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Introduction

Today's businesses are suffering from internal processing jams.  They hardly review their processes, continue to complain about the inefficiencies, but never make a change and insist "That's the way we have always done it."  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!

That workflow and information plays in the ongoing success and future growth of their business.  Even though you may have existing processes and technology in place, it important that you take a deliberate and strategic approach to assessing and updating your workflow processes to meet the changing needs of the business, your workforce and the information requirements of the future.

Improving your company’s workflow is the single most beneficial boost you can give your business and how you manage your workflow says a lot about your business.  We've provided a short Workflow Analysis below:

 

Schedule a Free 30-Minute Workflow Consultation


What is Workflow?

This is WORKFLOW: the movement of documents, associated tasks and the decisions that are required to be made to run a business.

Every department in your company has workflow processes, whether you can seem them or not.  Here are a number of workflow processes your company has across those departments.

Examples of common workflows are:

1.  Purchase order/ sales fulfilment workflow

2.  Expenses approval workflow

3.  Invoice processing workflow

4.  Employee HR on/off boarding process workflow

5.  Approval & escalation approval workflows

6.  Application submission workflows

 

Tallega Automates all of these Workflows for Our Clients with our ECM Solutions

RELATED ARTICLE: Is ENTERPRISE or OPEN-SOURCE ECM better for your company?

 

The Cost of Your Current Paper-Based Workflows (No Automation)

Below we compiled a list of the potential hidden costs of the traditional paper based workflow process: 

1.  Stationary supplies - Manila folders, suspension files, clips, stickers, labels, staples, desk trays, envelopes, stamps etc.

2.  Costs of filing cabinets or other filing cabinet systems.

3.  If the workflow starts electronically (e.g., received by email), you may have to print it out (paper, toner & printer costs), in order to begin a manual workflow process. e.g., Email order, Invoice, quote etc.  Then there may also be additional paperwork that may need to be stapled to this document including checklists

4.  If the workflow starts as paper e.g., mail or fax - additional photocopying may be done, so it can be shared amongst other parties or maybe an additional copy as a backup in case you don't ever get it back. (print, toner, printer & filing costs) There may also be additional paperwork attached with the document e.g., Checklists.

5.  Whoever has the document or file is the only person who can continue to work on the file, and therefore this slows down the workflow and adds additional labor wastage following up where the file is. This is even more costly when other staff in the workflow are located in another business location, and are waiting for the documents to arrive to continue their tasks.

6.  Courier & postage costs need to be taken into account if documents are moving from remote branches back to the head office and vice versa for approvals or to continue in the workflow.

7.  Due to paper workflows having little or no document control, you have potential for costs if the documents are lost (e.g., labor, phone calls, travel to get them signed again etc.) Also with no document control, you will find that it will be increasingly difficult to meet any compliance requirements.

8.  The process is very inefficient and slow, which results in additional payroll costs. (requirement to have to work out who does the next step, and then have to put it on their desk, in a pigeon hole or courier it to the next person)

9.  As the documents in the workflow are physical, there is generally no security controls in place to make sure that only the approved staff are able to view the file, and as such there is no audit trail.  In some industries, the wrong people viewing the files can cost the business financially.

10.  Workflows that rely on paper are also very difficult to make staff accountable, as you have limited evidence about when it was given to them to complete and also very little visibility of where is is up to in the workflow process.

11.  Other staff in the office will find it difficult to find the status of a workflow, in order to fulfil a request from the customer, and as such will require additional labor & phone calls to get the current status update, as there is generally no system to record the status updates.

12.  Once a document is finished in the paper-based workflow, it is generally filed locally for a period of time, then archived onsite or offsite and then at some point goes through a destruction process. Main costs here would be labor costs, valuable commercial floor space, offsite storage costs and then destruction costs.

13.  Customer experience would be different from each interaction and as such you may pay the ultimate price which is the loss of clients. Paper based workflows are renowned for tasks falling through the cracks

14.  Requires each staff member to know who to pass the file to next, and if this is incorrect, then it further delays the process.

15.  No real way to measure that service level agreements are being met to vendors or customers.

16.  Not getting available discounts from vendors or additional late fees due to the time it takes to receive the invoice, get appropriate authorization to pay the invoice and then actually pay the invoice.

17.  Workload balancing between available staff can be difficult, and if staff are away, it may be difficult to figure out which tasks are still outstanding.

18.  Increased "soft costs" of decreased staff morale & customer satisfaction.

19.  It actually costs your vendors and customers more to do business with you if you have traditional paper-based workflow business processes, therefore you would assume that with a workflow system, you would assume that your clients would see more value in doing business and as such would be prepared to pay more for your products or services.

 

Benefits of a Properly-Built Workflow Solution? (Partial/Full-Automation)

1.  Workforce productivity is increased in such areas as client response rates, shorter time to market, reduced cycle time and collaborative efficiency gains. In short the process would be quite considerably faster. A more efficient productive and error free workflow means a greater revenue stream.

2.  By implementing a workflow system as part of your strategic business plan, it gives you a strong foundation for analyzing current performance, internal and external trends, benchmarking and provides opportunities for growth and expansion.

3.  Structured process that provides a repeatable efficient workflow system. This also ensures your processes are handled in the most timely & professional manner.

4.  Reduced environmental impact (less paper, toner, etc.)

5.  Ability to identify & remove unnecessary steps and/or processes.

6.  Ability to assign tasks / documents concurrently to two or more staff members to speed up the process.

7.  Save on printing costs, as there is no need to create additional copies for filing, or give to other members of the workflow.

8.  Documents are secured, so you can view an audit trail if there are any issues.

9.  Ability to be able to escalate after a certain time frame, if a task hasn't been completed.

10.  Allows you to benefit from a more cost effective operation of your business which allows you to streamline and maximize the availability of your resources.

11.  Easier & Faster to find documents

12.  Greater capacity to fulfil services or provide products, with the same resources.

13.  With automated workflow systems, you have a much greater consistency, that the first task in, will be the first task completed, if possible. Therefore the customer experience will be similar. This is achieved by either assigning the task to multiple staff members and first to accept takes responsibility, or by implementing a workflow queue, that staff members request the next task from the queue.

14.  Cheaper for your clients to do business with you, then your competitors, as they have more confidence in your ability to deliver, and you have systems in place to minimize bottlenecks or to provide an early warning so alternative options can be put in place.

15.  Better ability to forecast labor requirements by understanding the current workload of all staff members.

16.  Tasks can be routed to the most appropriate staff member for the job. In some cases it may not be the most skilled staff member, as they may be required to assist with any escalations or more difficult tasks.

17.  Workflow systems reduce the occurrence of human error, as they have an ability to be able to check for available answers or validate the answers.

18.  Decisions that previously would need to be made by staff, are able to be automated by the workflow engine, as it has the ability to lookup external tables, or make decisions based on index values or available data. Therefore there would be payroll savings.

19.  Automated workflow systems allow you to evolve in order to remain competitive, as the market changes and this also sets you and your staff for success.

20.  Compliance is much easier to achieve with a workflow system, as in order to implement a documented process would have been created.


Schedule Your Free 30-Minute Workflow Consultation with Tallega

We will indentify and cut out the wasteful steps in your Workflows


Summary:

If you do not regularly plan internal workflow processes at your company, you are missing the opportunity to shave numerous costs.  Tallega will help you indentify those areas of concern, build an action plan, and help you reap the benefits of automation at your company.

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