Workflow management, in its broadest sense, can encompass all of the processes and tools used to optimize and streamline the operations of a business, but the term is generally used to refer specifically to software systems designed for enhanced productivity, including business process management (BPM) tools, content management systems, and document management systems. Though the best workflow management systems can prove costly, there are certain benefits associated with these tools that many companies find worth the investment.
1. Reduced Need for Manual Labor
Automation software can provide employees with the opportunity to work on non-repetitive tasks. This allows employers to expand the skill level of employees, and gives those employees the chance to work in more involved aspects of the production process. Automated workflow gets the same job done faster and without human error. Rather than using automation to replace current employees, it can be used to make their workday more interesting and productive, improving the company’s overall morale.
2. Improved Accountability
In an office setting, business process workflow solutions can be quite helpful for management. Most employees do not respond well to micromanagement, but sometimes a better option is not available. Today’s business process management software clearly shows which tasks are required, who is to perform them, and when the task should be completed. When the task and goal at hand are clearly defined, management does not have to intervene until it is absolutely necessary. This improves relations between management and staff by removing personal consideration and opinions from any issue. Databases can also store a record of what has occurred in the system, allowing management to audit behavior if necessary.
3. Streamlined Processes
Improved business process workflow management can provide valuable insight into the steps that go into a process. For example, automation software such as Intellect may be able to determine when two tasks can be completed simultaneously instead of sequentially. Users may also discover that some steps are unnecessary, which allows companies to make more informed choices on who should perform specific tasks based on relevant skills, rather than who happens to be free at a given time.
4. Improved Communication
Sometimes an office can run like a game of telephone. Automation software allows for the elimination of paper chasing, which makes the office greener as well as more efficient. In turn, this reduces the company’s turnover rates, as poor inter-office communication is often cited as a main reason for quitting a job. Tracking software gives employees a way to clearly see exactly what is happening and what needs to happen in the future. This visibility and candidness is essential to keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly.
5. Shortened Project Durations
New workflow management systems accelerate the time between starting a project and having it approved internally. Management can set the software to notify employees if a deadline is approaching or has been missed. Team leaders can also make sure that all employees are immediately made aware of any new projects, guideline updates, or changes in scheduling. All of that time adds up quite a bit in the long run, providing the company with the momentum to move on to new projects consistently.
Deciding Whether a Workflow Upgrade is Right for You
There are some challenges associated with switching over to a new workflow system. If you feel like your office or manufacturing facility is regularly meeting or surpassing its goals successfully, it may be best to leave well enough alone. However, if you believe an overhaul could take your company to the next level, there is no better time than the present. Be sure to do your research before you implement any drastic changes, and be open and up front with your employees about any changes that may occur.
Picture Attribution: “Workflow Puzzle Shows Structure Flow Or Work Procedure” by Stuart Miles