Although I’ve written about other companies’ business improvements with workflows for many years, I am often made painfully aware that even there are no simple tasks in the routine work. Actually, business improvements begin from the desire to do our jobs efficiently.
Business improvements are not easy, but you can improve operations by focusing on their workflows.
In this article, I’ll introduce 5 ideas for improving your business by focusing on the workflow.
What is a workflow?
A workflow refers to a series of sequential tasks. For example, a salesperson’s task of receiving an order for merchandise can be expressed as “reception, orders, and shipment, or the task of production of advertisements can be expressed as “reception, production, review, and delivery”.
A series of sequential tasks like those mentioned above becomes easier for you to understand when you draw it as a workflow diagram.
5 Types of Workflow Improvements
« To point out what needs to be improved »
In the case of Web page creation:
- The problem in the workflow shown in the example is that the checker is not able to tell the creator about how to improve the deliverable.
- The solution for this challenge is to add a flow to make it possible to send the task back from the checker to the creator, to let them know what needs to be improved. The article above shows two ways to do this and the differences between them.
« To remind members of their mistakes »
In the case of inquiry handling.
- The problem with the example workflow in this case is that an answer that contains a fatal error can go unnoticed.
- The solution for this is to add a flow to let the task go back to the other members so that they can check the answer. Ensuring the response is checked has three benefits including risk reduction.
« To let anyone start »
In the case of a mistake explanation report.
- The problem with the example workflow for this operation is that any errors may not be reported.
- The solution for this is for the task to be started upon a supervisor’s instruction. Anticipating various starting points, like one from a subordinate, will build a better operational environment.
« To be processed in parallel »
In the case of a product development operation.
- The problem in this example workflow is that a plan requires a lot of time to get the approval through several teams’ assessments because the assessments are done in sequence.
- The solution for this is to allow the « assessment » Tasks to be processed in parallel. Thus, the time required to get the approval will be reduced.
« To decide to respond »
In the case of inquiry handling.
- The problem with this workflow is that even if the content is not an inquiry, it still must be addressed.
- The solution for this is to create a new flow that allows no action depending on the contents of the “inquiry”.
In this article I introduced business improvement ideas focusing on Workflow.
The workflow diagrams used in each example are drawn in a cloud-based workflow system called Questetra BPM Suite.
A workflow system provides an infrastructure to enable business operations to be executed in accordance with a workflow diagram. The system has the following functions:
- Business communication according to the workflow diagram
- View and enter business data in Tasks incorporated into the workflow
- Check the progress of cases and backlog in a graphical representation
Questetra BPM Suite provides a 60-day free trial. Why don’t you start by creating a workflow diagram to improve your work?