The benefits of having automated workflows are obvious and well-documented. Time and cost savings, a reduction in error rates, and the collection of valuable, actionable data are just a few such benefits.
In short, automated workflows allow you and your team to spend less time on rote, repetitive tasks so you can focus more time and energy on your core business objectives. It’s also important to note that “automation” doesn’t necessarily mean that an entire process goes from beginning to end without human interaction. Many tasks can be partially automated, yet still have people involved in the steps that cannot be automated, and the benefits are nearly as great in these cases.
Naturally, businesses want to maximize return on investment when they start using workflow software to automate processes. Here are four tips for maximizing the workflow automation ROI:
1. Identify Pain Points
To create automated workflows that make a difference, you have to first identify problems that need solving. Is one process particularly prone to errors, perhaps because of multiple points of data entry? Are some processes still reliant upon manual or paper-based processes? Does a particular process always experience bottlenecks at some point?
Talk to process users to learn exactly where the pain points are. Management may not be aware of the specific bottlenecks and issues that keep everyday processes from flowing smoothly, but the people who use those workflows regularly certainly are.
2. Prioritize Automation Projects
For your first automation process, you want to choose something where there is a need for automation, but you’re probably better off choosing a small, discrete automation task rather than, say, revamping your entire HR system. You could, for example, create online forms and an associated workflow for on-boarding new employees, allowing new employees to enter their personal information once and routing it to every form that requires that information rather than having them spend their first few days filling out endless forms. Once you gain confidence from a successful automation initiative, you can branch out more, tackling more substantive projects over time.
3. Monitor KPIs Before and After Automation
What good are automated workflows if they don’t actually make things better? You simply can’t know the effect of workflow automation if you don’t measure key performance indicators both before and after automated workflow implementation. Say you want to automate building maintenance requests. Spend a few weeks upfront determining how long the old process takes, how many mistakes have to be corrected, and so on. Then, after automation is complete and users know how to use the new process, measure those same KPIs. This will show you clearly where automation is making the biggest difference.
4. Choose the Right Workflow Software
The importance of choosing the right workflow software for workflow automation cannot be overstated. Your software must be both flexible (for customization) and powerful (so it will actually do what you need). Furthermore, it should be easy to scale up once you realize the power of workflow automation and want to extend it to more and more processes. Ideally, you should choose workflow software that doesn’t require programming or major IT infrastructure upgrades. The best workflow software will allow the people who end up actually using the workflows to have influence over workflow design. After all, they’re the ones who will be dealing with it day in and day out.
PerfectForms is workflow software that is powerful, flexible, and scalable. It’s also mobile-friendly, so you can create online forms and workflows that work perfectly with employee mobile devices. With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, creating customized online forms and workflows is straightforward and requires no programming.
With PerfectForms, you can automate the smallest, simplest process, or the biggest, most complex one. Did you know you can try PerfectForms for free? Sign up for a free trial and test drive it yourself. Learn how companies just like yours facilitate automation and quickly reap the benefits.
Automation is established in many industries, like manufacturing and IT services. But some industries consist largely of tasks for which automation doesn’t make sense. A local diner, for instance, has to be ready to provide an unpredictable range of cooked foods to customers at a moment’s notice.
The good news is that even in industries where automation isn’t an obvious solution for productivity and efficiency gains, automation has a place, and can provide a competitive advantage. Automated workflows can be implemented across just about all industries, and in ways that deliver a fast, positive return on investment.
Industries with the Lowest Automation Potential
Industries that involve managing people and their expectations are the hardest to automate. Sometimes, human experience and expertise are necessary for decision-making or creative work. Automation works best in industries where well-defined activities are the norm, but even in these industries, human input is required for things like interpretation of results or monitoring solutions for unexpected problems.
Workflow software can be used in industries that are based on hard-to-automate “knowledge work,” because every business has tasks that must be carried out with consistency on a regular schedule. When creative or highly customized businesses implement automated workflows where appropriate, they can advance their competitive position.
Automation Helps Cope with Email
You don’t even need workflow software to automate many email-related tasks. Most email programs allow creation of custom filters to route and respond automatically based on the email sender. Emails from key clients, for example, can automatically be flagged and routed to a folder designated just for them.
Many of us have used automatic “out of office” responses to let email senders know when we’re away, and whom to contact until we return. With the average office worker receiving 121 emails per day, it’s easy to see how manual management of emails can take up a disproportionate amount of time, and how automatic workflows for email management can save massive amounts of time.
The Many Advantages of Paying Bills Automatically
Many of us use automatic bill payment at home to make sure that our phone bills and other household bills are paid automatically and on time. It saves time and prevents problems like late fees. Businesses can use automatic bill paying too, and the advantages may be even greater.
If phone service gets cut off at home because someone forgot to pay a bill, it’s an inconvenience and a hassle. But if it happens at work, the results can be disastrous. Two of the best and easiest ways for a business to implement automation is to use providers’ automatic bill paying services, or set up automated workflows that transfer money on the correct day every month.
Data Backup: A Prime Opportunity for Automation
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have lost data due to not backing it up, and those who will lose data due to not backing it up. Some employees are going to be more vigilant about data backup than others, unless you set up automated workflows to take care of the task.
Scheduling and running data backups is one of the easiest tasks to postpone when work gets busy. But disk crashes don’t care how busy someone is, and there’s never a good time to discover that data has been lost. Automated workflows for backing up data may not be glamorous or exciting, but they can prevent a huge number of major problems.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that automated workflows are just for highly-automated industries. The truth is, even the most hands-on, mom-and-pop business can benefit from automated workflows, for tasks ranging from on-boarding new employees to timekeeping to making sure all bills are paid on time. PerfectForms is workflow software that makes automation easy, because there is no programming required.
With PerfectForms, you can drag and drop workflow elements into place to make fully-customized workflows that do exactly what you need. If you’re interested in learning more about how automation can benefit businesses in any industry, we invite you to read through some of our many case studies. PerfectForms helps businesses automate appropriate processes, so they can focus more of their time and energy on core business processes.
When employees are engaged in their work, everyone benefits. The employees themselves benefit from a sense of accomplishment and of having contributed to something greater than themselves, while customers benefit from an elevated experience. And companies benefit too, to the tune of a 21% increase in productivity and a 22% increase in profitability.
Employee engagement isn’t the same thing as employees just being happy. They might be happy because their team made the playoffs, yet not be engaged in their work. It’s not “employee satisfaction,” either. Satisfied employees are content that they are being compensated a certain amount for their time and efforts, and they can be satisfied while being largely unengaged in what they’re doing. Employee engagement is about feeling like it’s worthwhile to give that extra effort, because they know it matters to themselves, the customers, and the business as a whole.
Poor Workflow Design Can Torpedo Employee Engagement
Rare is the workplace in which employees can do their thing without some regulations and constraints. Productivity goals, safety regulations, and company culture are necessary, after all. But when workflow design is lacking, the result can be poor employee engagement. You can tell this is happening when employees make statements like these:
- “This process is too time-consuming for what it accomplishes.”
- “I can’t move forward until I get the feedback I asked for.”
- “I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to do.”
- “Administrative tasks mean I don’t have time to do my best on the work that counts.”
Sometimes leaders must take a hard look at workflows and determine what works and what doesn’t, what is necessary and what isn’t necessary. Workflows evolve whether we want them to or not, and without direction, they can evolve into unwieldy, inefficient processes that sap employee engagement.
Good Automated Workflows Can Improve Employee Engagement
By the same token, automated workflows that are well-designed can improve employee engagement levels. Sometimes the solution is as simple as upgrading technology, and sometimes it is as complex as helping veteran employees overcome resistance to change. But when automated workflows are designed to make sense for the end goals, the workforce, and the company culture, they are investments that pay off handsomely.
Employees who are freed up from doing menial, repetitive tasks because of online forms and automated workflows have more time and mental energy to devote to their core responsibilities. And well-designed workflows break down processes into strategic, discrete tasks, while giving each person in the process a sense of their role in the overall process. Building good communication capabilities into workflows helps keep processes on track and prevent small problems from becoming larger ones.
Online Forms and Workflows Can Also Measure Employee Engagement
You can’t improve employee engagement levels if you don’t make a baseline measurement and define what “improvement” looks like. Fortunately, you can use smart workflow design to gauge employee engagement in many different ways. Periodically adding a “survey” step for each participant in a workflow can alert managers to bottlenecks and suggestions for improvement. Adding an employee engagement component to employee evaluation processes can keep management informed of the employee engagement zeitgeist, so any necessary changes can be made in a timely manner.
Employers are more concerned with employee engagement than they used to be, and that’s a good thing. Finding, hiring, and retaining top talent are challenging tasks, and it’s your non-engaged workers who are at greatest risk of going where pastures are greener. PerfectForms is online form and workflow software that allows for customized workflow design, for your team and your goals. Because no programming is involved, the people involved in workflow design can use input from the people who will actually use the workflows every day.
Creating online forms and automated workflows is as easy as dragging and dropping elements into place, and the result is the creation of work processes that make sense for employees, the company as a whole, and ultimately for the customers. We invite you to read through some of the many PerfectForms case studies to see for yourself how the right automated workflows and online forms can take performance and employee engagement from good to outstanding.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing is new and fascinating technology, presenting possibilities that were only dreamed about before. While there is a certain amount of artistic experimentation surrounding 3D printing, many businesses in many industries are already incorporating the technology into their operations.
Primarily, 3D printing is used for accelerating product development, creating limited series of customized products, and rapid prototyping, though the number of potential uses for the technology is practically unlimited.
The good news is that small businesses that don’t have the budget to acquire their own 3D printer can contract with a growing number of contract 3D printing companies in order to take advantage of the many benefits of the technology.
But 3D printing is still a relatively expensive undertaking, so it’s smart for companies that use it for prototyping or product development to have defined workflows for accessing 3D printing technology, whether it’s located on-site or contracted out. Creating automated workflows to control the 3D printing process, from idea conception through the creation of the physical object is the best way to keep costs and waste down while branching out into this exciting new technological marvel.
Creating the Data That Drives 3D Printing Is a Process
In order for a 3D printer to create an object, it must have a set of meticulous and precise instructions, just like your laser printer needs exact instructions so it “knows” when to print on both sides of the paper, when to turn documents from portrait to landscape orientation, and when to accommodate non-standard paper sizes.
But throwing instructions at a 3D printer and seeing what comes out is a luxury few can afford. Therefore, creating an automated workflow for computer modeling, conversion to the proper file type for the printer, and model optimization is important for maximizing creativity and efficiency at the same time while minimizing wasted effort.
Automated Workflows Reduce Mistakes, Do-Overs
When you create a custom workflow application for, say, a 3D-printed prototype of a custom, limited edition container you plan to create for your product, you need to minimize the number of attempts it takes to get it exactly right.
When someone creates a computer model, it should be reviewed by a separate person to look for mistakes and potential problems. Once the model appears to be up to standards, approval can be granted, and the print file can be converted to the right file format for the printer. If you’re contracting with a 3D printing provider, the print file can be delivered electronically with “read” receipt, so you know the provider received it. By creating an automated workflow around 3D printing, you have the checks and balances you need to ensure that do-overs are kept to a minimum.
On-Site or Outsourced, 3D Printing Benefits from Defined Workflows
It’s easy to see how workflow automation make sense for 3D printing done in-house because you don’t want everyone clamoring to use the machine at once and causing conflicts. But workflows are just as important when you outsource 3D printing, because everybody involved in a project that requires 3D printing should be kept apprised of where the project is at any given time. Automated form workflows allow all authorized personnel to check and see that the design was reviewed and converted to the right format, and the contractor received it yesterday afternoon. Everyone stays on the same page, in other words.
PerfectForms is workflow software that empowers users to create custom automated workflows, via an intuitive user interface that offers tremendous flexibility. You can create a workflow for assigning cubicles, and then create a workflow for having a prototype 3D printed, all with the same software. We would love to talk to you about the nearly limitless potential PerfectForms offers to businesses just like yours, whether or not 3D printing is in your future. We encourage you to contact us at any time and look forward to hearing from you.
Ideas for automated workflows are easier to think of for some businesses than for others. For example, an e-commerce business would make extensive use of online forms and automated workflows. A business that makes reservations, matches clients with service providers, or schedules in-home services would almost require automated workflows for gaining a competitive edge.
Other businesses, however, aren’t obvious candidates for automation, but they could probably benefit from it anyway. For example, a catering business is very hands-on, and the core business process of providing food to customers can’t be done by an app. But with almost every business, there are back office and administrative tasks that benefit from automation. And hands-on businesses that bring in clients through a website need online forms for the greatest efficiency. In other words, there is a place for automation in even the most hands-on business. Here’s why.
Configuring Optimum Orders
You could pick products for a particular order yourself, and in some cases, you may have to. For instance, if you’re catering an event where you’ll serve seasonal local produce, you’ll probably pick it out yourself from a local supplier, or have one of your employees do so. But in other cases, you may frequently buy certain ingredients and need to order based on inventory levels, price, quality, and delivery options. An automated workflow that accounts for inventory levels and makes orders based on need and price from a curated selection of vendors can save massive amounts of time.
Managing a Digital Marketing Strategy
Every business wants to make its marketing budget stretch as far as possible to maximize marketing ROI. Using automated workflows to manage the various tasks involved in digital marketing helps you do exactly this. Say you want to release a video a day or two before a new product release. An automated digital marketing workflow can schedule the video for upload and promotion so that it appears on fans’ and followers’ news feeds at exactly the right time. You could also make an advertising purchase workflow that metes out your monthly marketing budget based on various social media analytics so you get the most bang for your advertising buck.
Small businesses may not have regular employees but may use contractors on an as-needed basis. Being able to plan ahead benefits both your business and the contractors you use. Suppose you created a workflow that would allow your contractors to input days of availability a month (or even a week) in advance. Or suppose you created a workflow outlining your contractor needs for the upcoming month or week and distributed it to your contractors to fill the slots on a first-come, first-serve basis. Either way, you can schedule ahead, and your contractors will have an easier time scheduling their workload, making them more likely to continue to work with you.
Obtaining Customer Feedback
Online Electronic Survey Forms for customer feedback have been around for a long time, and they always get better response rates than paper-based feedback forms. Whether you distribute feedback polls and forms via email or have them on your web page, you can easily collect the data from them and make sense of it much faster than you could with hand-completed surveys. Make your customer feedback forms mobile-friendly, by minimizing typing and maximizing things like radio buttons and drop-down menus, and you will be even more likely to get good response rates.
Some businesses are and always will be more hands-on than others. After all, they’ll probably never have an app that can shoe horses or produce an award-winning buttercream frosting. But even in the businesses where there’s a lot of hands-on work, many tasks benefit from being made into automated workflows. The right workflow software, like PerfectForms, can make all the difference.
PerfectForms allows you to Create Online Forms and automated workflows from scratch or using a range of pre-built, customizable templates, all using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. You don’t have to be (or hire!) a programmer to create the exact online forms and workflows you need to make your business run at its most efficient and productive. Interested in learning more? We invite you to watch our demo video, to witness for yourself what custom, automated forms and workflows can do for your business.
The tantalizing idea of an office without paper was first dangled in front of the business world more than 30 years ago, with the personal computer revolution. But what futurists failed to realize was just how entrenched paper usage was, and the fact that a computer connected to a printer offered the perfect temptation to print more rather than less.
The paperless office in no way materialized with the first wave of personal computers, and it didn’t happen when everyone got internet connections either. Now you could print out emails and downloaded articles in addition to all the other stuff offices routinely printed out! The situation has improved to some extent, with even the most senior employees realizing that consuming content from a screen works just as well in most cases.
With mobility, the truly paperless office is starting to be a real possibility. Trust in electronic documents has grown, and many more people and organizations are serious about reducing their environmental footprint. Here’s one way to make the paperless (or nearly paperless) office come about.
It’s Easier if You’re Just Starting Out Your Business
If you’re in the process of starting a business from scratch, you can make it as paperless as possible by choosing paperless software and developing paperless processes from the beginning. The business trio of the laptop, the smartphone, and the tablet together make up an office that goes everywhere, so even if you do invest in physical desks, they might not get much use. With cloud-powered applications available for just about everything, the need for on-site IT hardware has diminished greatly too. There’s never been a better time to start up a paperless business.
Existing Businesses Can Dramatically Cut Paper Usage Too
Making paper-based processes paperless may cause some disruption. People like doing things the way they’re used to doing them, after all. But judiciously selecting processes to remove from the paper-based world and run electronically can get more people on board so that future moves away from paper are easier for people to accept. Setting up a simple document signing app or making a commonly used paper form into an electronic one can help your business take a big step toward the paperless ideal.
Online Forms Are a Great First Step
Few people like paper-based forms. They’re tedious, sometimes hard to read, and they can be lost, damaged, stolen, or otherwise mishandled. Electronic Survey Forms, on the other hand, present no worries about penmanship, can be submitted electronically to avoid being lost or damaged, and can allow entry of data one time to populate multiple forms or multiple fields in a single form. Form software that lets you duplicate the look and feel of your paper forms, right down to font and color choices, helps the reticent get over their fear of change.
Mobility Takes the Paperless Office to the Next Level
Online forms that are mobile-friendly take your paper-free ambitions to the next level. Why not make it easy for traveling employees to submit expense reports from the road? Let your field technicians document services right from their tablet, and records are more up-to-date and accurate while saving everyone precious time. The editor who can finish editing reports from her laptop can be productive both in the office or working from home when her child is sick. Electronic forms raise all sorts of great possibilities, and mobile-friendly forms fulfill many of them.
PerfectForms is mobile-friendly form software that doesn’t require programming skills to use. Non-technical users can create pixel-perfect forms that users can submit electronically, accelerating workflows appreciably. You can even include automatic notifications in your electronic workflows, so when someone needs to review a completed form, they’re notified by email right away. Are you interested in the paperless (or “as paperless as possible”) office? You can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial. Experience for yourself the possibilities the electronic, paper-free office has long promised.
Have you ever worked for the military, or for a company that keeps track of form revisions? If so, it’s clear to see from the revision numbers just how challenging it can be to create the perfect form on paper. What’s more, if you’ve printed out 1,000 copies before discovering a mistake, you have to choose to use the imperfect forms as is or throw them out.
Online forms are not automatically perfect forms, but it’s easier to get from Version 1.0 to the perfect form if it’s electronic. You don’t have to scrap a pile of paper forms, and can make changes and updates instantly. If those online forms are part of a workflow management solution or business process management software (BPM software), you can accelerate business processes as well. Here are several benefits you should expect from your own perfect form.
Less, Rather than More, Dependence on IT Resources
You might think that adopting online forms would require the help of the IT department, but if you have the right BPM software, you’ll actually reduce dependence on your busy IT people. Why does the “right” BPM software lessen the need for IT input? Because it will allow custom workflow management solutions without requiring programming code. Look for an intuitive user interface coupled with powerful features.
Easier Enforcement of Workflow Compliance
When you create online forms as part of automated workflows, you practically guarantee workflow compliance. That’s because completed forms can be instantly submitted to the right recipient(s), and recipients can be automatically alerted that their input is needed. If a request is denied, or if a recipient requires more information, the initiator of the workflow can be notified of this. The result is far more consistency when workflows are accomplished.
Lower Operational Costs
Even before your online forms are perfected, you can expect lower operational costs. Printing and paper costs go away for those online forms, and time that used to be spent manually handing off forms or using intra-office mail can be used more productively, because completed online forms can be routed automatically. Ultimately, your workflows will become faster and more efficient, further diminishing operational costs.
Implement automated workflows and online forms and watch operational costs drop.
Better Process Efficiency
How efficient is it to manually fill out a paper form, then leave it on someone’s desk where it might be buried or damaged? Not very efficient at all. By contrast, submitting online forms is instant, and these forms won’t get lost or coffee-stained. If a workflow initiator wants to check the status of his or her form, this can easily involve “phone tag” and wasted time. Electronic workflow management eliminates these problems.
Better Visibility into Processes
With electronic forms and workflow management, authorized users can determine the status of a process at any time. In fact, alerts can be sent out to key players at important points in a process. There’s no more chasing down the person responsible for acting on a form and figuring out how far a workflow has progressed. This enhanced visibility into processes is one of the most important advantages of great BPM software for workflow management.
PerfectForms is BPM software that lets you take control of workflow management with online forms and automated, electronic workflows that you build yourself. It’s designed for non-technical users, so there’s no programming involved, even with the most complex workflows. Online forms approach perfection much faster than paper forms do, and coupled with electronic workflow management, the benefits to your company are measurable, both immediately and long term. We invite you to watch our demo and learn how easy it is to create perfect online forms for improved workflow.
If you were around in 1971, your first exposure to the concept of “What You See is What You Get” (abbreviated WYSIWYG) may have been the hit R&B single by The Dramatics titled “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get.” But when the personal computer revolution happened in the 1980s, WYSIWYG (pronounced “wizzi-wig”) took on a whole new meaning having to do with how humans interacted with machines.
If you ever logged onto a mainframe computer in the early 1980s, or had one of the first home computers, you can attest that what you saw was definitely not what you got. You might input a document or some lines of programming code into an editor where the screen bore some resemblance to what you were typing, but didn’t look exactly like it. It required somewhat of a leap of faith.
What It Meant to the Typical Computer User
If you were lucky enough to have a WYSIWYG editor back then, you could see on the screen what your finished document would look like. That’s something we expect at a minimum today, but 30 years ago it was a luxury. The concept carried over once the internet came into being, only then it had to do with designing web pages where you could see what the end product would look like. Again, with templates and platforms like WordPress, it’s a concept we take for granted now. But the concept still applies in terms of some aspects of humans interacting with machines. Today it’s far easier to make something on a screen look exactly like a document, picture, or printed form.
Why It Still Makes a Difference in the Transition to Electronic Workflows
The reason WYSIWYG still matters in an always-connected world is that there are still manual workflows that are being transitioned into automated, electronic workflows. Say you have had a mail order business for years that you want to expand into e-commerce. WYSIWYG means that you can create online versions of your printed order forms that look exactly like them. That way, if a customer chooses to order online instead of by mail, he or she will be presented with a familiar form, and the transition will be straightforward. The same is true when you translate paper forms used at work into electronic survey forms and workflows: WYSIWYG is best.
It’s OK to Take WYSIWYG for Granted
If you are interested in automating workflows and turning manual forms into electronic forms, you should expect no less than a WYSIWYG workflow experience, and you shouldn’t have to understand programming code to get it. Nor should you have to hire a programmer to create electronic forms that look exactly like the paper ones everyone is used to.
Form software is available that lets you create electronic versions of your paper forms that look exactly like them, right down to the fonts and colors. And the best part is you can create these electronic forms on a “blank canvas” interface by dragging and dropping form elements into place precisely where you want them. Multiple forms can even be linked together into automated workflows.
Automate Workflows with WYSIWYG Convenience
Suppose you’ve been doing expense reimbursement with paper forms that have to be handed off to each person in the workflow before a reimbursement check is cut. What if you could make a WYSIWYG electronic version of the entire workflow? The person requesting reimbursement could then fill out a form online (where handwriting and spilled coffee aren’t problems), and upon completion, automatically submit it to the next decision-maker. It’s significantly faster, far less error-prone, offers great visibility into the process, and allows the automatic creation of an audit trail should a transaction have to be revisited later.
PerfectForms is WYSIWYG electronic form software that allows non-technical users to create pixel-perfect forms through an intuitive drag-drop interface. Moreover, multiple forms can be linked into electronic workflows that save significant time and money. Any form-based workflow, from requesting building keys to reporting IT troubles can be seamlessly translated from manual to automated, and you don’t have to be a programmer to do it. We invite you to read some of our case studies to get a clear idea of just how many advantages electronic workflows have over manual ones. There’s absolutely no reason your business can’t enjoy the benefits of WYSIWYG forms and workflows, because PerfectForms makes it easy.
Isn’t software supposed to help us do away with forms? Yes and no. Software is a powerful tool that helps businesses do away with what was bad about forms, while keeping or improving what’s good about them.
Forms make sense. They collect information in an orderly and uniform fashion so that information can be acted on in some way. Forms on paper, completed by hand are problematic, however. They can be lost, damaged, or illegible, and they must be managed by hand, which makes processes slower than they should be.
When forms are electronic, however, they enjoy the benefits of uniformity and utility without the problems of bad handwriting, being lost, or having to be processed by hand. Software to create forms can solve the problems inherent in manually completed, paper forms.
It Used to Be an Ordeal
Early software to create forms was, like a lot of first-generation software, hard to use, often with mind-boggling user interfaces. Learning to use the software took time, so not a lot of people got good at it, and therefore its utility at making forms better was limited. In some cases, creating electronic forms required the services of a programmer. It’s no mystery why so many organizations decided not to bother, and just stayed with paper forms instead. Things are different, and far better now.
User Interfaces Have Improved Dramatically
We live in a world of apps that can seemingly do anything, and most people are used to interacting with computers and mobile devices through user interfaces that guide them through the tasks they want to accomplish. Software to create forms is no different. What used to be cumbersome and non-intuitive is now considerably more user-friendly, to the point where people with no experience in programming can create electronic forms that look great and work perfectly.
Today’s Non-Technical Professional Can Use Software to Create Forms
With modern software to create forms, the administrator, accountant, graphic designer, and building maintenance technician can all create electronic forms that do exactly what they want, for faster and more accurate information flow, and efficient workflows. Instead of receiving a hand-completed paper form requesting repair of a lighting switch, building maintenance can receive a request electronically stating the nature and location of the problem and requesting help. These electronic forms can even be automatically routed to the exact person authorized to solve a problem.
With the Right Software, Workflows Can Be Created Easily
Not only can people in any department use software to create forms, they can also link relevant forms together into electronic workflows, so work gets done efficiently, with less wasted time, fewer mistakes, and fewer wasted resources. As just one example, the process of publishing a technical report can be broken down into a series of steps, each of which is completed with an associated form and automatically routed to the next person in the chain of responsibility. When the report is complete, everyone can be confident no steps were missed, and that an audit trail of responsibility has been created for the entire process.
The Possibilities Are Nearly Endless
When an organization has powerful, flexible, intuitive software to create forms and workflows, every department can benefit, and possibilities are really only limited by the imagination. Schools have used such software to streamline enrollment, while businesses have used it to make expense reporting easier, and nonprofits have used it to track resource use responsibly. You could even create an electronic form for extracurricular events, like signing up for the company softball team, or choosing menu items for the company holiday dinner.
PerfectForms takes software for creating forms and workflows to the next level of usefulness. It has a user-friendly work canvas that allows the user to drag and drop elements of a form or workflow into place and link them together. PefectForms also automatically integrates with web forms and can be made to draw data from or send data to databases, for tremendous time savings. It’s not uncommon for a company to try PerfectForms for one process in one department and then expand it to many others, as people see the benefits of automating and streamlining forms and workflows.
If you’re interested in examples of how PerfectForms has helped organizations transform processes from manual, error-prone, and slow to automated, accurate, and fast, we invite you to read over some of our case studies. They’re sure to spark ideas about how PerfectForms could benefit your organization.
A purchase order is a document generated by a buyer authorizing a purchase from a seller. Once the seller accepts the purchase order, the document becomes a contract that protects both parties. Information contained in purchase orders includes things like item descriptions, prices, quantities, payment terms, applicable discounts, and shipping specifications.
Businesses use purchase orders for several reasons:
- They make keeping track of purchases easier.
- They can be referred to if a dispute arises between the business and the seller.
- They are evidence of compliance with various regulations.
- They make it easier for businesses to classify spending.
Purchase orders used to be done on paper and, in some cases, they still are. Form creating software makes the entire purchase order process infinitely better. Here’s how.
The Right Software Makes the Entire Process Faster
With form creation software, you can create digital forms that can be submitted electronically rather than completed by hand and routed to various approving authorities before submission to the seller. Digital purchase orders can be made to look identical to paper forms your team may be used to, so the learning curve is short. Electronic submission and approval of purchase orders is fast, accurate, and avoids smudged, torn, or illegible paper purchase orders.
With Better Information Comes Better Planning and Control
An electronic archive of purchase orders is easier to use for creating a long-term picture of purchasing trends, preferred vendors, and recurring problems. You can certainly gather this information with paper purchase orders, but it takes significantly longer and is more prone to errors. The gathering of information necessary during an electronic purchase order process makes it easy to spot, for example, a cash flow crunch indicating insufficient funds to pay for a purchase. This can prevent credit problems and misunderstandings.
Records, Compliance, and Reporting Are Significantly Accelerated
When you use form creator software,
- Maintaining accurate records is faster and easier.
- You’ll have an easier time demonstrating compliance generating reports showing how your company’s purchases are allocated.
- You can generate custom reports showing statistics that matter to you personally. For example, you could run a report detailing how much your company spent with small, locally owned vendors or vendors with good sustainability records.
Purchase Orders Do Not Necessarily Mean “Paperwork”
Don’t think that because you operate a very small business that you can’t benefit from a defined purchase order process. And don’t think that downloading templates and printing them is the best way to start. You can use form creator software not only for an outstanding purchase order process, but also to streamline countless other business processes, like expense reporting, project management, contracts, and surveys.
PerfectForms is form creator software designed for use by non-technical users who, nonetheless, want powerful, flexible, digital forms and workflows customized to their specifications. With a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface, you can create the purchase order forms and workflows you need quickly and prevent many of the problems you may have had with paper purchase orders.
Once you discover one use for PerfectForms, you’ll envision countless others, like creation of an electronic employee on-boarding workflow, an IT support request process, or a system for managing company assets. Watch our demo and see how much power and flexibility PerfectForms offers businesses just like yours.