Even though there are multiple interpretations of the term workflow, we can define it as a series of chronological business activities through which every piece of work passes from its beginning to completion. Here is a simple example.
A few years ago, researchers studied how the workflow is managed within an operating theater. Based on the different roles nurses and doctors have, they removed all inconsistencies and standardized their roles. Once the new approach was explained to the staff and applied, the results were great- the overall productivity was improved significantly.
In other words, your organization is like a Swiss watch. Every person, activity, and resource needs to have a clearly defined and precise role in order to deliver the desired results. This is especially important in optimizing the flow of documents among your teams.
How the concept of the document workflow changed
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the whole idea behind the document workflow was different. Once an employee finished their part of the job, they would simply put the document into a large envelope and send it to another person to review it. Within the chain of similar activities, one document was distributed from one department to another until it finally ended up in the crowded rows of file cabinets, among hundreds of similar documents. So, reviewing the document, tracking its progress towards completion, or making immediate changes was almost impossible. Not to mention how easily paper documents were lost in the shuffle.
Then, the digital era was born, making the management of document workflow much simpler for both small and large businesses. Here are some of the major advantages of incorporating document workflow management into your business operations.
Improving the organization within your teams
Effective employee management is the foundation of any organization. And, if it’s not executed properly, it can lead to massive confusion, dissatisfaction among employees, and a greater employee turnover. Precisely because of this, you need to simplify your business process and document workflow.
Your staff members will work cohesively and know what their roles and responsibilities are. This allows an uninterrupted transmission of the work among different teams and, above all, improve their collaboration and communication. On the other hand, when the operations are running smoothly, project managers can focus on other important aspects of the business strategy that can lead to faster growth.
Minimizing the risk of failure
Difficult-to-use business rules and the lack of organization may hurt the overall workplace performance. By automating and managing the flow of your documents, you will set some predefined rules that need to be followed, eliminate unnecessary guesswork, and reduce the risk of human error. Above all, you will boost the transparency within your teams, track changes in real-time, and make sure that all projects are delivered on time and professionally.
Providing invaluable audits
In any business, continuous assessments are a necessity. They allow you to see what strategies are delivering results and show you how you can improve them in the future. Above all, you can detect the major pain points in your business systems and eliminate them over time. And, this is where the automation of workflow management comes to shine. With the help of the right software, you will have a greater insight into the progress and completion of each task and be able to monitor employee performance effortlessly.
How to Optimize your Document Workflows?
Creating a connected and efficient strategies for managing your document workflow is no easy task. In fact many organisations work with third party providers who can advise and reshape systems, technology and processes for them to create a more simpler document workflow.
Start by determining the major challenges your business faces. Is this the poor flow of information, the lack of collaboration, or maybe long invoicing processes? Keep in mind that every company has unique organizational issues. And, until you identify them and set clear goals, you won’t be able to optimize your workflow effectively.
Secondly, automate your document workflow by investing in the right workflow software. With these automated tools, you can organize and share files effortlessly, improve your team’s communication, increase the transparency of your actions, and allow your employees to act promptly when the need arises.
Thirdly, make sure you set clear rules from the very beginning. As you could see from the example given in the introduction, the standardization is the pillar of workflow optimization. It eliminates the room for guesswork and variance, assigns strict roles to each team member, and lets you optimize various processes, from accounting to invoicing. Still, always ensure that setting overly strict rules doesn’t harm the creative aspects of your business, such as marketing.
Give your Business Processes the Boost They Need
Even though it may seem tedious or overly expensive to you right now, the early optimization of document workflow is a long-term investment. Always keep in mind that your business processes need to be improved gradually. Be patient, invest in the right resources, and automate your workflow carefully.
Remember what Bill Gates said: “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”