What Can a Better Forms Workflow Do for You?
Forms themselves are self-contained workflows, because they guide a user through a repeatable process consistently. Forms may also be part of larger workflows. For example, if a form must be signed by a department head so an expense reimbursement check can be written, the whole expense reimbursement process is a workflow, and it involves the completion of one or more forms.
When organizations take the time to examine forms workflows periodically, they can often identify places where the forms or workflows need to be updated, and can spot inefficiencies that can be addressed. Having a strong forms workflow – usually with the assistance of powerful forms workflow software – can keep organizations moving forward and competitive. Here are some of the things better forms workflows can do for you.
Compel you to Justify Steps in a Workflow
Perhaps one forms workflow was created years ago, when certain rules applied, but some of those rules no longer apply. Your organization may realize that there’s no good reason to continue certain steps of a forms workflow now that they aren’t regulation-bound. Therefore, you can streamline the workflow, cutting out steps that are no longer necessary so that everyone’s time is spent more productively. Technology, personnel, and industry regulations are all dynamic enough to prompt you to review your forms workflows for “bloat” periodically. Once or twice a year is usually sufficient.
Help You Reduce Error Rates
The more complicated a forms workflow is, the more room for errors exists. Electronic forms and workflows can incorporate input rules that paper documents can’t. For example, in a space reserved for, say, a parts number, an electronic form could flag an error if someone instead tried to enter a word. Electronic forms and workflows can also auto-populate multiple blanks from information typed in once to avoid repeated reentry. If, for example, a long ID number needed to appear in three different places on a form or in a workflow, the software can automatically enter it into all three of those places after it’s entered once.
Guide Your Organization to Consistently Higher Quality
Electronic forms and workflows naturally guide users toward consistency and quality. If an entire department uses an electronic form, you can be confident that consistency in that department will improve at the same time that efficiency improves. Paper forms were originally created out of a desire for consistency of information, and to some extent they can do that. But electronic forms can ensure a higher level of consistency, better traceability of processes, and an overall elevation in the level of quality produced by employees.
Trim Costs Considerably
The costs associated with paper forms and manual processes extend far beyond just the costs of paper and ink. The time it takes for employees to complete forms can also be excessive. If forms must be physically delivered to an approving authority for action, there’s another span of time that the process will take up. And if a form is lost somewhere along the line, having to start over is a real possibility. Electronic forms are faster, more accurate, can be delivered automatically, and won’t be lost or damaged. That, coupled with materials savings can trim corporate costs significantly.
Assist with Regulation Compliance
Some businesses must comply with industry or government regulations, and generally they must be able to offer proof of compliance should they be identified for an audit. Audit trails with paper forms and manual processes are cumbersome and there are countless places where errors can be introduced. With an electronic forms workflow, however, every step in the process is viewable by authorized personnel at all times. The completion and delivery of forms can be automatically recorded with time and date stamps to build an audit trail every time a process is completed. It makes regulation compliance much easier and faster.
Using Bad Forms is Bad Form
Only rarely can businesses operate efficiently without some forms-based processes. For uniformity and completeness, forms make sense. But today, paper forms are rarely necessary due to the availability of easy-to-use forms workflow software. PerfectForms is forms workflow software that allows non-technical users to create electronic forms exactly to their specifications using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Moreover, related forms and other steps can be put together into coherent electronic workflows, which are faster, more accurate, and easier to trace than manual workflows. You can try PerfectForms out for yourself if you’re interested. Put the power of forms workflow software to countless uses in your organization, starting now.