Workflow for Compliance

compliance

Why comply?

Ask yourself this. How would you feel if an organisation that held your personal information was poorly secured and managed? What if a security breach meant that all of your private details, passwords, addresses and credit card details were leaked, and the company refused to be held responsible for the loss of personal and valuable information?

This is why compliance is critical in all businesses and we will explain how workflow can assist with managing compliance.

Compliance management is a critical component of the internal control process for any organisation. Whether it is compliance to meet internal corporate procedures or external regulatory requirements, effective compliance will aid the organisation to avoid criminal charges, build a positive reputation, higher productivity and generate a positive working environment.

Workflow for Compliance

The overall purpose of a workflow is to divide business processes into smaller steps which can be passed to different people within (or outside) the organisation. This usually involves creating a document, submitting to a reviewer, pass back for amendments and so on. These steps may repeat several times before the reviewer is satisfied to move on to the next stage.

Workflow software can ensure that all necessary steps are undertaken, enforce control processes and verification of information. Tracking and monitoring of processes and approval checkpoints ensure that steps and information are not overlooked, missing or incorrect.

Quality Checks

Quality Checking involves reviewing all of the factors in the workflow. The purpose is to review for completeness and accuracy.  It helps to identify and remove incorrect tasks early on; so that only the correct tasks are progressed and additional time is not wasted.

The reviewer will analyse the information to ensure that the details were completed correctly. The overall aim is to check that the provided information meets the set requirements.

Requests for information, send backs, and approvals with any comments or instructions can be communicated via alerts. The advantage is that each task can be immediately actioned when received and no time is wasted on follow ups.

Approvals

The Approver will inspect that all information is correct and complete before passing the information forward to the next process. Approvers can make decisions on whether to progress, request further information or reject altogether.

Workflow provides Approvers with the ability to request additional information, and approve or decline if it didn’t meet the requirements and provide reasons.

The Approver has the opportunity to evaluate the staff based on their experience and skills. From their analysis of the staff, they can then allocate the tasks to the most suitable individuals, which will ultimately increase the likelihood that the tasks will be carried out correctly.

Auditing

The audit log keeps record of all transactional events that occur within the system. An audit log can store all data entries including create, update and delete information.  It can store the timestamps of the transaction along with the user who performed the transaction.

These can be permanently stored so that every transaction captured can be reviewed at any time by the administrator. The logs can be used to trace the proof of origin, changes, inserts or deletions and who, when and how they were actioned.

 

Workflow follows a consistent approach by requiring frequent approvals after important tasks and at major checkpoints. Workflow can guarantee that new employees follow the procedure and don’t make costly mistakes.

It also ensures that employees cannot  cut corners, provide false or inaccurate information, or bypass procedures in the workflow.

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10 Benefits of Workflow

Toy car

There are multiple reasons to consider using workflow in an organisation, as it can automate and improve processes in all areas of a business.  The most notable example of workflow being the assembly line (as previously presented), helped to shape the standard of workflow, not only for car manufacturing but for all industries.

The Toyota car company adopted Ford’s assembly line in the 1950s to develop their own lean production system. Over the following years, the benefits of their system resulted in:

  • Productivity increases between 300% to 400%.
  • Labor productivity increased an average of 25% a year.
  • Defect rates reduced from over 2000 to less than 50 parts per million, and in many to less than 10 parts per million.
  • Cost of quality cut by over 60%.
  • Work-in-process inventory cut by more than 80%.

So here are 10 good reasons for how workflow can benefit any business:

  1. Workflow can help by identifying and removing the unnecessary steps/processes.
  2. Modifying the order of the steps can make the process more efficient. For example, some steps could run simultaneously as opposed to sequentially.
  3. Tasks can be assigned to the people with appropriate skills to perform the task, rather than allocating to anyone who needs work to do. This is a compromise in quality!
  4. Management can concentrate on strategic business oriented activities, rather than the day to day operational tasks, such as task allocation and monitoring progress. This means the organisation can grow as a business.
  5. Workflow has provisions to answer all possible questions that arise when deciding on or actioning a task. This helps an individual’s work confidence level, which in turn reflects in the quality of the outcome.
    It answers question like: What actually needs to be done?, Who am I doing this task for?, How long should I take to perform this task?, Who else is involved in the process?, What will happen after I action this?
  6. Workflow follows a sequential order. It ensures that all steps have been completed correctly (especially areas typically prone to human error) and checkpoints met before moving forward.
  7. Paperwork and paper chasing is eliminated thus reduces wastage and saves time. Automatic routing with no paper handling and fast travel time will significantly cut time. The constant movement of the workflow means once a person has finished their part, they can immediately pass it on, so it doesn’t sit around where it can get forgotten or lost.
  8. It improves visibility. Tracking can allow a staff member to instantly check the status of the item. It allows the key people to see the critical processes at every point, identifying problems, and bottlenecks, and monitor end to end performance throughout.
  9. Decisions that were determined by people can be made by the workflow, based on businesses rules that can be made to represent human decisions.
  10. Since the workflow is linked to a database, it keeps a record of what occurs in the system. An audit trail shows who, what, when and what actions were performed.

In summary, workflow provides major benefits for any organisation. The ten identified are just some of the many benefits of workflow. It makes an organisation become more efficient by helping to save time, remove wastage, cut out unnessecary work, better use of human resources, which overall saves money and will help an organisation to grow and improve.