Overview

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The value of the process of workflow and the role it plays in a business's success cannot be denied. Yet, a lot of people fail to comprehend the true meaning of workflow. They fail to grasp the concept and hence are unable to make full use of the benefits that it has to offer.

At first glance, the meaning of workflow might seem a tad bit complicated. However, once you dig deeper and comprehend what it's all about, its implementation won't seem so complex.

To put it in simple terms, workflow refers to the process which enables people to complete their work strategically and step by step. The process can be defined via a series of steps that have to be dealt with one at a time. And you can illustrate these stages in the form of a diagram or checklist.

As the name implies, it indeed does indicate that work flows from one stage to the other until the whole assignment is completed. The nature of workflow varies. Sometimes, you have to manage the entire workflow process on your own, while at other times, it involves other people too.

The most crucial benefit of the process of workflow is that it brings consistency to your quality.  It enables you to ensure that everything is done properly without fail. And it makes it easier for the whole team to be well aware of the information and policies implemented in the organization.

"All we are doing is looking at the timeline from the moment a customer gives us an order to the point we collect the cash. And we are reducing that timeline in the value stream by removing non value-added wastes." -Taiichi Ohno

Understanding The Meaning Of Workflow On A Deeper Level

So where did this meaning and origin of the process of workflow begin?. Well, the history of this concept goes back to the early 20th century. Two mechanical engineers of the time, Frederick Taylor and Henry Gantt endeavored to look for means to improve industrial efficiency.

Hence, they worked on many time and motion studies and measured how long employees took to complete a project or a series of tasks. The purpose was to then identify how wasteful motion can be eliminated. By getting rid of the redundant steps, employees could optimize their performance, and efficiency could be drastically increased.

Henry Gantt even came up with the Gantt chart; a bar chart meant to track milestones in a project. These charts continue to be used even today by project managers to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Of course, with time, the meaning of workflow evolved, but the basic Gantt chart remains the same. It continues to help employers and project managers streamline their different tasks and get work done efficiently. The chart essentially sheds light on three factors.

  • The tasks that need to be completed
  • Assigning the responsibility of each task
  • Time taken for completion of each task

With this information at hand, it becomes a whole lot easier to streamline projects. Indeed, the process of workflow also ensures that the right people are assigned to each task and are given adequate time for its completion.

Why Businesses Should Give Importance To The Process Of Workflow

Even those who understand the meaning of workflow and everything it entails are unsure if it's worth all the efforts.

"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. if you can't measure something, you can't understand it. If you can't understand it, you can't control it. If you can't control it, you can't improve it." - H. James Harrington

Understanding the meaning of workflow is important so that you do not miss out on the benefits it offers.

Get A Better Insight Into Your Business

Who wouldn't want to ensure that they have a clear view of everything going on in their business? Workflow is excellent for this purpose. When you map out all the processes, it further eliminates the chance that something has been left out or forgotten.

The process of a workflow gives you a deeper insight into every project that your company has undertaken. Hence, it becomes easier to figure out the areas that need improvement, in order to maximize profits.

Get Rid Of Redundancies

You will be surprised how much money and effort is wasted on redundant tasks in a company on a daily basis. When everything is laid out in front of you in clear terms, you can easily determine which activities are a waste of time and the ones that your organization really needs.

This process will make your business more efficient and valuable. It will ensure that your employees don't waste time on useless stuff and focus on what's truly important. This will undoubtedly reflect on your overall business performance too.

Reduce The Need For Micromanagement

No one likes being under constant scrutiny, and your employees are no different. It can be pretty suffocating to work under such conditions. But of course, it's necessary to keep an eye on the happenings. However, micromanaging is not really needed for this purpose.

When you map out the workflow, everyone knows his responsibilities and role in the project. They are aware of the time frame and deadline too. Hence they get a sense of accountability and are motivated to complete their work on time. As a result, managers don't have to micromanage everything.

This also increases job satisfaction and makes retaining your top performers easier. It will also do wonders for the relationship between employees and management as a bond of trust is established.

Better Communication Ensured

It's not uncommon for messages to be misinterpreted as they go from one person to another in a workplace. Poor communication can be a reason for significant loss for your company. Not only that, it can even give rise to many conflicts.

But all of this can be avoided with the help of the process of workflow. Workflow ensures that the processes are visible for all. Hence accountability is easily established, leading to much-improved communication. This makes day-to-day operations smoother and convenient.

Improved Customer Service

At the end of the day, every business endeavors to provide the best services to the customers. How else will it thrive? But if your company uses outdated manual systems, there's always a risk of valuable feedback from customers being overlooked.

This results in dissatisfaction among the customers who are then are inclined to look for other options. However, a workflow can come to your assistance and enable you to respond to your customers promptly.

Enhanced Quality

Naturally, it's vital to delegate tasks to employees based on their skills. However, most organizations fail to do that. But workflow enables you to give considerable thought to who would be most suited for each responsibility. As a result, there's a marked improvement in your overall quality.

How To Implement The Process Of Workflow In Your Business?

You are now well aware of the value and meaning of workflow. Naturally, you will want to implement it in your company to maximize efficiency.

Keep one thing in mind. Implementation of the workflow will require you to use some reliable, no-code, automated business process workflow software suited for your company's needs. This will make it easier for you to create workflows. Additionally, your employees won't have to think a lot about how to understand the workflow either. This will result in things getting done faster and with better quality.

"The thing is, continuity of strategic direction and continuous improvement in how you do things are absolutely consistent with each other. In fact, they're mutually reinforcing." - Michael Porter

The process of implementation typically comprises four steps.

  • Document the integral components of the current manual process your company uses.
  • Determine what kind of automated process you want to use
  • Find the appropriate tool for workflow automation (I recommend Excel and Trello)
  • Customize the tool as per the automated process your company needs and implement it in your workplace.

Fortunately, all workflows have the same components, more or less. Hence, there are minimal chances of confusion. Here's how things can proceed in various departments with workflow.

Start With The Approval Process

First things first, the idea has to be approved. Hence, this is where it all begins. A draft is created, which is then reviewed and forwarded to the manager.

If the manager finds something amiss, he rejects it and gives his reasons for the same. The document then has to be revised according to suggestions and sent again for approval. After the approval, it's forwarded to the stakeholders.

Figure Out The Expenses

Naturally, every project or task needs to be kept within budget. Every team, including HR, IT and sales, has to figure out their expense claim in the project.

The finance team uses workflow to review all these claims. They then have the expense form filled by the respective fields along with receipts. These forms are forwarded for approval. The business owner can then determine if the costs are worth it.

Smooth Entry Of New Employees

The process of workflow also makes the HR department's job easier. They can collect the employee's personal information and seek approval from the relevant departments within a short span. This ensures that everything is in order by the time the employee is scheduled to start the job.

Make Your Business More Efficient With Workflow!

Everyone wants to ensure that their business projects are concluded smoothly with no hindrances or delays. Workflow can be invaluable for this purpose. By implementing workflow in your organization, you can maximize the efficiency of all departments and ensure that everyone fulfills their responsibility to perfection.

"Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. Some people are on a mission. Celebrate them. Others wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them." - Bob Chapman

Therefore, if you want to streamline your projects, don't delay in using the process of workflow. It's more beneficial than you think!

Catch you on the flip,

-Noah

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