4 Ways Great Workflow Management Improves Team Performance

Friday, September 6th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Inefficiency can cost businesses a significant chunk of their yearly revenues.

Shocked businessman

The amount of money lost to inefficiency can be surprising!

Individual inefficiencies spread across teams and departments add up, yet many companies continue to plow ahead, doing things as they’ve always done. Good workflow management can eliminate many inefficiencies, whether they’re adopted on the individual, team, or departmental level, or are integrated throughout an organization. 

Companies that have considered using workflow software, but that are afraid of the upheaval of implementing it should take note of the many ways that automated workflows can improve team performance. These improvements add up rapidly and can be reflected in quick and impressive workflow software ROI. Here are four ways workflow management improves team performance.

1. By Automating Manual Steps

Paper forms and their management are terribly inefficient. Not only can paper forms be lost or damaged, but they can also present problems like illegible handwriting. And they can easily be buried under other work, causing unnecessary delays in workflows. 

Online forms that are automatically routed to the correct recipient at every step do away with all these problems and can even feed form data directly into spreadsheets or databases. Online forms also do away with endless status phone calls and emails, further saving time.

2. By Creating Automatic Checks and Balances

If someone turns in a purchase order form on paper with a number that doesn’t make sense or is out of range, it may go unnoticed for days. But with workflow software, an online purchase order form can instantly flag an out-of-range number so it can be corrected then and there. 

Other types of checks and balances can be added to improve workflow management further. Errors like text in a numerical form field or forms that are incomplete can trigger pop-up error messages so that mistakes are corrected immediately and don’t affect further workflow steps.

Woman drinking coffee and reading a book

Built-in checks and balances mean errors can be corrected right away.

3. By Consolidating Team and Project Documentation

Workflow management that collects all team or project documentation in a central location can improve team performance significantly. Reference documents, process instructions, customer or client information, and more can be stored centrally so that all workflow users can access it at any time. 

Rather than trying to find a local computer file or a paper document, workflow users can access documents through the workflow itself, saving time and minimizing errors. As a result, team performance improves.

4. By Enabling Data-Driven Decision Making

Online forms and workflows make data collection easy. Data from forms and workflows can be automatically entered into databases, spreadsheets, or other office systems like Salesforce CRM. 

If the workflow software includes reporting capabilities, collected data can be used to spot trends, monitor performance, and generally help teams make more informed decisions. Data-driven decision making is becoming more important in businesses of every kind, and the right workflow software makes it easy to do.

PerfectForms is workflow software that makes workflow management easy. No programming is required, so workflow users themselves can design workflows that accomplish exactly what they want without help from IT. PerfectForms makes the creation of customized online forms simple, and these forms can be connected into powerful workflows that make the most of team resources. Teams can do away with manual processes, input checks and balances that prevent errors, and automatically collect data to drive better decisions down the line.

We encourage you to browse through the many PerfectForms case studies to see how businesses and organizations have dramatically improved their performance. And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time

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What Makes an Online Form Perfect?

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

The online form that is perfect for your needs depends heavily on context. 

Woman using a smartphone

Knowing your form users is the first step to designing the
perfect online form. 

Additionally, what is perfect today may be less so tomorrow due to the rapid pace of innovation and technology advancement. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get it right! With the right form software and knowledge about attitudes toward forms, you can create online forms that perfectly meet your needs while delighting form users. 

And it is with your users that you should start when designing online forms. After all, if users don’t want to complete your form, it benefits no one. Make sure the first step in any form initiative is learning about who will be using it. Once you know that, you can make the most of the following qualities that make online forms outstanding.

A Perfect Form Looks Great on Any Device

These days, you can’t assume that form users are in a desktop environment with a full keyboard. Customer-facing forms often reach people who are using mobile devices. And an increasing number of employee-facing forms are used by workers with mobile devices. For example, field technicians need to be able to see forms clearly on the mobile devices they use in the field. 

Great-looking forms are uncluttered and use readable fonts. Form field labels are readable and unambiguous, so users know which information goes in which fields. Branding touches, like logos and colors, may be evident, but they shouldn’t overwhelm what appears on the screen.

It Is Also Brief

When you create online forms, it’s natural to want to collect as much information as possible. But form users don’t see it that way. They see a form and subconsciously judge whether filling it out is worth their time. Therefore, it’s essential to keep online forms as brief as possible while collecting the key information you require. A landing page form, request form, or even an application form will turn users off it looks like it will take too long to complete. 

Frustrated man

Nobody wants to input their life story just to access
a complimentary white paper.

It’s Mobile-Friendly

In today’s world, you can’t take for granted that people will use your form with the benefit of a big screen and a full-sized keyboard. Taking a mobile-friendly approach is best because it also helps you ensure your forms aren’t overly long. 

Mobile-friendliness is also about more than just how a form looks on a small screen. It is about minimizing the amount of typing required of users. You can reduce typing with radio buttons, checklists, and drop-down menus. And you can also store previously entered information so that filling out a form a second or subsequent time auto-fills blanks that the user has completed before. 

It Acknowledges Form Submission

We have all had the experience of completing and submitting an online form only to have nothing happen or be taken to a new screen with no indication of what happened to our form. People need closure. They need to know that once they click on “Submit,” their completed form has gone where it’s supposed to go. 

A simple pop-up “thank you” notification or automatic navigation to a “thank you” screen reassures users that their efforts in completing an online form were not wasted and that the form has been sent on its way successfully. 

The “perfect” online form is highly context-dependent. Designing it requires that you understand the people who will be using it. Are they busy moms carrying a toddler and a phone simultaneously? Are they field technicians submitting important jobsite information? Are they shoppers relaxing at the end of the day?

Know your form users, and you can design online forms that suit both their needs and yours. PerfectForms is online form software that makes it easy to create fully customized online forms with no programming required. Take a look at the PerfectForms demo video for inspiration, and if you have questions, please contact us at any time

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Online Forms and Workflows Help Small Businesses Manage Innovation

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Innovation has gone from being a “nice extra” for businesses to being essential for success. 

Innovation light bulbs

Innovation is for every company, not just tech companies and startups.

Competition is fierce, and businesses increasingly set themselves apart through innovation of products, processes, and business models. Rather than pursuing one big idea that will change everything, however, businesses must incorporate innovation into their everyday operations and their corporate culture.

Moreover, businesses must have a process for gathering, evaluating, prioritizing and developing ideas, so that the real winners make it through to prototyping, pilot testing, and ideally to general use. Online forms and automated workflows can make such a process reality.

Forms and Workflows for Gathering Ideas

Does anyone still think that a locked suggestion box with a slot on the top is a good way of inspiring great ideas? To really pursue innovation, companies need a way to collect ideas as a general practice, and in the service of defined innovation initiatives. Online forms are ideal for this. 

Suppose you want to kick off an innovation initiative to develop a new product to add to your product line. The starting point, or the “wide part of the funnel” in this initiative can be an online form where people can describe their product ideas. Completed online forms can be automatically sent to designated decision-makers whose role is to determine which ideas are worth pursuing.

Workflows Can Help Evaluate and Prioritize Ideas

If your innovation initiative has sparked several good ideas, the next step is to evaluate them more thoroughly. Generally, it’s best to have a small team go through ideas individually, flagging their favorites, and putting them into priority order. With an automated workflow that each team member can access, this can be done efficiently.

Busy brick office

Automated workflows make the process of evaluating and prioritizing
innovative ideas fast and efficient.

After each team member has evaluated and ranked ideas, the team can meet to discuss their choices and come to a consensus about which two or three ideas are best for further development. With an automated workflow, this doesn’t have to involve pen and paper or endless phone calls and emails.

Surveys, Workflows Help Select Innovations to Pursue

Perhaps, once your evaluation team has chosen a “Top 3” list of innovations to pursue, you want to put it to a vote among all employees. If your online form software allows for creation of surveys, this can be done with outstanding efficiency and effectiveness. The completed survey forms can send data to a spreadsheet or database so that votes are easy to tabulate without any manual data entry. Choosing the winning idea is fast and fair.

The right workflow software is the key to being able to implement an innovation program that works. Not only can you create a general innovation workflow to replace the old-fashioned suggestion boxes, you can create specialized workflows to go along with more targeted innovation initiatives.

PerfectForms is workflow software that makes it easy to create online forms, surveys, and automated workflows that eliminate a lot of the drudgery involved in sifting through a mountain of ideas. Workflows for evaluation can be limited to authorized users, while innovation suggestion forms and surveys can be open to all participants. Gathering data and making sense of it is easy with PerfectForms, due to its powerful reporting capabilities. 

You can test drive PerfectForms by signing up for a trial and see for yourself how easy it is to create fully customized online forms and automated workflows. Innovation is fast becoming mandatory for business success and having the right tools to manage innovation is essential. PerfectForms has the power, flexibility, and scalability you need. If you have any questions about PerfectForms, we encourage you to contact us at any time. 

Workflows Help You Manage 3 Critical Elements of Business Reputation

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

The reputation of your business is an extremely valuable business asset.

Mechanic with customer

Online reviews and ratings have made business reputation
more important than ever. 

While it isn’t tangible, or something you could liquidate to raise cash, nonetheless, reputation is essential to sustained success today. In fact, reputation is a key differentiator in a world where consumers have more choices than ever. Reputation also affects the quality of employees you’re able to recruit and retain.

Developing a strong business reputation and maintaining it requires sustained effort. Some aspects of reputation management for businesses can’t be automated, but you might be surprised at how many aspects can be. For this you’ll need the right attitude, commitment, and tools. Here are three critical elements of business reputation that you can manage better with the right workflow management.

1. Customer Service

People want a consistent, positive experience when they interact with your customer service team. Developing customer service workflows for your customer service team can help tremendously. When your team knows exactly what to do in every type of customer service interaction, you can be confident of consistent, effective help for customers.

Automated workflows for customer service tasks can help keep interactions on track and productive. A customer service rep who knows exactly which workflow (or branch of a workflow) to access in a given interaction is able to help people more quickly, diffusing any hard feelings and solving problems. This requires not only that you have comprehensive automated workflows, but that you take time to train reps on how to use them. 

2. Accuracy of Online Business Listings

You might be surprised to learn how important the accuracy of your online business listings are. Many businesses take full advantage of Google business listings because they help people discover their business and learn key facts like operating hours, phone numbers, and even parking situations – all at a glance. A complete, accurate, up-to-date business listing helps your website perform better when people use search engines.

Google my business icon

Keeping business listings accurate at all times helps your
website appear in more search results.

But inaccurate business listings can harm your search engine success. That’s because Google regularly checks that the information on your business listings and your website match perfectly. When they don’t, they may penalize your business in searches. An automated workflow that kicks off the same day of every month, for example, can step the user through the process of comparing business listings and website listings to ensure they are as accurate, complete, and up to date as possible. 

3. Distribution and Analysis of Customer Surveys

One classic method of improving customer service is through customer surveys. Asking customers for feedback, analyzing that feedback to produce insights, and then addressing those insights helps you meet customer needs better. Automated workflows, complete with beautifully designed, mobile friendly survey forms reach consumers where they’re at and help you gather, analyze, and act on the data you collect. 

The right workflow software will help you not only create the survey forms that encourage customer interaction, but also helps you collect, analyze, and report on the survey data. As a result, you can respond to customer sentiment much faster than you ever could through surveys managed without automated workflows. 

Great workflow management requires great workflow software, whether you’re striving to improve customer service or automating various back office processes. PerfectForms offers you the level of flexibility, scalability, and power you need to automate business processes that improve your business reputation. You can create customer service workflows, monitor and manage online business listings and website information, and create surveys that help you understand your customers better. 

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video so you can see PerfectForms in action and discover just how easy it is to use – whether for customer service processes or other business processes. And should you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time

4 Strategies That Maximize Productivity Gains for Automated Workflows

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

There is no question that automated workflows help organizations make the most of their resources.

Busy office

Automated workflows help people accomplish more and spend less time on manual tasks. 

But it’s possible for workflow automation initiatives to get lackluster results. One study of local councils in the UK found some benefits from workflow automation, but it also found that only about one-fifth of local councils have future plans for investing further in automated workflows. 

Many factors affect how successful workflow automation projects are, and some factors are more malleable and controllable than others. Many of the UK councils, for example, are grappling with slashed budgets, and this certainly puts a damper on workflow automation. But in any organization where automated workflows are being implemented, four workflow strategies can help ensure that maximum productivity gains are realized. 

1. Gain Buy-In from Leadership

Only when all personnel see the value of improving efficiency and the potential gains and ROI of workflow automation can a successful automation project ensue. C-level executives, department leaders, and on down through front-line workers must all understand the value of automation. They should also commit to the up-front costs (in time and resources) that will allow the organization to benefit over the long term.

2. Build Awareness of Workflow Automation Initiatives

Buy-in is necessary, but so is communication. Everyone must understand that workflow automation projects will take place, what the expected time frames are, and the expected benefits. People tend to fear what they don’t understand, and if they don’t understand workflow automation, they’re unlikely to have any enthusiasm about it. Building awareness and communicating plans with maximum transparency are ways to build support and readiness for when the projects commence.

3. Prioritize and Order Processes to Be Automate

List

The hardest part about a workflow automation initiative may be
deciding what to tackle first.

Trying to automate everything at once is usually a bad idea. Rather, organizations should prioritize efforts and choose an initial workflow automation project that is doable, and that will demonstrate positive results right away. Each successful workflow automation initiative keeps momentum going for further initiatives. Start too big and the workforce may be overwhelmed. Start too small, and everyone may wonder what all the fuss is about.

4. Train Workflow Users

Finally, providing training to workflow users is essential. Sure, automated workflows should make logical sense, and they should be easy to understand. But providing hands-on training helps build confidence in workflow users and also informs them of how to handle inevitable hiccups in the automation process. Don’t be tempted to skimp on workflow training. Like automation itself, training is an up-front investment that yields benefits that only get better over time.

Workflow automation can transform a nearly endless variety of business processes from awkward, needlessly bureaucratic activities to sleek workflows that do away with paper and endless status phone calls and move data to where it needs to be instantly. It requires a change in thinking, and it may require convincing people who are skeptical. 

When leadership buy-in, employee awareness, a good prioritization plan, and a strong training program are part of the initiative, workflow automation can transform processes. They can also increase efficiency and productivity, and inspire new ideas for automated workflows.

PerfectForms is workflow automation software that is flexible, powerful, scalable, and that requires no coding, so you won’t have to hire a programmer. It can be used to automate the simplest to the most complex work processes, allowing businesses of all sizes and in all industries to streamline, automate, and increase efficiency and productivity. Did you know you can test drive PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial? Why not see for yourself how easy workflow automation can be? And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time.

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BPM: Why You Can’t ‘Set It and Forget It’

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Business Process Management (BPM) is a broad term that encompasses the many ways we automate and manage business processes to make them as efficient as possible.

Business performance chalkboard

BPM aims at optimizing the processes that make businesses run.

But sometimes BPM initiatives fall short. There can be many reasons for this. Perhaps the BPM project was driven more by intuition than by hard data. Or maybe the people who operate the processes haven’t been sufficiently trained. 

Sometimes BPM initiatives fail to deliver over the long term because they have been established, launched, and never revisited. BPM is a discipline and, in some organizations, requires changes to the very culture of the workplace. Like most disciplines, BPM approaches requires revisiting, refining, and relearning so that a pattern of continuous improvement emerges. 

Continuous Improvement Requires Periodic Re-Evaluation

To make sure you’re getting the most from your BPM initiative, you must collect data from the processes it includes and evaluate that data on a regular basis. Have completion times kept up with expectations? Have new bottlenecks shown up? Have new people been brought in without sufficient training?

Just as you have to check the oil and tires and do regular maintenance on your car if you want it to serve you well over the years, so must you “maintain” your BPM initiatives. Otherwise they can slow down or even break down completely. 

Use Data Plus Human Knowledge to Improve BPM

BPM is data driven. That means that if you expect a tweak to the process to improve efficiency and instead find out that it hinders efficiency, you must rethink the tweak and figure out why it isn’t working as expected. 

Question mark

Data may drive BPM, but humans figure out how to make it better. 

Human knowledge is valuable in BPM, because people experienced in the processes that make up BPM know a thing or two. Not all of that knowledge is captured in the data collected by your BPM software. But just as you can’t solely rely on numbers, you can’t solely rely on hunches to drive BPM. 

Actual humans may carry out many of the steps in a process, and there are many times when improving a process does not involve changing or upgrading technology. Improving a process could require a decidedly low-tech solution such as moving two collaborating departments physically closer together in the workspace, for example.

Your BPM Software Should Have Your Back

The right BPM software makes all the difference. In addition to being flexible, scalable, and powerful, it should allow you to collect the data necessary to make meaningful decisions about how to continuously improve processes. It should include data such as completion times (collected from process beginning and ending times), rates of production, and return on investment. And it should do so without your team having to manually enter metrics.

Likewise, your BPM software should have strong reporting features that allow you to take the data your processes collect, manage it, and make reports that deliver insights into what works well and where there is room for improvement. 

PerfectForms powers business processes using a no-code interface. It is flexible, powerful, and scalable so that businesses can create processes that are custom tailored for their needs. PerfectForms also makes it easy to gather data from processes so you can evaluate them and engage in continuous improvement. Finally, PerfectForms has outstanding reporting capabilities that turn data into actionable insights. Data across multiple workflows can be summarized in a single report, giving you full visibility into how your processes work. 

Watch the PerfectForms demo video to see how it transforms clunky, inefficient manual processes into sleek, automated workflows that capture data and facilitate continuous improvement. And if you have any questions about PerfectForms, we encourage you to contact us at any time.  

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Workflow Software Helps You Accelerate Recruiting and Hiring

Thursday, August 15th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Automated workflows and new employee recruiting go together naturally. 

Career fair

Whether you use job fairs or headhunters, the right workflows
accelerate the hiring process.

The hiring process has a lot of moving parts, but strong workflow management can make sure all the parts work as they should while reducing errors and making the process as efficient as it can be. Other benefits of using automated workflows in the hiring process include reduction of paperwork, reduction of status phone calls and emails, time savings, and transparency. 

Here are several types of recruiting workflows that can make the hiring process far less painful.

Workflows for Candidate Sourcing

Candidate sourcing begins with creation of an accurate job description. Different companies source job candidates differently, and different types of roles within the same company may be sourced in different ways. 

However a company decides to source candidates for a particular position, the right workflow software makes it easy to create a standardized workflow to ensure that ads are placed in all relevant publications, or that all relevant recruiting agencies and websites know about your open position. Such a workflow can be great for reducing duplication of effort.

Workflows for Shortlisting Candidates

How the hiring team creates a shortlist of candidates will also be particular to the company and to the role. Creating a standardized, automated workflow that allows hiring team members to score candidates helps ensure every team member’s voice is heard, and that no candidate is overlooked. When a workflow is used for scoring and shortlisting candidates, it’s easier to ensure that personal bias doesn’t creep into the hiring process.

Workflows for Coordinating Interviews

Coordinating interviews for candidates on your shortlist is a task that is well-suited for automated workflows. Whether the interviews will be in person or via video conference, having a workflow for scheduling interviews, knowing which questions to ask, scoring interviews, and moving on to the next candidate are helpful. 

Job interview

Coordinating job interviews helps ensure the right people are
there to meet and talk to job candidates.

With the right workflow, any hiring team member at any time can check on whether a candidate interview has been scheduled, can prepare for interviews, and can share feedback on interviews. It’s a great way to ensure that all hiring team members stay on the same page at all times.

Workflows for Making and Closing Offers

Likewise, a workflow for creating job offer letters, calculating compensation offered, and tracking the status of offers made can save valuable time and duplication of effort. If an offer is turned down, this can be recorded in the workflow for later reference. Once an offer has been made and accepted, the workflow can prompt further actions, such as scheduling the new hire’s first day of work.

Workflows for New Employee Onboarding

New employee onboarding is an essential part of the hiring process. How onboarding is handled has a major effect on how likely the new employee is to stay with the company. Automated workflows ensure that no steps are left out, and they can even lighten the new employee’s burden by making online forms easy to fill out with autocomplete, and auto-population of form fields.

Whether or not you create automated workflows for recruiting and hiring, you should create a workflow for onboarding because of the many benefits such a workflow offers to your new employee and your HR team.

Creating customized recruiting and hiring workflows requires great workflow software. PerfectForms fits the bill. With PerfectForms, no coding is required, and you can create your own forms and workflows from scratch or use the included templates. PerfectForms also integrates easily with spreadsheets and databases, so data can be collected and stored easily. And it offers powerful reporting features so you can make sense of your data and gather valuable insights. 

We invite you to watch the PerfectForms demo video to see it in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time. 

Workflow Automation is the Answer to These 4 Questions

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Many people believe that workflow automation is something that’s only available to big enterprises. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Women interior designers

Workflow automation may disproportionately benefit smaller businesses.

Also true is that smaller businesses can benefit disproportionately from workflow automation. They can do things more efficiently and reduce error rates while maintaining the agility possessed by smaller enterprises. 

Today’s no-code workflow software is accessible to businesses of all sizes and all types. It allows companies to automate processes without hiring a programmer, and quickly start enjoying the benefits of workflow automation. Workflow automation is the answer to several common business questions, including these four.

1. How Can We Reduce Error Rates?

If a number needs to end up in a spreadsheet or a database, how does it get there? Does someone copy it from a catalog, or have a worker who knows the number write it down? If so, it’s easy to see how errors can enter the process. 

Workflow automation uses workflow software to prevent these problems. Numbers entered into a workflow can be checked for accuracy before being sent to a spreadsheet, database, or other processing system. The same is true for numbers scanned using a barcode or QR scanner. 

Standard business forms that are online rather than on paper do away with errors introduced due to bad penmanship, lost, or damaged forms. Workflow automation is perhaps the best single solution for reducing error rates.

2. How Can We Overcome the Limitations of Spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets are wonderful, flexible tools. But when they are shared, how do you account for changes to them? It’s not easy to ensure that everyone is working from the same version of a spreadsheet at all times, but workflow automation can help. 

Man appearing confused while looking at his laptop screen

Shared spreadsheets can cause problems if not managed properly.

Rather than entering data into a spreadsheet, users can enter the data into an automated workflow, which updates the spreadsheet while recording every input. That way it’s easy to learn if numbers have been changed, and if so, by whom. Workflow automation makes spreadsheets far more useful and accurate.

3. How Can We Get Invoices Out the Door Sooner?

Invoices that are late being sent out affect cash flow, so it’s crucial that companies send them out promptly. An automated workflow for creation and distribution of invoices can ensure that invoices go out on time, every time. 

Multiple users can enter invoice data into a workflow, and the workflow uses the data to automatically create and distribute invoices. Invoices that cannot be sent out electronically can be sent to a printer automatically, and the person(s) responsible for mailing them can be notified automatically when they are ready to go. The result is a faster invoicing process, better accounts receivable processes, and better cash flow.

4. How Can We Get Status Updates to Managers More Easily?

Project managers naturally want to know the status of the projects they oversee. But phoning or emailing project workers to find out status can waste a lot of time. Project management workflows eliminate that wasted time. 

With a project management workflow, project workers can work within the workflow, and provisions can be made to automatically update project managers when milestones have been reached, or when other specific tasks have been accomplished. Automated workflows also allow authorized workflow users to check on project status at any time, with no phone calls or emails necessary.

Workflow automation isn’t just for big business. And today’s no-code workflow software means that workflow users can design their own workflows to meet their needs exactly. PerfectForms is workflow software that requires no programming. It allows users to drag and drop form and workflow elements into place, and easily test and modify workflows before they’re deployed.

PerfectForms encourages you to browse our many case studies to see the results of workflow automation in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

7 Challenges Facilities Managers Face and How Automated Workflows Help

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Facilities management goes beyond the tasks traditionally associated with building management.

Engineering hands

Today’s facilities managers need a broad skill set, along with
technology tools that help them fulfill their many responsibilities.

Today’s facilities manager has to ensure the comfort, safety, and functionality of the buildings in which people work. The discipline integrates people, spaces, processes, and technologies with the structural environment. It’s a big job, and facilities managers must be organized and thorough. They must also keep meticulous records.

Automated workflows can help tremendously with many facilities management tasks, as well as the recordkeeping that goes along with them. Here are seven examples.

1. Maintenance Schedules

Automated workflows for scheduled facilities maintenance can be triggered automatically by dates on the calendar. They can also automatically send out alerts a few days in advance so that facilities staff will be prepared. Automated workflows for scheduled maintenance ensure that no maintenance task is forgotten, and the building will remain as safe and functional as possible.

2. Task Checklists

The people working for a facilities manager must ensure they complete their many and varied tasks completely and without mistakes. Workflows for task checklists can be sent to workers’ mobile devices, so that when they are carrying out a repair or maintenance task, they do it to specifications, without skipping any steps. As a result, fewer tasks have to be redone. 

3. Tracking Supplies and Equipment

If a worker needs, for example, a hand truck for half the day, a simple online form can allow them to reserve it, and perhaps scan a barcode when they pick it up and when they return it. Facilities management requires knowing where tools and equipment are at all times, so they can be allocated quickly and effectively. 

4. Managing Smart Building Technologies

“Smart” buildings are becoming more common, and though these buildings take care of many tasks (like turning lights off and on, and setting thermostats) automatically, the systems themselves require managing and maintenance. What’s more, the data from these systems can be used by facilities managers to do their job better. Automated workflows for collecting temperature or utility bill data, for example, can make data collection and reporting easier.

Smart building app

Automated workflows can help facilities managers make the most of their “smart building” technology.

5. Emergency Preparedness

Every facility should have an emergency response plan for protecting employees, visitors, contractors, and others in the facility. Developing emergency procedures in advance, along with automated workflows to initiate when an emergency occurs, can ensure that even under stress, all necessary tasks are taken care of. When these workflows are mobile-friendly, it makes it even easier for facilities managers to act decisively in the event of an emergency.

6. Sustainability

More businesses are encouraging sustainable practices and environmentally responsible employee actions. A facilities manager could create an automated workflow that allows workers to, for example, collect recyclables from every collection point in the facility and deliver them to the loading dock on the days when recyclables are collected.

7. Recordkeeping

Automated workflows can be designed to keep records automatically. A completed maintenance task checklist could automatically create a date and time stamp and record the information so the manager can check at any time whether a task was completed. These records can show when planned maintenance tasks took place, who checked out equipment, and more. 

Workflow software is the key to empowering facilities managers with the tools they need to ensure the many tasks involved in facilities management are carried out completely and without errors. PerfectForms is flexible, powerful, scalable workflow software that requires no programming, so facilities managers and their team can have significant input into how the workflows are designed. 

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video and see how automated workflows streamline tasks across all departments. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

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Is Your Automated Workflow Ready for Prime Time? Here’s How to Tell.

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Workflows are standardized series of steps designed to accomplish a specified process or task. 

Hands drawing a flowchart

Automated workflows may have their roots in sketches or diagrams made by process users.

All steps in a workflow may run consecutively, or some series of steps may run in parallel for more complex processes. Automated workflows take as much of the manual processing out of tasks as possible. For example, a series of paper forms may be replaced by a linked series of online forms. 

Automation can significantly boost the efficiency of a process while reducing error rates, so businesses often turn to automated workflows to sharpen their competitive edge and increase productivity. But rare is the situation where you can just create an automated workflow and immediately have everyone start using it. 

In almost every situation, you have to thoroughly test automated workflows before “going live” with them. Otherwise, you risk the chaos of unforeseen problems and the time investment in fixing the problems and fixing the workflow. Here’s how to ensure your automated workflow is ready to be deployed.

Testing by the Workflow Creator or Workflow Team

With the right workflow software, programming is not required. This means that the people who actually use the workflow can have more input into workflow design. A single individual may be able to create a simple workflow. More complex ones, however, typically require a small team to develop and automate the workflow.

The workflow creator or team should test the automated workflow under a range of conditions – including erroneous conditions – to see what happens. What happens when someone enters text into a form field that requires a number? What happens if someone accidentally enters a negative number when a positive number is required? In a sense, the workflow team should try to stress, and even “break” the workflow under controlled conditions to see what happens and how they can prevent such issues.

Testing by Selected End-Users

Happy editor with team members

Having selected end-users try out the workflow before general deployment
is a good idea, so necessary changes can be made without major disruption.

Once a workflow has been thoroughly tested by the workflow creator or workflow team, it’s still a good idea to limit its use at first. Suppose you create a document management workflow. After initial testing, perhaps you should limit its use to two or three of your top report writers who have been educated about the workflow and trained to use it. 

These people are using the workflow “cold,” and they may be able to see faults that the initial development team missed. They can report back to the development team when they find problems, and work with them to get them solved.

Consider a Small Pilot Program

Before deploying an automated workflow to an entire team or department, it may be worthwhile to designate a pilot project using the workflow to ensure it does what it’s supposed to and that it really does have the potential to boost efficiency and productivity while reducing error rates. 

The team working with a particular client, for example, could brief the client on the new workflow and get their consent to be part of the pilot project. Provisions can be made to go back to the old way of doing things if major problems occur. If this pilot project works as expected, then the workflow can be deployed to the rest of the department or team, with all affected personnel being trained on how to use the workflow.

The key to easy workflow development and testing is outstanding workflow software. PerfectForms is no-code workflow software that allows users to drag and drop workflow elements into place. If the workflow testing process reveals that changes need to be made, PerfectForms allows for easy modifications until the workflow is ready for wider deployment. 

Businesses like yours use PerfectForms for an impressive array of workflow automation tasks. We encourage you to browse through some of our many PerfectForms case studies to see how businesses have automated processes, raised productivity, and increased efficiency in major ways. And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time. 

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