Managing the lifeblood of a business: A complete guide to workflows and how to manage them efficiently.

If you are a business owner, then you very well know the importance of managing your processes. You’ll have to mix and match processes in different sequences to get a single job done.

For instance, let us take a look at how a basic purchase process happens in an organization.

This process has to be repeated every time a purchase is made, and can be referred to as the material purchase workflow.

 Workflow management and its benefits.

A workflow can be defined as something that defines and facilitates the execution of business processes based on pre-defined rules. The act of managing how the information and authority flows from one business element to another inside a process is called workflow management. From small shops to enterprises, workflows are an integral part of operations.

There are many benefits to having a workflow management system in place. Some of them are:

  • Process flow clarity: Setting up rules for process flow lets individuals and the management make informed decisions and track the progress of a task at a given time.
  • Work distribution efficiency: Workflow management facilitates efficient use of resources when completing a job. It lets the management study the different elements of a process and allocate resources according to the workload on each.
  • Operational uniformity: It also ensures that processes follow the same sequence independent of personnel. This makes it easier to train new employees on how a process should flow.

Do you need Workflow Management Software (WMS) for your business?

Growth in business is driven by the desire to do things faster without compromising on quality. While a manual workflow management process is a step in the right direction, you need Workflow Management Software (WMS) as the next step. Why? 

Each workflow in your business will have many repetitive tasks that can be automated. For example, in a store when the stock of a certain item is low, an email can be triggered to your vendor. Or at the end of the month, a sales report can be automatically generated and emailed to the relevant audience inside the organization. These tasks consume both time and labor. WMS are specifically designed to perform these tasks.

Benefits of WMS: 

Error elimination: Task automation will lead to a drastic increase in operational efficiency by getting rid of the chances for human error. 

Easier auditing: Automated workflows make it simple to track the time spent on each task and see their bottlenecks. This in turn helps in continuous improvement of the process. 

Enhanced mobility: WMS come with the option to access work and perform tasks while on mobile.

Increased productivity: All of the above characteristics of WMS lead to a phenomenal increase in the output of your processes. They also let you assess efficiency of your processes. 

What are the steps to set up WMS?

When designing a workflow management system for your business, there is a time-tested sequence you can follow. 

The primary focus should be on listing all the processes, including the smaller ones, of your business. Then you’ll have to prioritize these processes on the basis of the importance they have with respect to business operations. Once a priority list is made, the next step would be to divide a process into its sub-procedures. This step would give a better idea of what needs to be automated, along with input from the personnel who are actually involved in the process. Once the automation process is done, you’ll have to test it many times so as to ensure that the automated process is glitch-free, and keep improving on it as operations commence.

You can repeat these steps for all your business processes based on priority.

What is the most important quality of WMS?

The next step would be choosing a WMS to automate your processes. The main criteria when doing this is to see if the software that you choose can be used to automate all your processes. There are many off-the-shelf software that can automate one process or another, like sales , recruitment , finance, etc.  

But, very few have the ability to adapt to how your custom processes work. A good WMS should be able to blend in with your processes.

How does Zoho Creator solve all your workflow requirements?

You can build applications for all your workflows on Zoho Creator, be it sales, inventory, finance, etc. All you have to do is build applications for storing the data of each of your processes. You can use the drag-and-drop form builder and start configuring the workflows for each of these.  

The workflow builder is designed so that you can:

  1. Build and configure a workflow using point-and-click actions for most of the common use cases, and with minimal coding in other instances. Take the example of configuring email notifications for a sale; in the workflow builder of Creator, all you need to do is to visually select an email workflow, then choose from the options. Your workflow will be ready without writing a single line of code.
  2. Design no-code approval processes into the workflow builder. In processes like a purchase process or an employee leave request process this will come in handy.
  3. View all the workflows with regards to an app from a single place. This way you can organize and check if all the required workflows have been implemented in the system.
  4. Build custom workflows in case of processes unique to your organization. For instance, if you are a custom bicycle builder like Mission Bicycle and follow a unique process of order management, you can replicate it using Zoho Creator’s workflow builder.

Stop waiting!  Hop on in and start automating!


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