Workflow management has long separated the most efficient companies from those that struggle to contain waste and ensure consistent productivity, and this fact has only intensified as operations have become a bit more complex in the digital, modern era. Businesses can either leverage new automation solutions to streamline workflows and drive the overall performance of operations, or run the risk of falling behind competitors who have already embraced novel technologies.
However, investing in these solutions but not putting in the legwork necessary to ensure they are being used properly and toward the most comprehensive advantage of the company would lead to poor results in practice. Rather, the selection and implementation of workflow automation tools represent the final stages of a deployment procedure, while the decisions contained therein should be highly informed through the objectives chose upon in planning.
Business leaders have the opportunity to quickly step into the modern era of management and oversight, so long as they are open-minded and ready to begin leveraging the most effective tools on the market per their specific needs and goals. The trick is to first understand exactly where inefficiencies are originating, which components of operations are leading to the greatest level of productivity and how to build off of successes to reduce the rate of failures.
In the end, taking the time to iron out a strong and modernized workflow management strategy will generally lead to more prolific performance across the board, and is an undertaking that has become more critical given the rapid evolution of market conditions. By following some of the best practices associated with workflow management and automation overhauls, the sky will be the limit for financial and operational successes in the coming years.
1. Break down the workflow
Whether your business has a workflow management strategy in place that has not been revised in a while or you are just beginning to set forth on a new plan, it will always be important to demolish the old so as to pave the path toward a fresh start. The fact of the matter is that the comprehensive optimization of workflow is contingent upon all moving parts working in concert toward a common goal, with leaders not allowing certain cogs to be missing from the plan.
As such, understanding how everything works represents the first phase of workflow management optimization, and business leaders will want to get all of their managers and supervisors – as well as well-tenured staff members from each department – involved in this stage. These individuals will often be able to offer the best insights regarding what needs to be covered and how to best adjust the strategy to meet the demands of the company.
2. Connect the dots
Once all of the moving parts have been identified and are well-understood, the next step is to break down silos and establish a webbing of sorts that will connect them all. This is critical to ensuring the most streamlined and consistent workflow possible, as well as allowing managers at various levels of leadership to clearly see and understand how everything is moving along.
There are plenty of pieces of software that can be used to drive the proficiency of these connections and the overall intelligence of the programs. However, before beginning to provision solutions, having a set plan in place will ensure that you are making the right purchasing decisions and are capable of aligning the investments with objectives perfectly and efficiently.
3. Establish metrics
How will you know if your workflow management plan is operating properly without having a comprehensive plan in place to measure performance? In short, you will not. This is why developing a metrics system that allows supervisors to quickly, accurately and efficiently monitor performance across departments is critical to ensuring that operations are moving in the right direction and toward the attainment of objectives.
One trick is to establish the metrics at least partly off of the old workflow management process, which will provide the company with a baseline by which further advances can be compared.
4. Invest in workflow automation
Once the plan is set, all of the managers and other leaders involved are happy with its contents and the measurement systems are in place, the stage is to invest in the right workflow automation solutions. These technologies have been in high demand throughout the past several years, meaning that the options available are voluminous and diverse, allowing companies to choose ones that most closely align with their specific needs.
Work with a vendor of workflow automation software that is not tied down to only one product so that you can get the expert guidance and support necessary to make the most financially and operationally advantageous purchasing decision.