Workflow - a Definition

Workflow can be described as the flow of information and control in a business process. All organizations have numerous business processes, and some of these business processes are of crucial importance and key to the survival and growth of a business.

By managing these processes more efficiently, companies can reduce their costs and improve their product and customer service, giving them an important competitive edge.

Some basic examples of advertising business processes are estimating, purchasing, media planning, scheduling, time sheets, expense reports, production procedures.

Worflow is a plan that is meant to complete specific tasks that have at least two parts, first is the person or multiple people who perform the task or operation, the second is the mechanism, materials, software or hardware with which the activity is completed.

The combination of all these processes make up the ‘infrastructure’ of a company. Usually, this infrastructure is not documented, but just ingrained in the way people work. New people joining the company are simply taught the procedures and in turn when they leave the company, they (hopefully) teach their replacements.

Needless to say this is a less than desirable way of dealing with a company's infrastructure. To further improve and enhance the workflow process, it needs to be documented first, so that it can be reviewed and later updated and used for workflow management.

We look at workflow to:

· Streamline how work gets done, and applying individual skills to where they would work best.

· Decrease the cost of doing business by examining repetitive or similiar functions that can be combined or eliminated

· Provide accurate and current information, where computerized systems can be substituted for manual processes.

· Speed up the work processes to deliver faster service, without overworking the system. Introduce effeciencies can be introduced to reduce expenditures of time, money or materials.

· How supervision can be applied more proactively.

· Track, control and adapt the system as the company changes. Identifying bottlenecks that can be eliminated.

· Identifiying key cross-training opertunities, so that missing employees do not let production come to a halt.

· Streamline inter-department relationships.

My approach towards reengineering workflow and how work gets created can be summed up with the creating a system that is stable (i.e. easy-to-use) and scalable. I believe that by creating a stable streamlined environment to create art and ideas and by combining it with a scalable workflow system companies can handle almost any situation profitably. The workflow system within the agency should be easy enough to use so that at anytime you can increase or decrease staff without affecting the performance of the entire agency.

While there are many project management systems (online), the truth is it doesn't always have to be über complex or complicated. (Heck, one of the best systems I worked with in over fifteen years just utilized a massive whiteboard that everyone contributed to).

Simple systems can work if they help you, track key variables (not just milestones, but profitability), it keeps the team informed, and you update your internal stakeholders and your client.