Use workflow to deliver on time and in budget

Over the last week and a bit I’ve explained what is workflow, and how you can use it so that things don’t get lost in the system, and as a manager that’s all well and good. But no doubt what you really care about is how using it will allow you to deliver your products both on time and within budget.

This is the third and final part of my series on workflow.

Read Part 1 – What is Workflow and Part 2 – Avoiding Workflow “Lost in the System” here.

When a client chooses to use your organisation, be it purchase something, be it use a service which you offer, there is a couple of things they expect in return. The first is that you will deliver the goods or service within the quoted price, the second is you will deliver the goods or service within the time frame offered.

Delivering within a quoted price may seem easy enough if your offering fixed price quoting. Here you simply quote a price and that’s what you charge your client. But if you don’t keep track of what is going on at every stage of provisioning that order? You can easily lose your profit margin. You could even end up subsidizing the order. Of course if you simply charge on time and materials, whilst you will be protected if something goes wrong, I doubt you’ll have a customer at the end of charging them multiple times what you’ve quoted.

Delivering within a quoted time-frame can present its own set of challenges. Unless your business is no more complex than picking up something from the room out back, you are no doubt going to be reliant on others. Be it arranging logistics, or arranging a person to do the work. At every point there is a potential for things to go wrong.

How often do your employees only get you involved once the proverbial has already hit the fan? In my experience, employees tend to be optimistic over the outcome of problems, and /or fear that escalating a problem up the tree could reflect poorly on them. Consider taking the job of escalating issues out of the hands of the employee and getting a workflow system to do it instead. It means that a manager is notified whilst an issue is small and they are then in the position to prevent it from becoming a big problem which costs big dollars to fix.

A good workflow system can handle any metric you wish to use, business rules can also be used to start determining the meaning behind raw data. The status changes to delayed, you’re notified, the status is not changed from pending delivery to delivered within the required time-frame, you’re notified, a comment is placed into the system with certain keywords, you’re notified. The earlier you get management involved to deal with problem cases, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Now if you’ll let me indulge in one paragraph of advertising, MBITS builds custom systems. We have built systems which notify managers when teams fail to do the require tasks, we have built systems which have allowed managers to cross reference against contractors claims, we have built systems which have saved our clients much  more money than they originally paid for that system, and are still getting the benefit. Feel free to ask us what we could do for your business.

So over the next week, look where in your processes are you potentially losing money and / or your delivery dates are slipping. Could implementing a workflow system, which notifies managers when things don’t go to plan help your business?

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