Perform a Workflow Inventory to Maximize Efficiency

Man pointing to a graphic showing workflow with shapes.

Does your business utilize workflows to help automate systems and processes? A workflow is a set of steps that must be completed in order to get a task done. These can be workflows throughout every department of your business, these can be automated, and they can be manual.

Essentially, workflows help get stuff done. And regardless of the size of your business, it can benefit from the use of workflows.

But if you’ve been in business for a while, some of these workflows may have been around since the inception of your business. And some of those might not be working as well as they could be anymore.

This is at the fault of absolutely no one. Things change. Different tasks need different workflows, and one department may need a different workflow than another.

New software and tools come into the picture that can help streamline processes and workflows. New methods of automating are always being created (because, hello, we humans want to be productive and not stuck doing tedious work that robots can handle).

So it’s a great idea to periodically perform a workflow inventory to make sure all of those automated workflows are still working for your business the way they should. Here are a few tips for performing an inventory on your business workflows.

1. List all of the automated workflows and processes you have within your business.

Have your employees assist you in putting together a list of every single workflow you have within your business. Getting help from those working with these workflows every day is a good idea because they’re going to help ensure you don’t leave anything out when performing your inventory.

2. Write down the purpose of each process.

Or at least, what you believe the purpose is. Sometimes things start out as one thing and end up evolving into something else entirely. Next to each listed workflow, write down what you believe its purpose is before moving on to the next step.

Woman and man looking at a document.

3. List everyone involved in each workflow or process.

Regardless of whether it’s a single person, a group of people, or an entire department, be sure to list everyone involved in each workflow. This list can also be helpful when you need to know who to talk to about changing up workflows to make sure they’re as efficient as possible.

4. Rank your workflows in order of importance.

Workflows are important, but some may be more important than others. Some workflows may help keep an internal process organized and others may have a direct impact on your bottom line so those may rank higher on your priority list. For example, special attention should be given to workflows related to actually working with customers and directly generating revenue.

5. Break down each workflow into the individual steps involved.

Yes, this inventory is going to be a little time consuming. But if you haven’t revisited any of your workflows since you created them, it’s necessary. You’ll likely find so many steps that either are no longer needed or can be even further automated to streamline your processes and make them even more efficient.

6. Simplify your processes.

After listing the steps involved in your processes, look to see if there are any that can be eliminated. Solicit feedback and advice from your employees while working on this. Those who are in these processes day in and day out can have valuable input for your inventory, and they can also let you know when things are working smoothly so you’re not trying to fix anything that isn’t broken.

7. Utilize workflow software to automate processes.

Workflow software can automate processes and increase efficiency. Make sure to conduct a workflow inventory annually or semi-annually to keep your processes as efficient as possible. Consider whether any current manual steps or processes can be automated and how workflow software can help.

PerfectForms workflow software can help streamline your workflows even more than before. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help with your workflows, watch the demo today!

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