Everything that happens in your business is a process – every day, every week, every quarter, every year – whether you’ve documented it or not. How well you and your team manage and execute all the different processes in your business can have a big impact on how efficiently everything runs and how profitable you can become. This plays a big part in how your business is valued as an asset – either by a financial institution, or a potential buyer.
Tasks, processes and workflows: What’s the difference?
Building a robust operating system for your business starts with identifying and recording all the different things you and your staff do from day to day. These form formal and informal processes that you can represent as workflows.
Tasks are the different activities you do through the course of the day to get work done and generate income (directly or indirectly).
A business process is a series of tasks you carry out in sequence to reach a repeatable goal. This could be fulfilling orders, producing a monthly sales report, setting up a new client account or any other of the hundreds of processes that businesses perform every day.
Workflows are a representation of your business processes in the form of a diagram or flow chart.
What’s so important about workflows?
Creating workflows for all your processes makes it easier for your team members to carry out work consistently across the business.
A workflow may involve more than one person in completing a process, at each different stage. With clearly defined workflows, each person in your team can contribute to improving and refining the overall process, as well as the end result. You may even discover steps, or even whole processes that you can automate, which means you’ll be operating more efficiently, reducing costs, and boosting profits. Plus, you’ll have more time and money to invest in creating more value for customers, in the form of new products or enhanced service levels.
Workflow management systems
The idea of “what you can measure you can manage” is one of the underlying principles of developing clear processes for your business. It’s an idea Michael Gerber emphasises in his book “The E-Myth Revisited”. In his book, Gerber also argues that business owners should “let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go, but the systems remain constant.”
MYOB ERP software lets you deploy systems right into every operational area – meaning
- you can enforce specific workflows to ensure the right data is captured
- each step is carried out correctly before the next one can proceed
- approvals and reporting processes are streamlined
- data can be shared with other business systems like CRMs, HRMs, MRPs, EDIs and ecommerce platforms, reducing the amount of data entry and the risk of errors.
Quality through workflows
In the course of creating processes and workflows, you identify all the things that go into each task to produce the right end result. These elements will include things like people, data and systems, but there’ll also be factors like conditions that need to be met, additional decisions that need to be made, and how each step feeds into and affects the rest of the flow.
Your processes and workflows shouldn’t be set in stone. Rather, they are a dynamic part of your business that need to adapt to change as readily as your team members.
A clearly documented workflow gives you and your team the opportunity to focus in on the different parts and actively find ways to improve, refine, and even automate how your business operates. As well as helping you manage your business’s growth in a sustainable way, it also puts you on a quality assurance path that lets you create more value for your customers, and may even lead to formal quality assurance certification.
Boost your business’s value
If you’d like to learn more about how workflow management systems can give your business a boost, get in touch with our in-house experts. We can help you get started with planning your workflows, or help you assess and evolve what you have in place, to optimise your business.