The Benefits of Workflow for Inefficient Processes
Flashback to my first summer internship. On any given day, you could find me hunched over the printer following the directions to unclog the frustrating contraption. Then, about fifteen minutes later, I would finally get the printer to work, after copious amounts of muttered curses and a few pieces of paper as casualties.
Once the document was finally in my hands, I would slap a sticky note on top and write down the names of those who needed to review it. Then I was off to play in-office mail (wo)man. I would physically walk to the first person’s desk and hand them the document, hoping they would be kind enough to pass it down the line after completing it. Then the waiting game began. I had no visibility into the review process or when my document would find its way home. Not to mention the additional time strain and confusion whenever someone was on vacation.
If I could measure and monetize all the time and effort I put into unclogging the printer and physically walking documents around the office, I have a feeling the number would be shocking (even with my intern pay). When you stop to think about the time and money that goes into moving information around your company, manually routing really begins to add up. Back then I just saw this as a necessary evil of having multiple steps or reviewers within a process. Now, I know that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Workflow Benefits for Inefficient Processes
With technology solutions like workflow or case management, you can cut the inefficiency and improve your processes. Little did I know then, this process was the perfect candidate for workflow automation, specifically. It may even be the ideal solution for your inefficient processes, too.
What Does a Workflow Process Entail?
Workflow allows you to perform your job without needlessly spending time chasing paper. With the implementation of a workflow automation solution, documents can be electronically routed through an organization; in return, it enhances accountability, visibility, and mobility. The benefits of workflow are rewarding: No more fighting with a printer, physically walking a document from desk to desk, or unknown waiting periods.
5 Benefits of Workflow
1. Increase Accountability
One significant problem with manually routing documents around the office is a lack of urgency and accountability. Just because a document appears on someone’s desk, doesn’t mean it will become a top priority. There is a chance that other work will pile up and the person will never even see it. When a workflow software is implemented, documents can be routed based on pre-defined business rules. Additionally, automatic routing ensures smooth handoffs between users and effective collaboration that allows for the acceleration of critical tasks. With the use of email notifications, gone are the days of forgotten or mysteriously lost documents!
2. Increase Visibility
Each document within a workflow is tracked with a detailed log that shows a complete history of each action taken on the document, and at any time users with the appropriate rights can take a peak to see where the document is within the process. The added visibility into a process allows you to recognize patterns, drive improvements, and, if needed, reroute a document.
3. Increase Mobility
Another benefit of removing the paper from a process is its ability to increase mobility. In reality, business as we know it is changing, and the more flexibility you can build into your processes, the better. Reviewers no longer need to be physically present to view and route a document around without a messy trail of emails. With mobile applications for smartphones and tablets, documents can be accessed securely from virtually anywhere.
4. Decrease Errors
When you automate your processes with workflow, you can enjoy fewer administrative errors. When humans are passing documents around, the potential for human error is a given. Workflow eliminates the manual process of data input and enters each piece of information error-free.
5. Gain Savings
Since automated workflows allow you to complete work faster and more accurately, you’re bound to save significant time. As a result, your employees can spend time performing other important tasks. And with this increased productivity, you can save money through increased revenue, too.
This story is just one example of the power of a workflow platform, but its benefits can apply to many scenarios. Do the challenges I faced sound familiar? What types of process improvements do you see a need for within your organization? If you’re ready to learn what workflow automation can do for your organization, contact us to start the conversation.