Workflow – what exactly is it? A workflow is a process broken down into steps. We all use workflows in our daily lives without even thinking about it. We have our own processes that we follow to be most efficient. Whether that’s doing the laundry, following a recipe, or driving from A to B. When […]
Workflow – what exactly is it?
A workflow is a process broken down into steps. We all use workflows in our daily lives without even thinking about it. We have our own processes that we follow to be most efficient. Whether that’s doing the laundry, following a recipe, or driving from A to B. When it comes to workflows in business, the concept is the same. A transaction workflow is implemented to ensure a smooth and efficient process for the purchase of a product in a retail outlet. A manufacturing workflow can combine many steps and processes from raw materials to the finished product.
Good workflow management is vital
Workflow process practices can make or break a business. By carefully analysing every step in every process, a workflow can be optimised to ensure it is efficient, cost-effective, and fully complies with all requirements. By streamlining processes your business can save money, your staff can save time, and you can ensure full compliance with all legal regulations and industry best practices. A workflow may be planned out in advance, or current workflows analysed in order to make improvements.
Tips for great workflow management
Workflow management is often a series of complex and multi-faceted processes that can seem overwhelming, but with focus, insight, and the use of some clever tools, effective workflow management is most certainly achievable.
Evaluate relationships, identify dependencies
A workflow may include several teams and many steps. It’s important to have a clear overview of the order and dependencies of your workflow. Can some steps be run in parallel or is there an order that must be followed? Can these processes be optimised to ensure the process is continual, and time-saving is maximised?
Ensure thorough documentation
Digital documentation from the planning stage to implementation and beyond is so important to avoid making mistakes and missing steps. Easy-to-understand visual aids ensure work is done correctly, and good record-keeping gives you the opportunity to view progress when different workflow strategies are put in place.
By scrutinising your workflow in advance, you can predict bottlenecks and failures and so avoid them before they cause a real problem. Having contingency plans in place for all imaginable eventualities gives you peace of mind and could be a real lifesaver in an emergency situation.
Consider automation throughout your processes
Many repetitive tasks can be eliminated with the use of automation. This is something to have in mind when planning workflows. By automating tasks you’re freeing up your staff from some of the more mundane jobs, and you’re reducing the risk of error.
Keep returning to your workflows
Once a workflow is in place and it appears to work effectively, it can be tempting to forget about it and move on to something else. However, it pays to keep revisiting your workflows, to ensure they still work effectively, and to gauge if they could be made any more efficient. There may be new methods for improvement available that weren’t available originally.
Incorporate systems with efficient workflow management
Workflow management depends on a high level of insight and often a huge amount of data, and this can be a challenge. When the data you need to analyse is from a variety of different channels, such as emails, spreadsheets, and sales reports, making sense of it all can become incredibly complex. A good system will provide to your business workflow management capabilities to combine and analyse data from all sources, tracking and organising all the information so it can be presented in a manner that is easy to understand and make effective decisions from.
NetU is here to help
Don’t let workflow issues get you down. NetU is here to help you get on top of your workflow, and maximise your ROI with efficient, streamlined processes. Our experts can provide you with the very best solutions such as the award-winning NetSuite and Salesforce cloud-based workflow platforms, used by businesses worldwide and heralded for its easy-to-use interface and comprehensive features. Get in touch today to start your journey to the ultimate stress-free workflow management.