An organization has a number of workflows built into the way that various operations are managed. These workflows define how certain actions are initiated, how they are approved, what data needs to be gathered, collated, reported and at what frequency.
Effective workflow management entails creating a consistent but agile process to easily and systematically handle such workflows, and automate the workflow management as much as possible. Technology is applied so as to prevent repetitive, manual working that leads to unproductive use of human resources as well as frustration among them.
Workflow Automation should be able to quickly adapt to changing business priorities with a clear objective to support the business vision. To achieve these objectives, many businesses are turning to automated workflow management solutions. Workflow automation systems can positively impact your bottom-line in the following ways:
- Improve the productivity of human resources
- Increase revenue realization as important business processes such as invoicing, enquiry handling, service request fulfilment etc. are processed faster
- Enable better management decisions based on timely and accurate data
- Enhance compliance through proper approvals and processes and protect from liabilities arising from non-compliance
- Protect the organization from a variety of fraud
Workflows of all business functions, HR, finance, production, IT, sales, support and more, can be automated. Here we’ve given just 3 examples from different functions. You could start by reviewing some of these business processes that will be a drain on productivity if done manually. Consider whether these workflows could be automated:
- Recruitment processes:
Who creates a requisition for a hire? Who is supposed to approve it? Who is supposed to take action and what specific steps? Within what time frame?
With a clear answer to these questions, you will be able to visualize how the Workflow Automation system for recruitment will work. The system should meet the needs of various stakeholders, provide information in the format that is required, enable tracking of activities and reduce work and delays. All this goes towards more efficient hiring with less effort.
- Sales or Inventory reporting:
Are you collating sales and inventory data across different products or locations? If yes, and if you are using spreadsheets to do this, then the chances of revenue leakage are very high. Workflow automation can help to capture data easily, through technologies such as mobility and barcode scanning. This data can then be analyzed and reported to the different stakeholders according to their needs. Management gains from far better visibility into the sales operations and increased accuracy of revenue realization.
- Production data:
Many manufacturing industries today produce part of the product in-house, usually the part that is their core expertise, while many other parts are given to specialized sub-contractors. There is a need to manage the different jobs given to sub-contractors, maintain records of acceptance or rejection, ensure the inventory supports the planned deliveries, and track vendor payments. Surprisingly, many organizations depend on spreadsheets or paper registers to manage all these operations. Workflow automation can streamline these processes, provide far better accuracy, visibility and control on production, and also increase the efficiency in inventory management.
Automated workflow management systems also deliver rich human resource dividend as employees are happier and attrition is reduced. In all these ways, Workflow Automation delivers real business benefits and great return-on-investment.