Advice

What Is Workflow Optimization?

How to Reduce Waste and Deliver on Customer Expectations

75 percent of all data loss is from human error. That’s far beyond an “oopsie!” With GDPR in full swing and other countries looking to strengthen how they manage data, companies need better solutions.

But this goes beyond data. In 2017, a study found that supply chain friction costs businesses 6,500 hours a year.

Errors. Unmet expectations. Wasted hours. This is what happens when people spend most of their days carrying out menial tasks rather than working towards meaningful accomplishments.

And menial tasks aren’t just boring; they’re expensive and often unnecessary. So, how can businesses reduce human error while maximizing productivity? With effective workflow optimization.

Workflow optimization is the effort to utilize software, technology, and strategy to reduce friction in the workplace so that seamless processes can occur.

But it goes deeper than that.

Workplace optimization restructures how businesses function. It lets machines do what they do best: compute. And it lets people focus on their strengths: complex problem solving and human interaction. By restructuring your business, workflow optimization allows you to reduce expenses and mistakes while boosting productivity.

How Workflow Optimization Can Benefit My Company

“45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies,” a McKinsey study revealed.

The average American spends 50 percent of their time at work either in meetings or scheduling meetings/responding to emails. It’s a massive problem.

And with your team spending a majority of its time dealing with back-and-forth, there’s very little time or energy to focus on what really matters for a business.

Innovation, exceeding customer expectations, and effectively handling complex problems when they arise is how businesses outlast the competition. And no team can be productive if they waste the day wading through spreadsheets while trying to keep track of email chains.

So, what’s the solution? Free your company from tasks that can be automated.

What Are Examples of Workflow Automation?

When you take a look at your business processes, you quickly see which tasks eat up your time. Far beyond the complex and insurmountable, these tasks are usually mundane and repetitive.

What’s worse, is your employees can often get lost in a sea of other chores. After all, how many spreadsheets and email accounts can most people manage daily?

Here are a few ways workflow automation can streamline your business:

  • Invoicing: Bridge payment systems so that when a client or customer pays, the invoice is automatically transferred to your accounting service.
  • Workflow Management: Set automated reminders to ensure team members are on track to meet deadlines while staying productive.
  • Lead Management: Move prospects through the pipeline by automatically reaching out to them when they show interest in your business.
  • Incident Reports: Automatically track and process technical issues as they arise until they are solved.
  • Project Management: Streamline the entire project management process from brainstorming to approval through automated frameworks.
  • Cloud Security Governance: Avoid data breaches using security guardrails that ensure all aspects of cloud-based infrastructure are in compliance.

What Tools Can Help with Workflow Optimization?

We’re limited by the hours in the day. And we have enough tasks on our plates. That means we don’t have the time to learn code. Luckily, the best workflow automation tools use visual interfaces and no code, low-code platforms.

The result is an array of solutions for workflow optimization that will empower your workforce. Rather than bombard IT with requests, your staff will be able to set up workflows with minimal training. This means your business can rapidly implement and start benefiting from effective solutions.

Two platforms we work with are Workato and QuickBase. We find that they provide easy access for businesses to quickly streamline workflow optimization solutions.

But there are others out there. Which one will work best for your business depends on the type of business you have and your strategy. And that’s where things can get tricky…

Where Do You Start With Workflow Optimization?

Improving your business doesn’t have to be a resource-intensive, agonizing experience. The key to successfully streamlining your business systems is to start by mapping out your processes.

You can do this with a whiteboard or a wall with some sticky notes. Your goal here is to put together an overview of how your business functions. Specifically, you’re looking for bottlenecks and slowdowns.

Note any area that has too many flows meeting at one point. And pay especially close attention to areas that require a person to manually move the process to the next stage. These are the areas you want to focus on.

After you identify the problematic areas in your growing organization, you can use low-code platforms to automate processes. From automatic approvals to data transfer, you can build the optimizations you need to breakdown bottlenecks, reduce manual entry errors, and successfully scale your business.

 

Author Bio:

Kevin Shuler is the CEO of Quandary Consulting Group, a team of tech consultants that specialize in business process management. They use integrations and automations to help businesses scale as they grow, giving them more time to focus on what matters most.

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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