Senior Writer: Hiba Ali
Workflow Analysis is a process that improves operational efficiency by examining an organization’s workflows. It pinpoints areas of improvement, such as redundant tasks or processes, inefficient workspace layouts, and bottlenecks in the workflow.
A workflow helps teams achieve their goals by organizing tasks and helping them achieve them. They keep business functions running smoothly and provide a way of breaking down complex processes so that we understand how work is done.
Considering markets, technology, customers, and monitoring workflows are crucial for businesses to grow continuously. As a result, workflow automation and analysis tools have been in demand, with the market estimated to reach US$ 78 billion by 2030. Check out this article to learn how workflow analysis can boost your company’s productivity.
What is Workflow Analysis?
Workflow analysis refers to the process of analyzing a business workflow diagram. In addition to streamlining business operations and improving productivity, workflow analysis enables the elimination of unproductive tasks.
Users can improve customer service, employee collaboration, and business revenue using workflow analysis. Workflow analysis helps users with the following information:
- Duties that are ineffective and futile
- Automating workflows to improve performance
- A weak workflow
Most organizations rarely use workflow charts, believing they are a waste of resources and time. However, workflow charts can be handy tools for workflow analysis. You can use it to analyze processes, identify issues, eliminate errors, and improve them with better options.
For example, many organizations avoid creating business reports because they’re tedious. However, a company that automates its creation into a simple form can save resources and time.
Why Do You Need Workflow Analysis?
A hard reality hits as everything changes, from customer needs to technological progress to market scenarios. Keeping up with all these changes is essential. By conducting a workflow analysis, you will gain a better understanding of your processes, ways to improve them, ways to comply with regulations, and ways to engage customers.
It is essential to streamline all your manual processes and make them more efficient, as well as automate your business processes, as this is the first step in improving your business. Regarding quantitative and qualitative aspects, workflow parameters can be analyzed differently.
As part of the qualitative aspects, workflow parameters must be logically correct, such as identifying deadlocks and anomalies. In contrast, the quantitative elements include quality, deadlines, support, resource utilization, and so on.
So, what exactly is the end goal here? The structure of an organization is made up of a stable framework and connections, both horizontally and vertically. Therefore, it is necessary to know how the job positions interact, both horizontally and vertically, to redesign the organization’s structure in the future.
Benefits Of Workflow Analysis:
Workflow analysis can lead to significant benefits for all kinds of organizations. Below are some of the benefits of workflow management system:
1. Better Regulation Compliance
Most organizations must comply with regulations set by regulatory bodies to run smoothly. Workflow analysis can help organizations map out all the workflow analysis steps necessary to comply with particular rules.
To run their business operations smoothly, financial institutions follow specific regulations, and workflow analysis will assist them in generating accurate reports on regulations. They must provide the required audit reports regularly.
2. Better Employee Engagement
One of the biggest benefits of workflow analysis is better employee engagement and satisfaction. Employees often waste hours transmitting data from one system to another or filling out paperwork that is never even needed. They do it because that’s how it was made up years ago and is now institutionalized.
You’ll see substantial productivity gains and improved morale by eliminating these redundant tasks. In many cases, businesses can transform and automate numerous parts of the workflow, which allows them to recognize bottlenecks and implement new working systems.
After doing this analysis, companies tend to increase profits. Employees also understand their work better, enabling them to perform more effectively.
3. Enhanced Productivity
The foremost benefit of workflow analysis is enhanced employee productivity. The workflow automation of business processes improves employee satisfaction, simplifies time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks, and identifies work that should get automated and those that should be scrapped altogether. In addition, compared to manual processes, employees can identify potential problems faster.
Employees are more likely to produce more if their work environment is planned. By analyzing workflows, businesses assure employees that the company cares about their workload management, which boosts morale, leading to higher productivity. In addition, it helps them invest their knowledge and skills wisely.
What Are The Elements Of Workflow Analysis?
Several vital elements of a successful workflow analysis include identifying the workflow in question, gathering data about it, remaining objective, and recording each step’s length of time and cost.
1. Create a Step-by-Step Guide:
Identify each step needed to complete your workflow and create a visual decision tree to help you visualize it.
2. Time Estimation of Each Step:
Calculate how much time you’ll need to complete each task and compare that with how long each task takes. If there is no information on how long each task takes, start recording it.
3. Determine the Cost of Each Step:
Consider the total cost of all steps in the workflow analysis process, including all materials and labor. Are the prices abnormally high?
4. Eliminate Redundancies:
Remove any step in the process that does not advance you toward your goal or duplicates another action’s efforts.
5. Streamline the Workflow:
Businesses can transform and automate numerous parts of the workflow, which allows them to recognize bottlenecks and implement new working systems.
Five Simple Steps To Conduct Workflow Analysis
1. Identify Workflows That Need To Be Analyzed
To perform workflow analysis, businesses must evaluate it qualitatively. The evaluation stage requires the user to ask several questions, such as:
A. Why does workflow exist in the first place?
The business will be able to determine whether the workflow is necessary.
B. When do we use workflow?
An organization may be unable to optimize workflows if they perform workflow analysis three to four times a year.
C. How much handoff does business workflow involve?
When handoffs occur, data is passed from one person to another. Businesses should determine whether a task is essential. For instance, before employees submit vacation requests, check if they are necessary.
D. Who is involved in the business?
Businesses should analyze who is involved in their operations. Since customers and vendors regularly interact with the company, enterprises should invest in digital platforms that facilitate communication.
2. Collect And Organize Data About Each Workflow
Make a list of the data that surrounds your workflows using saved reports, software logs, emails, and anything else you need to thoroughly understand how workflows have been used in your business in the past. When you cannot find the information you need, make a note to create a log of it in the future.
Organizations should first understand their business workflow to identify the root cause of specific issues. Then, users can collect data through:
A. Quantitative data: Quantitative data shows what went wrong and how to improve the workflow.
B. Qualitative data: The gathering of qualitative data aids in improving workflows, allowing people to generate more data.
3. Analyze The Data
By using the information you have collected, draw conclusions about each workflow’s current condition, identify areas for improvement, and identify things that are working well.
Through technology, work management systems provide data via a digital strategy, allowing users to generate workflow analysis charts faster. As a result of the digital process, businesses can identify issues quicker and seek ways to improve workflows.
However, the results of data analysis show that finding either has a high or low impact on the workflow. Therefore, to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data collected, businesses must combine them.
Describe each of your workflows by asking yourself the following questions:
A. Do these steps in workflow analysis make sense? Can a new hire complete these tasks with minimal training? Do look at each step thoroughly as if you’re seeing it for the first time, and make sure that each step is straightforward to follow.
B. Are any processes redundant? Identify why each step is necessary. You may find workflow analysis steps that can be reduced or eliminated.
C. Do we need all the data that people report? Often, companies require reports that include information from other sources. Ensure that your employees are using their time effectively, creating reports that no one references.
4. Make Any Needed Changes
Make the necessary changes as you identify items that need to be changed. Consult your teams on how workflow analysis steps and workflows should be revised, and ask them how to do so. Your analysis process will become simpler as your workflows evolve. However, some actions may need to be added, changed, or eliminated.
You can improve common workflows by expanding deadlines that are commonly missed, printing or copying material in larger batches instead of numerous times, or automating meeting invitations through email templates.
5. Manage And Adjust As Needed
Check in on your workflows regularly. As your business needs change, your workflows may become less efficient or outdated. Therefore, it is essential to monitor your workflows regularly to catch needed changes before they become problems.
It would help if you analyzed your workflows regularly throughout the year. As technology improves, so can the processes. To make informed future decisions, examine your workflows critically every quarter.
Example of Workflow Analysis & Their Correction
Interested in what a corrective workflow analysis looks like in real life? Below we’ve compiled a few examples of common workflow issues and how they can be corrected using timely analysis:
1. Labor Allocation Inefficiencies
The growth of a small business can result in issues that become exponentially worse as the business grows. For example, suppose a small company started with six employees who all kept paper time cards to record their time.
Managers collect these records and input them into spreadsheets. The spreadsheets are sent to an accountant, who determines taxes and paychecks for all employees, and then creates and distributes paper checks.
The same company now employs 35 people but still tracks time and manages its finances manually. The employees spend the same time keeping track of their work hours. Still, the higher-paid accountants and managers now devote considerable time to completing tasks that the company could easily automate.
It may seem prohibitively expensive to implement time-saving software for a small company. However, by implementing time-tracking punch clocks and payroll software to improve these workflows, the company would save thousands of labor hours and dollars generally spent on payroll processing.
2. Non-essential Reporting
A retail company opening a second location can also develop new reporting methods when introducing new workflow processes.
They implement a daily status report workflow to keep employees updated on important store happenings since high-level managers can only be in one place at a time. After the company opened more locations, managers found that most days were routine and uneventful.
As more stores open, employees spend more time writing daily reports that are seldom read. Managers stop reading words daily because they take time to comb through and contain little useful information. Managers may have to wade through reports folders to figure out precisely what happens when an incident occurs.
The company should consider what data it needs to collect with every new store as it grows to improve these workflows. Consider setting up a system of only reporting situational outliers to be easier to identify and make more of an impact. You can also restructure reports to exclude irrelevant sections or reduced scope or frequency.
3. Office Design
Consider an office with dozens of employees with access to a single printing station. Even the layout and equipment of the office can lead to wasted time and money. If employees are seated further from the printers, workflows that include printing documents will take longer to complete.
When more users use each printer, wait times and printer maintenance costs can rise. Additionally, a budget inkjet printer purchased at the beginning of a company’s life cannot perform as efficiently as a laser printer purchased with higher usage.
You can maximize your workflow’s efficiency by improving your employees’ physical movements around the office. Make sure that office supplies and print stations are located as centrally as possible or spread throughout the office as multiple stations and stockpiles.
Keep equipment in good condition and current; spending money on maintenance and upgrades will save you money on emergency repairs in the long run. By eliminating the need to print many kinds of documents and instead displaying them in a dashboard or storing them in a cloud drive, You may streamline workflows exponentially.
How To Choose The Right Workflow Analysis Tool For Your Organization?
Choosing the right management software tool for your business is an exercise in weighing your needs against available offerings. Workflows, which are essentially your processes, are critical components.
Regardless of how good your people and technology are, a flawed process or workflow can prevent your business from failing. Consider the following before choosing a workflow analysis tool:
Ease of Use: Ensure the workflow analysis tool you choose provides good technical support and is easy to learn.
Low Code vs. No Code: Take into account your team’s aptitude and ability to code their workflows. Today’s solutions include no-code technology that creates workflows by using much more user-friendly templates.
Cost: Consider the cost-saving opportunities that increased efficiency offers when choosing the best workflow analysis system you can afford.
Extensibility: Ensure the system you choose can grow and change along with your business. It should also be flexible and customizable so you can use it in various situations.
Automation: If you want to increase productivity, consider a platform that supports automating your workflows. Automation of workflows can help you achieve your peak productivity. You should be able to manage every step of the process through your reporting system.
Integrations: Many workflow analysis tools integrate popular group chat and cloud storage programs. However, since workflows are not independent, everything must flow smoothly.
Workflow analysis significantly impacts business process development. Besides identifying and improving the challenges, it also helps users see the new results of the changes. In addition, most workflow tasks are automated, saving organizations time and resources.
Implementing workflow management software is an excellent way to make workflows more efficient. It assigns employees to the next task as each one is completed.
This eliminates the need for them to constantly send each other messages to determine which tasks each employee will perform. Consequently, employees will be able to spend more time creating value for their organization.
Workflow automation can drastically improve your business’s efficiency and profitability when done right, giving employees more time to focus on other important tasks like improving customer service.
In addition, with the help of workflow analysis tools, you can analyze your data in near real-time to discover actionable insights that can help you optimize your operational efficiency.
Workflow Analysis FAQ's
Organizations can discover and address workflow performance issues through workflow analysis.
Employees often waste hours transmitting data from one system to another or filling out paperwork that is never even needed. You'll see substantial productivity gains and improved morale by eliminating these redundant tasks. In many cases, businesses can transform and automate numerous parts of the workflow, which allows them to recognize bottlenecks and implement new working systems.
The first phase of workflow analysis is identifying workflows that need to be analyzed.
You can increase productivity and improve workflow management in three ways: Analyzing your current processes, prioritizing projects based on importance and implementing proper training.
Process cycle efficiency formula or Value Added Ratio are some ways to measure workflow efficiency: Process Cycle Efficiency = Value-Added Time / Total Cycle Time.