5 steps to making work flow

by Ricoh Australia 23 March 2018

Whether you’re a parent trying to process a payment online for a music lesson or a manager in a Fortune 500 company scanning contracts to the cloud, chances are you both are going through a well-planned workflow process, designed to make task completion easier.

Workflow is essentially a series of steps that need to be completed sequentially to be able to successfully complete a certain task.

Before designing a workflow you first need to map the business process and understand what actions are required in each step, who is responsible for the step, whether an individual or a group.

Once the business process has been articulated and documented you will be able to design the workflow and apply business rules and time lines to each step and decision point within the workflow.

On the surface designing a workflow may seem fairly simple, however an element of critical design thinking needs to be applied to identify possible bottlenecks. The aim is to build a system that seamlessly integrates with other line of business applications, automates manual tasks and streamlines business processes.

Team working together on computer

At Ricoh we have devised five key steps to developing a workflow model that streamlines processes:

  1. Define your objectives
    Is your organisation attempting to streamline business processes to reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, or improve access to information? Before embarking on analysing your workflow model it is critical to clearly define the objectives your organisation wants to achieve by embarking on a journey to streamline the underlying processes that form the foundation of your business practices.

  2. Map the process
    Identify typical processes that will benefit most from workflow upgrades, these are usually tasks that are labour intensive, require a high degree of accuracy and speed, need to be cost effective, and have an impact on customer satisfaction. Once steps for process redesign have been identified solutions can be mapped out to reduce duplicating steps, or create a process where certain steps can be done in parallel.

  3. Assign roles & responsibilities
    In mapping out the processes your organisation should be able to effectively assign responsibilities for the completion of certain steps and processes within the workflow model to roles within your business unit.

  4. Simplify tasks
    In deconstructing the processes in your workflow model you will realise that some steps are simple sequences, some work in parallel while some may be duplicating. Once you have identified a pattern of processes that need to be accomplished in a particular order you can begin to design a flexible workflow model that speeds up processes without losing efficiency.

  5. Identify tasks that can be automated
    Identify roles that are data intensive and achieve a high level of efficiency by removing the human element from the process. Once you have identified these roles, investigate the appropriate workflow solutions that can be implemented to automate the role and integrate well with the remaining processes.

It is important to remember that each organisation has unique business processes with different business objectives. At Ricoh we have extensive experience in working with organisations to identify their workflow requirements. Our consultations are aimed at finding solutions that integrate with your organisations critical business processes by removing inefficiencies in your workflow model.

The five steps presented above are a basic step by step guide designed to help you analyse your current workflow requirements and upgrades, and assess whether you require a one on one consultation with one of our experienced workflow specialist to help you get ahead with greater speed and efficiency.