Small businesses don’t have the resources, expertise, and experience that can be compared to what larger companies have. However, this should not prevent them from considering the idea of investing in a workflow management system. The benefits are likely to be considerably greater than the investment, especially for those who are into manufacturing and retail or those that have higher likelihood for expansion.
If you are a small business owner, the following reasons should convince you to invest in workflow management software.
1. Guidance for Inexperienced Business Owners
Not many realize it but workflow management systems can actually be helpful in adopting processes or strategies that can improve business operation or create a dependable framework for operations. This is because workflow management systems have been collaboratively developed with inputs from people who have had years of experience in running efficient businesses. They incorporate best practices and are designed to guide inexperienced business owners on how things are supposed to be properly done.
Many workflow management software come with features designed to get more customers, save time and resources, enable more organized operations, and make billing and reporting more efficient. While they can be customized to suit the specific needs and circumstances of an enterprise, they have default configurations that serve as a guide for those who don’t know how certain aspects of a business operation should be undertaken. A workflow management software, for example, may provide a purchase order system that gets rid of double entries, segregates items in a purchase order across multiple jobs, and ensure accurate job costing and billing.
Another important benefit of using a workflow management system is the ability to automate. Business process automation is something even small businesses can benefit from. It helps reduce the need for personnel, facilitates operational consistency, improves the accuracy of records, and ensures that time-sensitive tasks are promptly and properly completed. Automating workflow reduces administrative errors and brings about improved business efficiency. Moreover, it allows a business owner or its employees to focus on more creative and decisive ventures.
In the marketing and customer care aspect, for example, automation makes it easy to keep track of customers and to implement certain actions that will encourage the customer buy again or become a repeat customer and eventually a patron. Records regarding the transactions made can also be automatically transmitted to concerned authorities like the one responsible for billing to quickly update company records and produce reports. Automation makes it easy to analyze business operations, see trends, and prepare for risks and potentials for expansion.
3. Elimination of Redundant Processes or Activities
Redundancies can be easily detected and addressed if a workflow management system is put in place. This does not mean that it’s not possible to spot redundant tasks or functions without using a workflow system but it is much easier to see unnecessary functions or processes in a business operation if you have a system for managing workflow.
Bear in mind a startup business operation starts simple, with fewer activities to oversee. A manager or owner may not realize that as the business progresses, more and more activities need to be handled and it’s not uncommon to fail to see redundancies emerging. Through a workflow management system, the entirety of a business operation becomes easily visible so it’s easier to implement changes that will get rid of unwanted steps, functions, or activities.
4. Operational Expense Reduction
The incorporation of best practices, automation of processes, and elimination of redundancies ultimately help lower the costs of operating a business. Without a doubt, when properly used, a workflow management system can lead to savings as less resources are used to achieve the same goals or objectives. It also helps that there are some workflow management systems that come with integrated business tools. WorkflowMax, for example, already comes integrated with Xero accounting functions. That’s one less major software to acquire to properly run a business.
5. Ability to Quickly Respond to Issues or Problems
Greater visibility of business operations is something a workflow management system provides. This means that it’s easier and faster to oversee the affairs of a business. As such, if problems are encountered, it takes just a few clicks or keystrokes to locate the problem. Once the problem is traced, it also becomes easier to formulate solutions since the apparent reasons why the problem emerged can be easily tracked in the system. Small businesses must always be fast reacting to problems so it is definitely an advantage adopting a system that readily shows the entirety of a business operation even when it is still at its infancy.
6. Better Way of Handling People
It’s worth emphasizing that workflow management software are not just meant for processes and resources of a business. It also helps in ensuring good personnel management. Because it helps keep things in order, people working in a company work in an orderly manner and issues are avoided. Rules and deadlines tend to be clearly established and adherence to them automatically becomes compulsory because the workflow management system will not work without it. Employees cannot argue that they failed because others failed to do their duties because everything can be traced in the system. If people don’t cooperate, the system fails and the business owner is forced to undertake drastic actions.
Yes, using a workflow management software entails some costs. The benefits, however, clearly outweigh these costs especially in the context of having a goal of not just maintaining the business but also expanding it. The reasons discussed above should help you decide to invest in a good workflow management platform.