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Streamlining Success: The Importance of Workflows

Streamlining Success: The Importance of Workflows

By Jim Harkless
workflow (Photo credit: smws)

Many business leaders make the dangerous mistake of assuming their particular field can’t grow and learn from modern, effective abstraction and analysis in order to improve productivity and efficiency. Whether it’s because they’re relying on what they see as tradition or tried-and-true tactics, or because their industry is labor-intensive and not data-driven, many leadership teams don’t immediately recognize the many benefits from analyzing existing workflows, establishing new workflow protocols, and constantly tweaking and updating them in order to create the best processes for their companies.

A workflow at its core is a visual representation of the efforts put forth by your front-line employees every day. It’s insignificant whether that consists of operations teams in a warehouse or sales forces banging away on computers all day long; instead, what’s important is that you are able to visualize and manage the processes your people follow to achieve sales and all-important profits. A company that fails to analyze its processes inevitably fails to capitalize on them.

There are many different approaches to building new workflows or evaluating existing ones, and it’s up to you and the leadership team to discern when is the right time to go about the task. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll have to decide how to go about it: should you manually collect data, take suggestions from workers, and implement in a patchwork fashion as you go? Perhaps a better approach is to gather all available data up front and consolidate everything you’ve learned using cloud-based project management software.

The beauty of the latter method is that you get to take in all that valuable analysis as part of the bigger picture. Knowledge is power, especially in business, and knowing exactly what the capabilities, resources, and necessary tasks are for each of your workers is priceless if you wish to truly compete. Only when you’ve been able to absorb the data can you implement changes to workflows that will streamline your procedures, saving costs and boosting the bottom line as you’ve perhaps never thought possible.

Another significant advantage of modern project management systems for establishing and maintaining efficient workflows is the high level of adaptability they offer. Modern systems such as Basecamp, Workzone, Clarizen, and other Microsoft Project alternatives allow for on-the-fly tweaks and adjustments to the processes for all your important projects and day-to-day workloads. Logging onto these systems is simple and can be done from nearly any computer or smart mobile device on the market, allowing unprecedented access and control over the procedures and processes that keep your company running smoothly.

The bottom line is that if you haven’t yet established workflows at every level of your organization, you could be totally blind to cut corners, inefficiencies, redundancies, and other profit killers. If you already have workflows, be sure they are up to date to meet the demands of your key customers and bidding opportunities.