes. As a Denver-metro native, she is especially excited to apply these skills helping Denver be the best city in the nation. In particular, she is energized by the empowering transformation people experience as they identify actionable items to improve their work. When not at work, Katie enjoys spending time with her husband, kiddo, and pup, traveling, and being an active Coloradan.
Katie holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Brown University, respectively.
Leave a Reply