Whether selling a product or service, in business, money is the bottom line. And, if you want to make money, you have to be doing business right; which can be accomplished by having a reliable workflow. Workflow is the progression of steps that comprise a work process, involve two or more people, and create or add value to an organization’s business. There are two different types of workflow, sequential and parallel. In a sequential workflow, one step is dependent on the step that comes directly before it. In a parallel workflow, two steps can happen simultaneously and still be successful.
No matter which type of workflow you are using as a business, it is inevitable that you will encounter problems. After all, with multiple departments and functions, it can be challenging to get everyone to work according to the same plan. In the past, workflows and their success have been dependent on managerial staff and their ability to enforce a particular process as well as the functions of technology. Inconsistencies caused by the unreliability of the factors mentioned above have given way to money and time wasted, customer dissatisfaction, and the inability to predict future trends. Unfortunately, these factors caused by a poor workflow have been detrimental to many growing businesses and large corporations.
In recent years, research has been conducted to conclude that moving workflows towards a computer-based system and away from paper and pen could improve results. Furthermore, many companies have attempted the use of online-based, automated workflow systems and have determined that their abilities help to eliminate some of the most significant issues caused by traditional workflow systems.
One of the largest culprits for wasted money among manufacturing and retail companies is wasted inventory. Ordering inventory that will age before it is used, or more stock than is necessary for a project can mean big dollars lost. According to manufacturing.net, nearly 20-30% of all inventory sitting in warehouses is wasted or obsolete. And, although it is difficult to put an exact dollar amount on the money that is wasted in excess inventory, it is essential to know that because of it, the cost for everything, from insurance to warehousing is higher.
With automated workflow technology, every piece of inventory that is used can be tracked and analyzed. Through this type of automation, companies can predict their ordering better and reduce the amount of stock they waste.
Unorganized Billing Process
A business has to be able to bill for their services, goods or products accurately to bring in money. Without an organized billing system, invoices can go unpaid and even unsent. Not only does this cause a loss of money, but it can also cause clients or partners in business to become frustrated with a companies unreliability. Overall, unorganized billing can lead to the loss of partnerships and clientele, creating a downward spiral for the business's success.
Through an automated workflow system, companies can track transactions and bill for orders automatically. This means no more waiting around for invoices to be sent or returned. Reminders will be scheduled if a payment is not received, which means, through automated workflow, a company acquires less of a chance to lose money.
Slow Production Time
Production is generally based off of a sequential workflow, which means that one step of the process has to be completed for the next step to occur. With traditional workflow processes, production can be very cumbersome if effective communication is not in place. Production rate and the success of businesses' production is mainly dependent on the time that is put into the process, after all, time equals money. Furthermore, factors such as waiting for approval, notifying management regarding necessary repairs, and interdepartmental communication have been known to slow down the production processes.
By using an automated workflow system, communication and production steps can flow more smoothly. Automatic notifications are sent from one department to another, and with the touch of a button, alerts can be given regarding issues. As a result, production times are faster, and the company saves money.
Process consistency is vital for business success; however, another unfortunate side-effect of a lousy workflow is an inconsistent process. Research has shown that developing a consistent process helps to create structure, enforce policy, identify gaps in the business, and to function more efficiently. Since many companies have not taken the time or invested the resources in developing a workflow that can remain consistent, and they have lost money, clients, and employees as a result.
Business workflow automation takes the guesswork out of creating a workflow and therefore, helps to generate process consistency. When you put your different departments and steps into an automated workflow system, it analyzes each one of them individually to come up with the best workflow to create success.
Across companies, workers rely on data to make significant decisions day after day. Managers, buyers, executives and even mid-level staff all analyze information and numbers to determine their next steps. If data is inaccurate, these decisions are being based on false information and therefore, both money and time are lost.
Automated workflow data is much more reliable than data that is traditionally produced because there is less room for human error. All computing and checking are done inside the systems, which means less need for human intervention. Automated workflow systems have been proven to be more dependent and save both time and money.
With automated workflow systems, the future of big business is bright. Processes and data will become more reliable, production time will improve, billing will be more consistent, and therefore less time and money overall will be wasted, creating rapid and successful growth.