Approval Process Workflow Management
One of our customers recently asked us a question during our presales activities.
“How can I inform my Stores person on what he has to do today? What Invoices, he should be packing and shipping to which client? I can’t send an email every time or call him what to do. Can your ERP handle this communication problem?”
“This question put us into thinking how can we help our customer, as it seems a common problem?”
Approval Workflow Example
Our customer faces the below process on the regular basis and needs to find a solution. It involves 2 to 3 departments and their decision and inputs required before taking next steps.
In this workflow, the business requirements are as below
- Sales Order is created and sent to Managing Director for the approval.
- Once MD approves the document, it goes to Finance Department to check and approve whether we have received the Payments as per the agreed “Payment Terms”. The payment terms could be “50% advance” or “100% advance” as per the Sales persons negotiation.
- Finance department approves the document.
- It comes back to MD to reapprove.
- MD will release the document to Stores / Production department to work on the next steps.
This is an Approval Process WorkFlow that helps to identify who is the next person to decide, when and how to decide etc. Only on the approval, the next action starts.
How these Workflow management tools are different from Traditional ERP tools?
Traditional ERP does the following activities.
- They are Data centric and not a Process centric like define masters, Control data setups and use them for the transactions.
- Do the transactions and store the data and related information.
- Capture these data and act on it. It ensures that right data is available for the right people to act and work on it.
- All these data are stored and generated in multiple MIS formats for the management to understand and act on.
- It interconnects the departments, its activities and smoothens the process.
But, the traditional ERPs were never
- An alert or decision making systems. Because we can do data analysis after the data / transaction is done and not before these data are produced.
- A workflow management process or Business Process management (BPM)
- Communication engine between different departments and define additional data movement and controls.
- Controlling business process based on end users criteria or as per their needs.
What is Approval Process Workflow?
What’s the difference between “regular Process” and “Workflow process”.
The traditional way of Process is, where we have an idea on what to do next once the first operation is completed. In Business, we receive the Materials after Purchase Order is made. Else we would ask our managers to make a Purchase Order, such that you can receive the materials. The challenge here is, there is no “Proper Communication” between 2 departments.
However, Workflow process can help you to decide the which activities to be done, and when it should be executed. This could also help you to involve other departments and their inputs to make a decision process. This helps to find the bottlenecks in the process and how to improve it depending on the importance of the activities and the resources availability.
Benefits of Approval process Workflow management tool
When we started analysing the details, the real business challenges to match the customer expectation are as below.
- Each customer wants his own process, control mechanism.
- Each one has his own workflow and approval process — for example each can have his own process.
- Some wants to create a Sales Order, Check with Finance whether they received money or not? After receipt then confirm SO and release to production.
- Some customer has a process of take an order and check with Stores whether these items available to confirm the Order with customer. Here based on the SO Amount, the approval authority could change by Director or Unit heads or MD.
- The workflow has to be flexible as each one can have their own status comments and with their own “wordings”
- Sales Order created
- SO Created and approved.
- How to integrate the same with ERP and make sure it too understands these “Word Based”action commands?
- How these comments makes sense to their Internal Teams and how they work seamlessly?
“This is where ACTouch.com’s Business process management or Workflow Management Engine is defined”
Workflow management or Business process management (BPM) tool should be central to business needs and helps the Business to manage their complex internal communication process and action to happen based on some trigger etc. This helps company’s efforts to improve the process and efficiency. Workflow Management tools and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) been used for many business integrations. Both technologies can help with business process automation, data transfer, and information sharing, the technological approach and features of solutions provided.
Advantages of Approval Process Workflow Management
A. Business process is divided into multiple components.
- Your business process is divided into multiple components and each one is managed by different department to approve and accept.
- Each department has to accept or agree before the next activity can begin.
- Each business components are logically connected with time bound work.
B. Hard-wired ERP modules are converted into WORKFLOWS based on your NEED’s
Move away from the Traditional Data centric activities to Process Centric activities. Based on the Business process and controls, each of the business components are used and reused.
Activities are Time based and it gives alert on who has to act and before which cut-off date etc.
Workflow Management helps the business to redefine their process to reduce the frictions and reduce wastage of time.Activities are moved into self-automation mode and helps management to find the bottlenecks and the process that needs to be simplified.
C. Improve communications and intercompany relations.
Beautiful dashboard helps the business to see the work to act on it and every department has their own visible work to act.
D. Enhances the customer communication and creates the activity visibility to management.
In Summary, ACTouch.com’s WorkFlow Management features helps SMEs with
- Improve Accountability of who is responsible for the work, when to finish.
- Improve Team work and Communication. No more confusion or “I didn’t know” or “I didn’t receive any information” etc.
- Add value to the business process and improve the Customer delivery.
- Helps to remove the Bottleneck in the process and remove the challenges.
- Improve customer delivery and happiness.