Implementing a well-planned business process workflow is crucial to keeping your business processes on track so your organization can be more effective and efficient in meeting its objectives.
If you struggle with missed deadlines, products, and deliverables that are not up to scratch or even neglected tasks. In that case, this article will discuss how to implement business process workflow to help you overcome these challenges.
Before anything else, let us begin by discussing the initial concept of business process workflow.
What is a Business Process Workflow?
A business process is a collection of interrelated tasks that must be executed to achieve a business objective. It is a pre-planned routine to perform a specific objective in the most efficient time frame.
All businesses involve at least one business process. Planning and budgeting a marketing plan, for example, is a business process. In a restaurant, preparing and cooking its signature dish is also a crucial business process.
As you can see, business processes can be straightforward; however, they can also be very complex, involving different team members and even different departments. While managing a simple process might be pretty straightforward, it can be difficult for managers and executives to even know simple things like who’s working on what in a complex process.
This is where business process workflows come in.
A business process workflow is essentially a proper visual representation of the business process, commonly in the form of flowcharts or state diagrams (i.e., Kanban board). By having a visual representation, you and your team can easily see the different tasks and responsibilities with ease. Thus, it’s now easier for stakeholders and team members to track current progress and what future actions are needed to achieve the goals and targets.
Below is a simple example of a process workflow flowchart:
As we can see, process workflow flowcharts use different symbols that each represent different functions. Here are some of the most common flowchart symbols and their functions:
- Oval: oval shape represents a start or endpoint
- Arrows: arrows connect two different shapes, and the direction shows relationships between the shapes.
- Diamond: indicates a decision
- Rectangle: represents a process
- Parallelogram: input or output
Why Is It Important To Build a Business Process Workflow?
All forms of collaborations will naturally create a process (in this case, business process): tasks will be completed, identified, and recorded. Different individuals will assume roles and film a team, and we’ll begin to identify patterns that repeat. All of these will form a business process.
However, if you leave your business process in this natural form, you won’t be able to view it with optimal clarity. Thus you’ll expose your team to redundancies, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies, among other issues.
This is why it’s essential to define your business process workflow from start to finish. By properly visualizing your business process in a workflow, you’ll monitor everything with a bird ’s-eye view and make the necessary adjustments and optimizations to ensure your process is planned and executed in the best possible way for maximum productivity.
Using a business workflow builder, we can visualize our business process while including all tasks, assigning roles and responsibilities, tracking progress, and measuring performance. Team members and stakeholders can also know when the process needs to start or end.
In turn, this will provide more visibility and accountability to your business processes, ensuring predictability and efficiency.
How To Build a Business Process Workflow
While each business process is unique and might need different approaches, here are the common steps of building a business process workflow:
Interview key stakeholders that are deeply involved in the existing process. You’d want a workflow that can help them gather as much data as you can about the details of each task and collect feedback on how you should improve the business process.
Tasks should be fully detailed, and roles should be appropriately assigned so there won’t be any confusion about who takes responsibility for which task.
All effective business processes must be time-bound, and so it’s essential to be clear and specific when defining timeframes and deadlines. Don’t give vague headlines, and be as clear as possible. Instead of saying “Due Monday,” it’s better to say “11.59 PM Monday”.
Again, include as much detail as possible, but maintain clarity.
Assigning roles and responsibilities
In complex business process workflows, it’s often a wise idea to assign someone whose sole responsibility is to manage the workflow and ensure it’s running smoothly. This can be a project manager or a supervisor, and they must understand the business process inside and out clearly, and have the analytical capability to identify issues and bottlenecks.
Next, you should properly assign roles and responsibilities for the whole workflow while keeping in mind that the right people are doing the right job to ensure they are using their core competencies to help your company in achieving its objectives.
Now that you’ve got a general idea of what a business process workflow is and how you can implement it, you are properly set.
Next is how you can further use the business process workflow to improve your business’s productivity and efficiency, and you can:
- Start automating parts of or the whole business processes
- Identify and eliminate bottlenecks to optimize workflows
- Create more business process workflows to optimize your business further
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