How Workflow Software Boosts Production
“Workflow” is a catchall term that covers any series of tasks that your business needs to perform. Changing the oil in your car requires a set of tasks performed in a certain order. Baking a cake, designing a mobile app, creating a professional video – these all require specific workflows. You probably know from experience that when you have a system for accomplishing something you tend to be more consistent and do a better job of it, because you are less likely to skip steps.
Being Organized Improves Your Bottom Line
Your business requires innumerable short processes that need to be followed, checked, documented and forwarded on to others. Whether you use a simple checklist or advanced workflow software, being organized improves your efficiency and your bottom line.
One of the classic examples of workflow improvement is the early assembly line created by Ford Motor Company in 1913. Toyota adopted Ford’s methods in the 1950’s and claimed that it increased productivity by over 300% and cut costs by over 60%.
Workflow is Simplified
The most obvious benefit of automated workflow is that it eliminates or reduces the paper-chasing. Checklists, submissions, proposals no longer languish in a middle manager’s work basket. Management can concentrate on analysis and strategy, instead of chasing down errors, appeasing angry clients and evaluating employee performance.
Speed is greatly enhanced because decisions that used to require people are now automated. Visibility is also improved every step of the way – both process managers and supervisors can see the exact status of a project and every one of its required steps. Processes require fewer people and tasks can run in parallel, with flags to indicate where things might be stuck in a queue.
Errors and Manual Labor are Reduced
This has the added benefit of demonstrating where processes excel, and where they need improvement. Most modern workflow platforms have a logging capability that records exceptions. This allows businesses to see where problems keep occurring and to analyze workflow interruptions or spot areas where mistakes happen most frequently.
Fujirebio is a supplier of biomarkers (blood tests) for oncology units. The company processes about 75 million tests annually. In 2013, the company decided to automate its former manual process of recording temperature readings. The old paper reports that automation replaced were several inches thick and had to be reviewed by hand prior to audits by the FDA. The new electronic reports have eliminated 1,100 hours a year of manual effort. “Everyone loves not having to go through paper records anymore,” the company reports.
Both Large and Small Businesses Enjoy More Efficiency
Digital workflow management doesn’t have to apply only to high-tech business processes like manufacturing, either. Many smaller businesses prefer cloud-hosted digital workflow management. The up-front investment is smaller and there’s no requirement to host and maintain servers on the premises.
Whatever your product or service, digital workflow management can vastly improve your organizational efficiency. Other results can include lower costs, better customer service, and happier employees, all of which directly or indirectly affect the bottom line.