Streamlining Your Processes and Workflows
Every day, business users execute a series of steps to accomplish different processes. Business workflows are typically repeatable and occur whenever data is passed between humans or between a human and a system.
In addition, workflows define the path for accomplishing something within an organization, whether transforming data from one format to another or turning raw material into a finished product. By learning to streamline your workflow processes, you put your organization on a path to better efficiency.
What is Streamlining a Process?
Workflows help ensure that we get essential processes right every time. Remember, a workflow only describes the step taken to execute a task. A process can encompass a lot of different things. For example, many companies have business processes in place to help with onboarding new employees. That can include making sure workers turn in all required forms or receive packets going over their benefits.
So, what’s the meaning of “streamlining processes”? When you streamline business processes, you remove any unnecessary steps or manual work. For example, a company can simplify invoice creation by ensuring the process consistently executes the same steps. That way, anyone who needs to perform that function for the business can run the workflow the same way each time.
When you take the time to streamline workflow procedures, you reduce the risk of making critical mistakes. For example, adding a step to the onboarding business process workflow that accounts for conducting a background check helps protect a company from bringing in someone with red flags in their background. Other areas where organizations often streamline process workflows include:
- Automating follow-up emails for marketing
- Ensuring smooth product delivery in operations
- Resetting passwords for users within IT
- Discovering and managing assets throughout an enterprise
- Project managers send task notifications for projects
- Compliance area issuing for documentation purposes
By taking the time to streamline workflow automatically, businesses can handle large quantities of information consistently. That improves operational efficiency and makes sure workers spend as little time as possible handling tedious manual work.
What Are the Benefits of Streamlining Workflows?
Using a platform like Integrify to streamline business processes helps reduce errors, speed up progress, and enforce accountability across business units. Getting rid of unnecessary work helps employees feel more engaged with their jobs. Other advantages an organization can gain if they decide to streamline processes workflow include:
- Improving communication and coordination among teams
- Boosting efficiency, agility, and productivity across the organization
- Helping businesses comply with industry standards
- Outlining the hierarchy of who holds responsibility for different tasks within a workflow
- Simplifying employee training
How to Streamline Your Workflow
1. Examine and catalog your current processes
The first step in coming up with ways to streamline business processes is listing each step and performing analysis on each. That includes understanding how different business processes work in various areas of your company.
Next, doing a deep dive into your current business functions helps you know where you may be going wrong and identify opportunities for improvement. Make sure you take time to speak with process owners and those tasked with performing the work. Incorporate their feedback into enhancements you wish to make to current business functions.
In addition, you should gather and review all supporting documentation to gain clarity on all supportive steps. Look for factors that hamper the effectiveness of the current process. Finally, look for ways to fill any gaps and improve the current workflow.
2. Break the process down into smaller steps
Once you understand the current business function, you can start breaking it down into more manageable pieces. The more you can simplify your workflow procedures, the better your chances of streamlining the entire business process. Keep going until you find a path to achieving your desired outcome.
3. Establish work priority
Reorganize each process based on its importance to the company. Then, come up with a ranking procedure that works for you. For example, you can rate each business process on a scale of 1 to 10, with items labeled one having the highest priority. That way, you can properly maintain your workflow and consistently achieve ideal outcomes after each completion.
4. Maintain documentation
Regardless of their experience or understanding, no one can remember the steps or procedures of every process workflow. That’s why it’s important to lay out every step needed to effectively carry out the work in each step. It doesn’t always have to be outlined in a formal document. All it takes is having a notepad next to you to outline each step within a current workflow.
Make sure you capture what’s actually happening and provide evidence of what’s occurring. That way, you can ensure that streamlined workflows function as they should without unexpected issues cropping up.
5. Automate workflows
Once you’ve accurately captured all the steps necessary to carry out a business process, turn that information into automation using a work management solution. Integrify’s workflow builder makes it easy for users to turn their research into automated workflows that carry out essential business functions.
6. Test out the new automated workflow
Once you’ve turned your documentation into an automated workflow, test it out and evaluate the effectiveness of your improvements. Watch how it functions in a live business environment. Make modifications as needed to ensure that it works properly.
Once you’re satisfied with how your workflow functions, start rolling it out across relevant business areas. Make sure that workers understand the changes underway to understand how it benefits their role in the company.