Scalability is a quality of a workflow that allows for expansion and contraction. A company that anticipates rapid growth needs workflow solutions that will work just as well for a team of 50 as they do for the initial team of five. A company that expands operations quickly for the holiday shopping season and then scales back down after the holiday rush is over, requires scalability upward and downward, with minimal impact on operational costs.
Scalability is what ensures that your company can produce consistently excellent products and services as it grows, with a minimum of growing pains. When your company’s workflows are scalable, you have an enormous advantage over companies that don’t.
Why Is Scalability Important?
Software scalability, as just one example, helps ensure that business demands aren’t limited by software performance if demand goes up. Can your e-commerce storefront software handle a ten-fold increase in the number of customers if a new product takes off?
When you purchase software, hardware, or other equipment for your business, you’re smart to make sure it not only accommodates your needs now but offers enough margin to accommodate greater needs as your business expands. Otherwise, you could find yourself retooling workflows or purchasing new hardware, software, or equipment right as demand picks up, putting your business in a difficult situation.
Challenges of Scalability
Scaling up a workflow isn’t always just a matter of making sure 50 team members have the same set of resources your original, smaller team had. It’s a start, but it isn’t everything. Does your broadband have enough bandwidth to accommodate the needs of a larger workforce? Do you have enough physical space to store the products that your expanded workforce is able to make?
Naturally, scalability is less daunting for the company that produces research or consulting services than for the company that manufactures heavy equipment. But it’s critical that companies that provide services rather than tangible goods plan for growth and scalability as well, to avoid problems that can affect existing customer loyalty or make it harder to attract new customers.
Without Scalability, Even the Best Workflows Are Limited
Maybe you and your crack team of employees have worked together to develop a workflow that allows you to do what you do efficiently and meet customer needs splendidly. But once word gets out of your amazing products and services, can you duplicate that workflow with a new team and get the same results? Maybe not. That’s why it’s important to plan scalability into workflows right from the start. Otherwise, you unnecessarily limit your workflows to being reliable only under current conditions, and that can be a bigger risk than you imagine.
Any company with people-intensive processes where tasks have numerous touch points with different team members should evaluate workflows regularly and ensure that they can be scaled up without major upheaval.
Scalability Is Only One Factor in Your Choice of Workflow Tools
Scalability, of course, is only a single factor in your choice of workflow tools. Reliability, customer support, cost, and ease of use are other important factors. When choosing workflow software, two critical attributes most companies (particularly smaller ones) need are operability without the need for programming, and cloud hosting, so that a large capital expenditure for on-site IT hardware isn’t necessary.
Closely related to scalability is flexibility because workflows are rarely static. What works for a tiny startup with a small core of loyal customers may not be exactly right for the medium-sized enterprise it grows into. Therefore workflow automation software must be strong enough to do the job, yet malleable enough to make necessary changes to workflows without disruption.
You can envision a workflow as a desk piled high with papers. Whoever “owns” that process has to get to the bottom of the stack before being paid for a product or service. Therefore, it’s imperative to make that workflow as efficient as possible. PerfectForms is workflow automation software that doesn’t require programming, and in which scalability is included from the start. With the option of using PerfectForms as a cloud-hosted provider of workflow tools, your team can get started right away, without having to invest in on-site servers. Better still, you can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a free trial. See for yourself how workflow tools with built-in scalability serve your company both today and tomorrow.
You don’t have to operate an e-commerce business to be concerned with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Even if every product you provide is purchased in bricks-and-mortar stores, and every service you provide is in person, your company website can be enormously influential to the state of your business.
Some business owners use widely available tools like Google Analytics to track the health and well-being of their site. This is an excellent start, but many companies need tools that are more closely tailored to their specific needs. Online forms can be the key to gathering the exact data you need to ensure your website is performing as well as it should be.
Not only can you create online forms to survey your site users, you can use them to gather data from landing pages in order to test competing landing pages against one another. Here’s how your online forms software can be a valuable tool in your SEO toolkit.
Online Forms for Surveys
While survey burnout is a real phenomenon, strategic use of online surveys can be a straightforward way to answer specific questions. In fact, one way businesses use surveys is to ask site users which landing page design they prefer. You can also ask users to describe in one word or sentence what product or service you provide, and whether the site has the information they want.
One valuable survey question is, “Which search term did you use to find this page?” From the answers, you can learn which keywords you should optimize your web pages for. An alternative question might be how the user learned about your company, whether through a web search, word of mouth, advertising, or some other way.
Online Forms and Landing Pages
Not only can you create online forms to function as landing pages, you can use the data gathered from these landing pages to more carefully tailor online content. The data you gather from landing pages can also help you design future landing pages with less trial and error. SEO experts recommend simple A/B testing for two slightly different versions of landing pages to learn which performs better, and online forms are outstanding for presenting alternative landing pages and gathering site user data. Landing page information gathered by your online forms software can be shared with your marketing and sales teams to inform how they gather and warm up new leads.
Collecting Valuable Data from Your Website
Online forms can be made to collect almost limitless types of data from your website users, and if you deploy surveys and landing pages strategically, you can gather the data you need without putting off-site users. One of the surest ways to drive site visitors away is to present them with a lengthy, in-depth form before letting them see certain content. While there’s nothing wrong with having users register with your site, the registration form should be short and sweet. You’ll have more opportunities to collect more in-depth information as your marketing and sales teams build relationships with new site users.
SEO Must Be a Continual Process
SEO isn’t a process you complete once for all time. With the right online forms software, you can create online forms that are customized for your needs at the time. If you have a new premier product gaining traction, perhaps it’s time for your online customer surveys to be updated to reflect that fact. If a landing page isn’t performing as well as it used to, then it may be time to test out some new designs. Not only do search engine algorithms evolve, user habits change (witness the big change from desktop environments to mobile devices), and marketplaces change. Your online forms software can be the key to riding these waves rather than being bowled over by them.
PerfectForms is software designed to allow you to create online forms to your exact specifications without having to know how to program. They’re compatible with web forms and easy to interface with other software you use in your business, including your CRM system. Using PerfectForms to monitor and tweak your SEO can be a terrific use of your resources, and can ensure that your website continues to perform as you expect it to. Have a look at some of our training videos and watch how easy it is to put PerfectForms to work tracking your website performance so you can always be at the top of your SEO game.
The appeal of a home-based business is clear. There’s no commute, you can be somewhat flexible about your work hours, and you don’t have to expend mental energy on workplace politics. Another appealing aspect of a home-based business is the relative freedom from red tape and bureaucracy.
How many of us have decried inelegant, needlessly complex processes we have been required to follow to get our work done? The home-based business lets you start from the ground floor, avoiding bureaucracy and keeping things simple. But if you expect any home-based business to be free of organizational and documentation needs, you are in for a rude awakening.
Organization Doesn’t Require Bureaucracy
Keeping your home-based business organized doesn’t usually require Byzantine workflows that might be necessary for a large enterprise. But there will nonetheless be organizational requirements, if for no other reason than for filing taxes accurately.
Custom online forms are the answer for countless home-based businesses because they can be made expressly to suit a process, keep office-based clutter down, and give owners the essential documentation necessary to keep the business in good financial and legal shape.
Keeping Up with Works in Progress
Rare is the home-based business owner who isn’t involved in multiple projects simultaneously. For most people, this is a necessity in order to make sufficient income. You may think you won’t forget any of those balls you’re expertly juggling, but it’s all too easy to do. However, if you use form software to create, for instance, a project initiation form containing pertinent information, such as client name and contact information, project deadline, milestones, and rate of pay, and create a simple workflow that automatically emails you for project updates every seven days, you’ll never risk forgetting important details.
Documenting Work You Have Completed
Documenting completed work is necessary for proper billing, for tax purposes, and, in some industries, for complying with regulations. Say you’ve set up a simple work-in-progress workflow like the one described above. If you add a step at the end, complete with an online form for documenting what you have done, how many hours you put in, your deliverables, and whether you have proof of compliance with relevant regulations, each project will tell its own story automatically. The right workflow that involves documenting what you do will have a beginning, a middle, and an end, all of which help you as a business owner.
Furthermore, a simple project documentation workflow, whether it’s for custom clothing alterations, web design services, or text translation, helps you recognize trends in customer needs as well as bottlenecks that are slowing you down. This documentation can also be beneficial should you apply for a business loan.
You Don’t Need Expensive IT Infrastructure
Most home-based businesses don’t have room for a lot of computer hardware, and that’s why the cloud is ideal for these businesses. If your form software operates in the cloud, you access it through the web just as you would a shopping site or social media site. You won’t have to worry about performing software upgrades because the software provider takes care of all that for you. And if you hire an employee, equipping them with cloud software is as easy as signing up for another subscription, which can be done in minutes.
Cloud technology is one of the great “equalizing” technologies, allowing small and home-based businesses to effectively compete with larger enterprises because there’s no huge up-front capital investment in sophisticated IT hardware. With your computer, perhaps a tablet or phone, and a dependable, high-speed internet connection, you’re equipped to go.
Certainly, your home-based business doesn’t have to have form creation software and online forms in order to function. But if you have access to these tools, you have a strong advantage over businesses that do not. Your client base will see for themselves that you take your responsibilities seriously, and they’re more likely to remain loyal to you. Best of all, you can spend time doing what you went into business for in the first place – and less time taking care of administrative tasks and writing down endless reminder notes.
PerfectForms offers cloud-hosted custom form software that lets you make online forms and workflows to your exact specifications, with no programming required. Watch our demo video, and you’re sure to get plenty of ideas on how the right online form software can give your business a clear advantage over the competition.
Community service organizations are about helping. If you are involved with your church’s food pantry program, your child’s athletic league, or an after-school tutoring program, your goal is to help people improve their lives, not to spend more time doing paperwork.
At the same time, however, making the most of what are often limited resources requires that you be organized and not duplicate effort through inefficient practices. Strategic use of business tools, like online forms, can actually help you reduce bureaucracy and save resources, so you have more to devote to those you serve. Here’s how.
Making the Most of Resources
Tracking financial and time resources is essential in community service organizations. You don’t want to waste money buying supplies that have already been purchased and you don’t want to inadvertently lean too hard on some volunteers while leaving others to wonder when you’re going to call them.
Form creation software can be your answer to these issues. With simple online forms, you can keep everyone in the loop about where to find the ball-point pens, and ensure you schedule volunteers well in advance, based on their availability. Imagine your volunteers logging into your website and entering simple information about their schedules over the next month. You can then generate a schedule that’s fair and convenient for the maximum number of people.
Improving Transparency of Bookkeeping
Because community service organizations tend to have limited financial resources, bookkeeping transparency is absolutely essential to prevent misunderstandings and rumors and to ensure money is being spent responsibly. If, say, a donation comes in that’s earmarked for your humane organization’s spay and neuter program, a simple online form can ensure that the money is used for that purpose.
And at the end of the year, the right form creation software will allow you to create financial reports that clearly show where money has come in, and where it has been used. The best part is that all of this can be done with simple online forms and workflows, without costing bookkeeping volunteers excess amounts of their time to untangle different income and spending threads.
Providing Options to Users of Community Services
Often, people with lower incomes use their phones as their sole internet access point. You can make mobile-friendly forms that make it easy for them to apply for aid or schedule a meeting with one of your service workers. Some people will still prefer paper forms, but many people will like and use the option to access community services with a few taps and clicks.
Online options for applying for aid are also easier for your volunteers to manage. There’s no paper to lose, and referring to an application that came in two weeks ago is an instant process, that doesn’t require sifting through a stack of papers. Everyone saves time, and your organization will spend less money on paper, ink, and printing costs.
The ROI Is Surprisingly Swift
The return on investment for form creation software can be swift for your community service organization. With cloud-hosted software, your online forms can be created and put to use right away, and you’ll see time and resource savings almost immediately. The right software will also allow you to create custom forms that make sense to your users. In fact, you can create online forms that look exactly like the paper forms you used to use, down to the colors, fonts, and instructions. That way, people will have an easy time switching from paper to online forms.
PerfectForms is a form creation software that lets you get right to work creating pixel-perfect, custom online forms, without having to program. You can connect your online forms into logical workflows, and include automated notifications. Meanwhile, form data can be gathered automatically, so you can find out at any time how much money is coming in, how many volunteers are helping out, and how many people your organization is serving. Then, at the end of the year, or whenever it’s time to apply to grant programs, you can produce sensible, clear reports that demonstrate how you’re using resources.
Serving the community isn’t about “all business, all the time,” but there are business tools, like online forms, that can make community service organizations run far more efficiently. We encourage you to take a look at some of our many case studies and see how PerfectForms helps businesses and organizations of all types improve efficiency, save money, and work more effectively.
We use our mobile devices as a primary gateway to online content and applications, using them to complete everyday tasks in our personal and work lives. It makes sense. Most people are rarely more than an arm’s reach from their phone or tablet, and employers know that empowering the workforce to accomplish tasks without having to sit down at a desk can enable measurable efficiency gains.
But in a world where there is an app for essentially everything, the answer to keeping the mobile workforce productive isn’t necessarily an endless stream of new apps to install. Many companies find that by incorporating mobility into their online workflows, they can keep processes customized and consistent, and avoid the need to download a new app for every little task.
When Apps Are Useful
Apps are great for one-off tasks and things that are separate and apart from normal workflows. A white noise app, for example, can be tremendously handy in a talkative workspace, yet it doesn’t need to intersect with other processes the user is engaged in. Employees who travel on business frequently may find a standalone app for finding restaurants close by to be especially useful, but it doesn’t need to interact with the other, work-related apps they use.
In other words, an app that stands alone, doesn’t require input from another work application and doesn’t send output to another work application, can be a fine addition to your employee’s toolkit. But when you create integrated workflows, you’re better off making workflows mobile-friendly rather than trying to piece together a process using third party apps.
Workflow Automation Software Can Make Some Apps Unnecessary
When you use workflow automation software to define and step people through common work processes, you can usually design them so that additional, standalone apps are unnecessary. For example, a mileage tracking workflow could incorporate an option to calculate mileage reimbursement when people use personal vehicles for work rather than requiring the employee to calculate mileage and reimbursement separately. The collection of contact information at a trade show could be folded into the workflow that feeds into your CRM system, consolidating tasks and saving time. There are countless other examples.
Build Your Own Compliance App and Empower Your Workforce
Demonstrating compliance with regulations and requirements is increasingly important, and by making your compliance workflows suitable for mobile devices, you empower your people to document compliance tasks wherever they are, so the documentation process doesn’t slip through the cracks. A field technician with an app for documenting service calls could also make use of online forms designed for compliance documentation that’s part of the overall workflow. A sales professional in the healthcare industry could, for example, have a workflow that includes a checklist for ensuring HIPAA compliance that can become part of the documentation of each and every sales call.
Create Consistency Within Your Workflow Environment
Perhaps one of the best advantages of using workflow automation software to create mobile-friendly online forms and workflows is that it allows greater consistency of experience for your workforce. Rather than having to exit the workflow, make a calculation, and re-enter the workflow, a step could be included to make the necessary calculation from within the workflow. This level of consistency takes time to develop and requires listening to feedback from workflow users as to what would make the workflow more comprehensive and convenient, but the effort pays off in terms of time and resources saved.
PerfectForms is workflow automation software that allows you to create mobile-friendly online forms and much more. The custom, pixel-perfect online forms you create can be connected into comprehensive workflows that your users can access from a desktop or a mobile environment. Workflows can be modified easily, allowing you to add functionality that can make additional downloadable apps unnecessary in many cases.
With PerfectForms, no programming is required, so workflows can be designed with end-users in mind, rather than being made so they’re convenient for programmers. We encourage you to check out some of our case studies and see how our workflow automation software is powerful and flexible enough to streamline processes across every industry, in both the desktop and the mobile work environment.
In many companies, particularly those with tight budgets, business process management (BPM) ends up being implemented a little bit here, and a little bit there, as needs arise. While there’s much to be said for automating and streamlining processes as you recognize the need, a piecemeal approach to BPM isn’t ideal.
If you have some processes that are well-defined and well-managed, that’s terrific, but if you can shift to where you manage all processes based on an underlying strategy, you can really ramp up efficiency, taking your entire organization to a new level of productivity. With the right BPM software, you can automate and manage processes throughout the organization, with a level of consistency that you simply wouldn’t get by managing business processes in fits and starts.
Does Your Organization Have an Underlying BPM Strategy?
If your organization doesn’t have a BPM strategy, why not take advantage of it being the beginning of the year to develop one? Your strategy should be based on the processes your teams use most, where bottlenecks exist, and where automation can be implemented. Unfortunately, many companies don’t develop a BPM strategy, and later try to implement process management on everything all at once. It’s better to prioritize where you want to apply your BPM strategy so that change is evident, but not overwhelming.
When you automate and streamline a process using your BPM software, you can expect improvements almost immediately once all process users are on board and know what to do. With proper design, automation, and management, a process that used to take hours could take minutes. Processes that used to take days or weeks (like approval of a technical paper) can be accomplished in a day or two using online workflows and getting rid of slow, manual, paper-oriented steps. In fact, many organizations find that once they automate one process using a BPM tool, they can suddenly see many more opportunities where the BPM tool can be put to use.
With the right BPM software and a strong BPM strategy, you can expect to see major positive changes by the end of the year. Bottlenecks may cease to exist where they used to plague your team, documentation of business processes can be done thoroughly as part of the individual workflows, and you should be able to use your BPM software to create reports showing how much more efficient and cost-effective your organization operates. In other words, you’ll probably look back and wonder how you ever got along without BPM software and a sound strategy for putting it to work.
Efficiency Metrics and Bottom Line Should Both Benefit
If you put together a BPM strategy for this year and work methodically toward implementing it, you’ll find that efficiency takes a quantum jump. This is especially true if you make online workflows mobile-friendly so people can complete processes using their mobile devices. As just one example, an online business process that allows traveling employees to easily upload JPG files of receipts and complete travel reimbursement forms on their phone or tablet can shorten the travel reimbursement process significantly while making it more accurate since everything is digital and paper forms are a thing of the past.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that BPM is just something for large enterprises. In fact, it is often the smaller business that can benefit disproportionately from having the right BPM tool. PerfectForms is BPM software with the power and flexibility to automate and streamline processes throughout your organization, from IT to facilities management to HR. You do not have to know how to program to create custom workflows that make sense for your needs.
From simple online forms to the most in-depth and complex processes, PerfectForms has you covered. Start now and you’ll look back at the end of the year at tremendous progress, and be prepared to further improve processes as needs, customers, employees, and markets evolve. You can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a free trial, so there’s no reason not to explore the possibilities of outstanding business process management.
Salons and day spas are meant to be places where people go to get away from the million and one things they have to do every day. Nobody goes to a day spa wanting to discover there has been a scheduling conflict, or they’re out of a favorite aromatherapy oil because of an ordering error.
Spa and salon owners, therefore, have to bring their “A” game every day in terms of organization and planning. That way, clients can be assured of having the getaway they booked and spa owners can be confident the business side of things is ticking along flawlessly. Custom online forms are the key to minimizing paper usage (and clutter), ensuring business processes are fast and efficient, and keeping all spa professionals in the loop seamlessly through their phones and tablets.
Mobile-Friendliness Is the Key
If your spa technicians have to visit the office or front desk each time they want to know something about schedules, commissions, or product orders, it can cause these basic tasks to take longer than they should. But when they can use their phones or tablets, they can learn instantly if their 2:00 customer has checked in, or that the skincare products they ordered are to be delivered in the afternoon. You have the power to create online forms that will do all these things and more, and you can design them to look as beautiful as your spa, even while they take on the “heavy lifting” involved with running your business.
Learn Which Services Are Earning the Most
When you create online forms using software that makes reporting easy, you can find out for certain which products and services are your biggest moneymakers. You can also easily learn if you offer services that are never booked, and explore whether to keep them on your menu of services. Reporting tools for online forms can also be organized in countless ways: by the date range, by the time of day, by the spa technician, or by phone vs. online bookings, for example. Best of all, you won’t have to demand time from your technicians, or overload your office manager in order to get these informative reports.
Calculate Commissions with Unimpeachable Accuracy
If your spa technicians work on a commission basis, the right software will help you create online forms that calculate commissions with no confusion, no errors, and no hand-written paper receipts to cope with. And, if there is ever a question about a commission, reviewing the process that calculated it as well as the figures used in calculation is easy.
You’ll really appreciate this use of online forms at year’s end when preparing tax information for your employees or contractors. Upon finishing with a client, technicians can check off which services were delivered at what cost, and with which products, and move on to the next client knowing their commission will be calculated automatically and perfectly.
Schedule Appointments Quickly and Easily
Whether you have a scheduling clerk or have individual technicians create their own appointment schedules, online forms are the way to go. They can be made to automatically check for conflicts and send out confirmations or reminders. You will have fewer no-shows and less unexpected downtime. Imagine your technician, upon collecting payment from a customer, being able to make a few taps on their tablet and schedule the customer’s next appointment, automatically sending that customer an email confirming that appointment, along with a link they can click if they find they need to reschedule it.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have the skills to create online forms that do all this, worry no longer. PerfectForms is flexible, powerful online forms software that requires no programming for the creation of fully customized, pixel-perfect forms. What’s more, PerfectForms is mobile-friendly, so technicians can complete forms quickly, on their own phones and tablets if they want. Reporting is easy, so you can learn who and what your top earners are, and gain information that will help you take your business in the right direction as it grows.
Watch our PerfectForms demo video and see how easy it can be to create custom forms and workflows that will make running your salon or day spa efficient and accurate. You’re sure to be inspired with many great ideas of how you can put online forms to work for your business.
One of the scariest words a business owner (or taxpayer) can hear is “audit.” This in-depth examination of business operations or accounting practices makes clear whether or not you have followed proper procedures, whether you have documented what you’re supposed to have, and whether the claims you make are backed up with proof.
So why would you want to conduct a self-audit of your business? Wouldn’t that be akin to self-torture? The truth is, periodic self-auditing not only keeps your business running on track, it can also sniff out possible internal fraud and can make life much easier if you later audited by an outside agency. Business Process Management, or BPM software, is the key to straightforward, successful self-auditing, and to preparing your company in case an outside audit should occur.
What the Right BPM Tool Can Do
Your BPM software not only helps you ensure that business processes are consistent and thorough, it can create documents to that effect. Moreover, it can be made to do so automatically so at any time you want to learn whether, for example, invoice handling is consistently being carried out properly you can do so. Your IT chief can do a random spot-audit on a piece of software and ensure that the software license is up to date (and remedy the situation if it isn’t). Business processes that are subject to industry or government regulations can be designed to document all necessary steps, so if you have to prove you complied with the regulations you can do so easily.
Processes That Are Good Candidates for Self-Auditing
Building auditing functions into processes like taking inventory can help you keep stock levels optimized, and documenting approval cycles can ensure that annual reports have gone through all the proper channels before being published. Whenever you purchase a new software license or subscription to cloud-hosted software, you can build in notifications that automatically email relevant personnel when the license or subscription is a month away from expiring.
You could even save and organize business travel receipts so that matching travel reimbursements to claims is always accurate and has associated documentation to back it up. The right BPM tool additionally allows you to build audit capabilities into things like lead nurturing so your sales team is confident all leads are followed up on faithfully, and no potential customers slip through the cracks.
When a True Outside Audit Happens
Should you eventually find your business being audited by an outside agency, such as a regulatory agency, a software company, or a governmental entity, you’ll thank yourself for having built self-auditing into your overall business process management. In these cases, gathering documentation can be quick and easy rather than frightening and prolonged. Ideally, your BPM software will have led you to correct problems in processes as they occur, so outside audits will have trouble finding fault with your business practices. And finally, the auditors themselves will have an easier time of it if your business engages in self-auditing than if they’re confronted with an accordion folder full of receipts and sticky notes, and this should work in your favor too.
If you think about it, using BPM software to audit your own processes makes sense on several levels. It can help you get a handle on irregularities promptly, so you can fix them and prevent errors from propagating throughout the system. Managers and department heads will have far less worry about what they’ll do in the event of an outside audit and you can be confident that your business is running efficiently and in compliance with your own and others’ requirements.
PerfectForms is the BPM workflow software tool your company has waited for. It has the power, flexibility, scalability, and customization capability you need whether you run a law firm, café, or auto parts manufacturer. No programming skills are required to create sleek, sophisticated processes that keep everyone on track and everyone on the same page. Best of all, you can test drive PerfectForms for free with a free trial. See for yourself how much easier it can be to ensure all your business processes fulfill requirements and provide the documentation you need to prove it.
There are some industries in which tight workflow control is a necessity rather than a luxury. Biotech is one of those industries. Because pharmaceuticals and biotech so directly affect people’s lives and life quality, extensive checks and balances are built into the systems involved in bringing new products to market and ensuring those who require the products have them on time and in sufficient quantity.
The right workflow tools can make or break a biotech enterprise, and these tools are as necessary for the departments supporting clinical research as they are for the departments in charge of testing and evaluating products. Workflow automation software in the biotech industry improves compliance with regulations, reduces error rates, and ensures maximum efficiency.
Workflow Tools for Compliance
Few industries must comply with as many governmental and professional regulations as biotech, and workflow tools designed to ensure and document compliance at every step are a critical necessity. Likewise, those responsible for the administrative responsibilities at biotech organizations must have their own checks and balances to ensure that regulation compliance never falls through the cracks. With workflow automation software in use across a biotech organization, more fail-safes are built into everyday processes so that falling out of compliance with regulations is far less likely to happen. And when it does happen, it can be recognized and corrected without delay.
How Accuracy Is Improved by Workflow Tools
Accuracy is important in every business, but in biotech, this goes double. Making a mistake on tax withholding can result in a financial penalty from the Internal Revenue Service, but a mistake in a workflow involved in the development of a new drug can result in actual harm to people. Automated workflows can help improve accuracy significantly over processes that are based on paper and manual hand-offs. A protocol for an experiment that is handwritten in a notebook can be smudged or damaged, resulting in misunderstandings, but a protocol created with automated workflow software runs far fewer risks.
Workflow Automation Software and Efficiency
As in every industry, biotech depends on efficiency as a competitive differentiator. With all the expenses involved in bringing biotech products to market, maintaining process efficiency can mean the difference between thriving and going out of business. With workflow tools, everyone from lead scientists to building managers to those handle shipping and receiving can maximize efficiency and focus more attention and energy on the core business mission.
Workflow automation can do everything from making employee check-in at the parking garage faster, to setting up new employees in their workstations quicker, to providing instant notifications to HVAC personnel when tightly-controlled laboratory environments experience climate control issues.
And when it comes to documenting regulation compliance, automated workflow software simply is a necessity. Steps can be documented and signed off on electronically, and retrieving this documentation is instant and accurate. Should a compliance audit happen, workflow automation software can reduce stress significantly by allowing compliance officers to quickly retrieve and report on information that demonstrates that all regulations have been complied with.
PerfectForms is workflow management software that’s flexible enough to be used across all departments, and across all industries. An intuitive, drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create electronic forms and workflows, with built-in checks and balances, automatic notifications of relevant parties, and documentation of compliance at every step. Your receptionist can issue visitor badges quickly and know exactly who received them. Administrative professionals can ensure that no signatures are missing from critical documents, and scientists can create workflows that ensure accuracy and efficiency.
Best of all, you can try out PerfectForms for free! Whether you’re in biotech, beauty products, automotive technology, or agriculture, you’ll discover countless ways to make work processes faster, more accurate, more compliant, and far easier to document.
A company’s so-called “external customer” is the person or company that purchases goods or services. But did you know your company is made up of internal customers as well? These are the people who depend on others so they can carry out their work. For example, procurement depends upon a smoothly running approval process to be able to procure the things they (and their customers) need. The administrative assistant can’t type up the memo or letter from the executive until he or she dictates it or presents a draft to work with.
Customer service representatives can’t keep external customers optimally satisfied if they have trouble getting approval for a price override or a refund. All these “internal customer” relationships affect workplace morale and motivation, and they have an enormous effect on how a company is perceived by external customers.
Why Serving the Internal Customer Is Critical
Making sure that your company’s internal customers are consistently served well is critical because it affects almost every aspect of business, including how employees get along with each other, how well departments communicate, and how motivated customer service team members are to take care of external customers. An attitude of “not my problem” can propagate throughout an organization and lead to apathy and low morale. But when people take seriously their obligations to co-workers, other departments, and anyone who depends on their work, s positive approach can propagate throughout just as easily. And there’s little argument that a positive workforce makes for a positive experience for the external customer.
Create Service Standards for Internal Customers
Just as you have standards you expect to meet in relation to external customers, so should you have reasonable expectations for meeting the needs of internal customers. It’s not unreasonable, for example, to expect a fast turnaround time for delivery of marketing material to a potential customer. Nor is it unreasonable to expect the packaging process to be completed within a reasonable amount of time so products can be shipped promptly. Defining what is “reasonable” for internal customer standards takes time, but the end results are well worth the time investment. When employees know their fellow team members are doing their best to uphold service standards, they can all proceed more confidently.
Remember the Importance of Training
Simply saying you want “faster turnaround” from shipping or billing isn’t sufficient. Expectations need to be clearly defined. And once these standards are defined, it’s absolutely essential to develop appropriate training to help team members meet the expectations placed on them. Again, this requires an investment of time up front, but the results are worth it. Training may involve teaching team members how their work interacts with the work of other departments, or training them to use software skillfully, or training them to follow-up so they can be confident a workflow carries on as expected after it is out their hands.
The Right Workflow Automation Software Is Necessary
Workflow automation software can make all the difference when it comes to serving both the internal customer and the external customer. Use of a powerful, flexible workflow designer means that customer service reps can care for external customers proficiently, while departments within your organization can do their work efficiently and take care of their internal customers with expertise.
Overhauling manual, paper-based workflows is one of the most important steps an organization can take in serving both internal and external customers well. Not only does record keeping become easier and faster, error rates drop and retrieving information about completed processes is fast, no longer requiring a search through folders stored in a filing cabinet.
PerfectForms is workflow automation software that turns your process users into workflow designers. PerfectForms’ intuitive user interface and the fact that it doesn’t require programming mean that the people who actually use workflows on a regular basis can design them to meet their exact needs.
Once you automate that first clunky, paper-based process with electronic survey forms, you’ll instantly see countless ways to apply workflow automation software to the processes that go on in your business every day. We invite you to read over some of our case studies and see just how much flexibility and power PerfectForms brings to businesses in a huge range of industries.