5 Obstacles in Your Business’ Workflow

Workflow is the process of getting things done, it includes all aspects of the business, and any weak link can slow the process down. Workflow is essential to a business functioning properly. It accounts for a business’ inputs, how they are processed, and the output. It is a repeatable process involving tasks that staff need to complete in a specific sequence. Workflows are essential in maintaining standards and consistent quality output; however, there are several common obstacles to productivity, including:

  1. Approvals

Businesses often have a hierarchy of people a decision must go through before approval happens. If this takes too long, it can slow down the entire company. As your company grows, you need to make an efficient plan for approvals and make sure everyone meets deadlines along the way.

There is a lot of legwork involved when you try to get approval across departments, offices, cities, or countries. Some hurdles include:

  • Tracking a document. Many business processes have numerous small tasks that require completion before a document can move forward. If the business doesn’t have a system that can monitor a document as it flows through the organization, it will lose track of it.
  • A paper-based approval system is highly inefficient. The document will have to physically move from location to location along with multiple copying and reprints.
  • Departments can end up working in silos and not share information, goals, priorities, and tools. The lack of collaboration can hurt productivity and staff morale.
  • Some approvals initiate the next step in the workflow; if there is no approval, there will be bottlenecks.
  1. Shipping

Consumers want to order their products easily online and have an easy shipping process. Look into e-commerce fulfillment solutions if your business struggles to meet shipping needs. The software can help improve shipping for your business by:

  • Providing you with options for fast delivery and carriers
  • Make shipping calculations simpler
  • Provide you with discounts on rates
  • Improve your workflow
  • Provide real-time reports
  • Track shipping for both your business and customer
  • Efficiently handle returns
  1. Collaboration

Companies often need to collaborate across different departments or even states. Collaboration involves gathering individuals of varying degrees of skills, expertise, experience, and functions. A company should be able to gather teams for short or long haul projects to achieve set goals.

Communication is key to any collaborative environment. This is both a personal and organizational responsibility. The staff has to communicate ideas, criticisms, and reports with each other, so interpersonal skills are essential.

The organization has to create a culture and environment for collaboration. The organization must also provide the tools to enable teams to work together on a single project, even though they may be miles apart. If your business can’t achieve this, then it may become unproductive and inefficient.

  1. Hiring/Training

No business can operate without staff. Staff aren’t just bodies to fill the workspace; they are a productive resource. Your business should have a plan for how it will grow its staff and talent. Your business should streamline the hiring and training process to get the best results:

  • Start by anticipating the skills you will need in the future.
  • Conduct a skills audit to determine what skills are at hand and which skills they can attain.
  • Training needs to be constant as regulations, technology, and the business environment are constantly changing.
  • Create an environment that rewards results and collaboration. These are key for staff retention.
  • Form a straightforward hiring process to meet staffing demands, retirements, or staff turnover.
  • Create an onboarding procedure that smoothly eases new staff into the workplace.
  1. Documentation

Documentation is more than just piles of paper. They are data points of everything (and like employee information, inventory, profits numbers) your business has accomplished. They are not only necessary for regulation, but they are also essential for creating reports and projections for the future.

A more efficient way to handle documents is going digital. An organization can be paperless with today’s technology. Digital documentation enables your organization to do more within its workflow with less effort. For example:

  • Producing reports is quicker and simpler. You can make decisions using real-time information.
  • Regulatory compliance is simple since everything is a few button clicks away.
  • You can easily implement automation, which will bring new levels of efficiency and productivity to your organization.
  • Collaboration, especially over a long distance, is possible over platforms like Microsoft Teams or Slack. A team can work on a single digital document that will record every version of the document and allow members to communicate over the document.

Overcome the Hurdles

At each stage, your business will come across new obstacles that it must overcome. With the right tools, staff, and workflow, your business will be able to anticipate any hurdle and adapt to change. As you evolve, make sure it is for the better.

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