Creating a healthy workflow management system involves setting up several automated steps in a regular business process. It can be a painful task (with few volunteers) but there are several good reasons for which organizations need to consider the implementation of such a system regardless of any initial pushback.
One example of implementing a workflow management system that ultimately transformed their company, was Toyota. Toyota adopted the techniques of Ford’s assembly line so that they themselves could develop a lean and effective production system. This was done in the 1950’s and for all the years prevailing they have witnessed several benefits of a workflow management system. Some of which historically included:
- A huge increase in productivity between 300-400 %
- An increase in the productivity of all labor by almost 25% each year
- The rate of defected pieces fell from more than two thousand to less than 50 parts for every million parts made. There were also several instances when the defected pieces fell to an even lower range of less than 10 for every million parts manufactured!
- The cost of quality was cut by more than 60 %
- The inventory of work in process goods was reduced by more than 80%
These stats are huge and turned Toyota towards generating profits in multiplied rates.
Moving forward, here are 10 great reasons why organizations why you should adopt an efficient and effective workflow management system today:
1. A workflow management system can help in significantly reducing any and all of the unnecessary steps and processes in a job.
2. Once the number of steps has been modified, the job or process can be made much more efficient – reducing costs and the time consumed to complete a whole job. For example, some steps, after careful consideration, can be worked on together simultaneously instead of working on them sequentially.
3. Different tasks can be assigned to area expertise and those skilled in performing that specific task instead of allocating just anyone to perform the job. Following the latter, you can seriously damage your quality and compromise your efficiency.
4. Instead of focusing on the day to day operational tasks or the several processes taking place in the organization, the management can focus on the strategic business oriented activities. For example, they can focus on employee training and performance appraisals instead of monitoring the processes and their progress along with task allocation for different people. So basically, it can help the business to expand and grow if implemented adequately.
5. Workflow management systems also have the provisions of answering different questions about deciding on the tasks which need to be done in a process. For example, what needs to be done, who is this task being done for, how long is the task supposed to take to complete, who are the other people involved in this process, what will be the outcome of the task and several other similar questions. When an employee doesn’t have to ask his head or peers for advice and suggestions, it improves his/her work confidence levels. This, in turn, reflects significantly on the quality of the results.
6. Workflow management systems follow a series or sequential orders in order to ensure that all necessary steps have been completed in a proper manner and all the checkpoints have been cleared before taking the next step forward. This especially removes any chances of human error in the different work processes.
7. Paper chasing and paperwork is eliminated completely and this helps in saving a lot of time and waste of resources. When you have an automated system which involves minimal paper handling and a quick travelling time you will be benefitted in many more ways than one. A constantly moving workflow also means that as soon as one of the workers has finished their task, the next can immediately be undertaken. Therefore, it doesn’t sit around or get lost – reducing the work in process inventory significantly.
8. Workflow management systems also significantly improve the visibility of your organization. Tracking the different processes from a single place can allow staff members to check for any discrepancies or problems in the flow and you can even monitor the critical processes to identify any bottlenecks and resolve the issue immediately.
9. Workflow management systems can be smart enough to represent human decisions like those which were determined by those people who initially made the workflow. These rules can also be based on the organization’s rules and regulations.
10. Whatever occurs in the system, including errors and corrections, are kept under record to track the progress of the processes and how effective the improvements were.
Try it out! Take a ‘Toyota’ leap and tell us about your experiences, achievements and roadblocks. It may be surprising to some but we really do love hearing these stories! Tell us yours.