A business process workflow is a streamlined user experience guide for a repeatable process. Generally, it is used for activities that follow a specific sequence of events.
These interlinked steps lead to a targeted goal set by the organization. According to research, the most common way that SMEs manage processes is with software/ individual systems (41%) or on spreadsheets (30%). Thus, the goal of using process workflows is to improve business operations, decrease the number of redundant processes and activities, and swiftly shift to new issues or problems.
This is especially important as a whopping 94% of employees say they perform repetitive tasks. However, 12% of managers admit to staying on top of processes and tasks ‘in their head’, and 6% follow processes on paper. This is inefficient and prone to error. Designed to streamline repetitive and tedious tasks, they are often used in onboarding or administrative duties.
As a visual guide, it stands out from other methods of instruction or training like a manual or recipe guide. Undoubtedly, business process workflows are implemented in business operations to best aid managers and employees.
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Importance of business process workflow
Business Processes are used by organizations to automate, streamline and make efficient various processes within the organization. They successfully allow organizations to achieve better productivity, efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction, cost reduction, and more. BPM is an umbrella term for various software solutions that are used in managing business processes and workflows. Business process workflows help innovate traditional approaches and solve the following reoccurring issues:
- Improve business operations
- Eliminate redundant processes and activities
- Reduce operational expenses
- Automate processes
- Quickly respond to issues or problems
Here are the business process workflows that every organization needs:
Digital asset management workflow
Digital Assets are data pieces that are uniquely identifiable, stored digitally and provide value to the designated company. Digital content, such as images, logos, videos, documents, and metadata all serve as digital assets as they are used to produce value. Whether for internal or promotional purposes, implementing a digital asset management workflow focuses on streamlined storage, organization, sharing abilities, and growth.
By using a digital asset management workflow, creation and editing are supported through automated approvals, reminders, task and editing reassignments, delegation features, and more. For example, when a new digital asset is completed and placed in a designated location, another team member will automatically receive a reminder to review it. Active collaboration between employees can be improved through integrated task lists, comments, and progress. In the distribution process, approval processes and workflows can operate much more efficiently. Consequently, only approved designs can move to the specified location.
The approved digital asset can be tagged with relevant metadata and stored in a central location. In a traditional approach, distribution includes a tedious approval process and various passive conversations. With a streamlined series of tasks to complete throughout the creative, editing, and distribution process, digital assets can be utilized in a more swift workflow and improved transparency between teams. This is a must have business process workflow for creative teams.
Expense Approval Workflow
Most organizations have outdated and inefficient expense approval processes. Typically, each employee of the company would create a spreadsheet of their expenses, dates, and documentation support. A finance professional is then recruited and manually checks over the expense form and information provided. They will then approve, deny and readjust the claims appropriately according to the company policy. This timely manual procedure is prone to error and redundant
Thus, streamlined workflow management for expense approval is easy to follow and improves company productivity. For example, including a business automated expense approval workflow can assure that only relevant claims can be submitted. Inappropriate claims would be automatically directed back to the employee and would include a statement to reevaluate company policies or include more documentation. Claims that surpass the designated threshold are directed to a manager for approval. All calculations and manual reviews between receipts and notes can be completed automatically.
Not only does this save the finance professional monotonous work, but it also improves communication between the accounting department and anyone that has company expenses. Employees are now more likely to claim reimbursements, ask questions and understand organization claim policies; thereby improving business rules. The accounting department will be able to communicate about any reoccurring issues picked up and marked by the structured reviews. This business process workflow will help manage one of the most crucial aspects in managing a business effectively.
Shipping and Receiving Workflow
Efficient shipping and receiving workflow is vital in Supply Chain Management. Without a streamlined procedure, there is a high degree of error, inaccuracies, and losses in profit. Without proper structures, there are anomalies in available inventories, inadequate inspections, and missing items. Thus, strict procedures must be implemented to ensure the survival of inbound and outbound processes. Improved business rules can decrease the approval process and minimize the number of instances of contact with a manager for approval.
For example, by having an automated system, customer shipping complaints can electronically be submitted and directed to a trouble-shooter inbox. This decreases the number of approval steps. Similarly, promptly identifying your own or another company’s packaging errors makes a huge impact on company reputations and relationships. By creating an automated system that employees can directly report to, teams can most accurately address the mistakes and implement techniques to prevent them from happening again. Artificial Intelligence ensures that less employee time is required to complete each task, increasing productivity and decreasing human errors.
For example, delivery specifications can be instantly adjusted, information can be instantly shared among devices and clever transportation visibility can be offered to clients. Utilizing Shipping and Receiving Workflow systems saves employees time and prioritizes customer satisfaction.
Vendor Management Process Workflow
A Vendor Management Process Workflow creates a structure for businesses to efficiently record important tasks and procedures as it relates to vendors. This business process workflow includes onboarding new vendors, organizing contracts, purchasing inventories, approving requests, and communicating with current vendors. This central organizational tool allows all parties involved to efficiently walk through integral servicing tasks.
When initially communicating with vendors, using active management systems allows for two-way features so that clients and vendors can work collaboratively on projects. With the ability to monitor tasks, there is a direct channel for feedback, changes, encouragement, and questions.
Managing a large amount of paperwork, contracts and other necessary documents is vital to efficient communication. Through a digitalized workflow software, incomplete or improperly filled out applications can be automatically rejected and returned to the vendors. Automatic comments and reminders would play a huge role in the maintenance of documentation, saving time for employers and vendors. Creating a structure specialized in approving products and payment requests largely benefits company relationships. By creating a progression-based approach to tasks, payment requests purchase orders, and expense forms can be automatically pushed forward in the approval process. Connected updates strongly improve organization, ensure positive vendor-employer relationships, and simplify new vendor opportunities.
Incident Management Workflow
Incidents occur as unplanned events that can disrupt or largely reduce the quality of a service provided. Examples of incidents include a business application crashing and becoming inaccessible due to potential bugs, an incredibly slow webpage that hinders company productivity, and network leaks.
Coming in all shapes and forms, it is critical that incident management workflows are implemented to securely and efficiently problem-solve. Whether it be an employee phone call, a software notification or a physical encounter, incident responses heavily depend on identification followed by a recording. Reporting an incident is fairly simple and includes incident logs such as the name of the person writing the report, the date at which the incident is reported, a description of what occurred, and an assigned identification order.
Luckily, they can also be done from any location. By using this automated business process workflow , properly completed documents can then be easily and safely categorized in a logical and intuitive category. In the future, the document can be analyzed for trends and patterns to prevent future problems. From there, teams are able to prioritize the incident and respond. This specific business process workflows through an initial diagnosis, focus on escalation, investigation and diagnosis, creating a resolution and work on closure.
Sales Approval Workflow
Sales approval workflows are systems designed to help sales teams’ complete routine tasks. These objectives include reaching out to leads, doing cold calls, consistently following up with clients, and more. The goal is to decrease the amount of time that a team has to complete paperwork or administrative tasks. Instead, the focus will be shifted towards doing meaningful work to improve company productivity.
In quotation workflow, custom orders can instantly be communicated to managers. With a quotation workflow, an employee can enter basic information and basic cost suggestions into a form. Once completed, this can be automatically directed to a manager’s task list, finalizing the price much faster. In the discount workflow, larger or more specific discounts can be easily discussed. With conditional steps, certain requirements must be met before moving along each approval stage.
That way, managers can focus on the clearest discount terms and come to a firm decision. Similarly, in an invoice workflow, artificial Intelligence and external checkers can review the invoice for typos, formatting issues, and incomplete signatures. An automated process assures that costly human errors are avoided. All Sales approval workflows work together to improve communication between stages of the approval process.
Document workflow is a structured process used to “capture, generate, edit, approve, store, retrieve, retain and destroy” files related to business operations. A digitized document tracking system decreases the number of approval requests, works as approach process optimization, and creates an organized approach to task completion.
Examples of paperwork implemented into a document workflow process include purchase orders, invoices, proof of delivery receipts, payrolls, supply chain information, vehicle-related files, and more. Having an organized and classified structure is extremely important to track documents passed between departments, assuring that approval requests are reached, and edits are verified. A proper document workflow covers everything from pre panning before its created to post publication promotion strategy for the article, usage permissions and everything in between.
This is especially important as businesses are generally documented heavy; Documentation in business process workflow is essential to customer satisfaction and profitability. The goal of this process is to automate repetitive tasks, automatically alert employees and project members on uncompleted jobs and provide active performance metrics.
Various business workflow processes have been implemented to ensure consistency, efficiency, and communication between large networks of people. By utilizing automated software, digitized spaces, and artificial intelligence, companies can drastically improve productivity. Digital Assessment management workflows maintain efficient collaborative environments in the creation, editing, and distribution stages of digital assets.
Expense approval workflows ensure timely expense and claim readjustment while improving accounting department morale. Shipping and receiving workflows enhance communication and organization of all products throughout various approval stages. Vendor Management workflows create a system for simplified professional relationships between vendors and employers. Incident Management workflows focus on developing a quick reporting, categorization, and problem-solving system when running into unexpected events.
Sales approval workflows are implemented to simplify steps and consistently update various sales teams. Finally, Document workflows are used to organize a variety of essential documents in operations. Overall, implementing workflow processes is strongly encouraged to improve business agility.