5 ways to optimise your workflows
Workflow optimisation is an ongoing process that ensures the processes you have in place are effective and supportive for your business needs. From scaling up, to expansion or coping with internal or market change, optimising workflows will help to improve efficiency and keep costs down.
What is workflow optimisation?
It’s effectively a process of improvement of existing workflows. Business workflows are the every day processes that are repetitive but essential to operations. Optimising them means looking for ways to reduce cost, improve efficiency and shorten the time it takes to complete those tasks. Optimisation may be necessary to cope with operational change – such as scaling the business up – or it may be a process that your organisation goes through in order to improve. There are many different options for optimising workflows – here are 5 of the most effective.
1. Integrating automated workflows with other software
Integration means that data can pass from one application to another, often speeding up processes and removing any gaps between workflows and other functions, such as HR or financial management. There are multiple optimisation benefits to doing this, particularly as it enables many otherwise manual functions to be automated – for example automatically generating an invoice once a purchase order is fulfilled.
2. Linking key data
An absence of data between one stage of a workflow and the next usually requires manually entry, which leaves room for errors and can be painstakingly slow. One very effective way to optimise workflows is to create links between forms and master data so that those using workflows have additional insights to operate from. For example, this could be replacing manual purchase request with an automated form that automatically populates certain fields and limits vendor choice to those that have already been pre-approved.
3. Conditional tasks
These are tasks that only happen in certain situations, for example when a particular cost threshold has been met. They streamline the process of specific functions within regular workflow, organising them so that conditional tasks can be used where there is repetition, as opposed to designing a new process for every situation. Conditional tasks can be used to create branches of workflow to increase efficiency too – for example, two fairly similar functions, such as creating blog content and marketing email content, can be optimised with two parallel paths under the same workflow to optimise the steps in their individual workflows where there is crossover.
4. Breaking down workflows
Rather than creating enormous workflows that cover an entire sales cycle, it’s often more efficient to break these down. So, workflow optimisation may involve individual workflows for the processes of sales orders and customer onboarding, for example, with each triggered by the workflow that comes before for additional efficiency.
5. Email notifications for more effective oversight
Instead of having key senior people involved at every stage in workflows, effort and time can be optimised by using email notifications at various stages. That way, those whose time is the most critical can intervene when they need to but otherwise remain focused elsewhere.
SunSystems offers key opportunities to optimise your every day workflows and improve overall performance. Contact FinanSys today to find out more about our workflow solution, KiSSFLOW.