A fine-tuned workflow is a useful blueprint to map out team members’ daily tasks and remove redundancies. A business process workflow helps to enforce your organization’s operational practices from simple to complex tasks. Your workflow’s scope might range from one or two on-site employees to a large group with multiple locations.
A workflow only operates properly when defined rules are put in place. Conducting business with specific guidelines increases work speed and improves quality. An effective workflow system leads to increased productivity throughout the entire organization.
Before creating or revising your business process, it’s important to understand the current as-is process you have in place to guarantee future efficiency. The following five proven business process workflow tips help to ensure your business process runs efficiently:
1. Break Down The Process Into Distinct Steps
Once you determine the documents and information running through your company, map the workflow on paper or on a whiteboard. Stand back and look at it, look at the inputs and outputs and include them in the mapping diagram. Include the team members in this exercise. Now, look for redundancy. Question everything to ensure that each step is still needed and still appropriate for your business needs.
For structure and consistency, it may be beneficial to use pictures for each step of the workflow process. Use the following language within your workflow process mapping:
- Start: describes the commencement of the process
- Process Step: describes the action of the process
- Data: describes the supportive facts of the process
- Decision: describes an evaluation in the process
- Connector: describes the progression of steps in the process
- Role: describes the participants in the process steps
- Terminate: describes the end of the process
When mapping or automating a process for the first time, breaking it down helps. By splitting out each task step by step, business standards are maintained through these checkpoints. Task efficiency is effortless when you get accurate information to the appropriate parties.
2. Identify The Unnecessary Pieces Of The Process
Many redundant business processes result in errors that then result in serious consequences for your company’s revenue. A workflow maps out each step, making it easy for you to define the weak links in your company’s operations. Eliminate waste and inefficiencies by removing uneconomical business processes that add no beneficial value to your organization.
3. Detect Duplicated Or Overlapping Tasks
In any company – small, large or anywhere in between – communication lapses betweendepartments may result in employees inadvertently reviewing duplicate items or skipping over points they assume were completed. A detailed business process helps you avoid these errors by monitoring the work done, and the work yet to be completed, with a visual pipeline for employees to access.
Workflow analysis makes uncovering errors easy, as you’re now able to view documentation from the beginning of the process. Look at the workflow as a series of footprints you follow to retrace your steps. This strategy may feel like more work initially, but it saves countless hours and increases productivity and revenue down the road.
4. Assess Risks If Certain Steps Are Eliminated
A successful workflow provides powerful insight into the risk factors of your business and identifies the areas from which these risk factors originate. It’s not only important to assess what tasks are to be eliminated, but also to keep your organization in legal compliance. If your business process is automated using workflow software, it should provide a clear audit trail, viewable at each stage. An automated workflow allows for accountability from stakeholders at every level and works toward improving your organization.
5. Investing In An Automated Workflow Solution
Even with a business process in place, internal and external deliverables become disorganized over time due to corporate shortcuts and a lack of communication. Electronic management of procedures allows workflows to be reviewed, questioned and ultimately changed in a consistent fashion.
Automated business processes enforce the rules and regulations of a traditional workflow,while mitigating compliance errors by removing the human element. This system creates the shortest distance between process A and result B, helping departments collaborate more effectively. To accelerate your business processes, it’s beneficial to invest in an automated solution.
Electronic document management tracking guarantees that procedures are followed and makes internal processes more efficient.
Every business is different. Your company’s business workflow must address your specific needs, goals and objectives. It’s all about documenting the functionality and process of the workflow through defined steps. Implementing a business process by utilizing the five proven steps above is the best way to help your company reach new heights of productivity.
For more proven business process workflow tips and best practices, contact DocuVantage to schedule a conversation!