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workflows are used for process managementMaintaining a daily culture of quality can be demanding, absent of tools,  processes, and software to ease the burdens. As the requirements of accrediting bodies grow and as companies face an increasing amount of audits, it’s evident that in the absence of automation, compliance can be a crippling burden for businesses and organizations.

When businesses realize their pain points of compliance and begin exploring software solutions, the word “workflow” will likely emerge in conversations. For some, who have never encountered a workflow, that term can feel vague and overwhelming–which couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the most simple terms: Workflows break down complex processes into automated step-by-step components, thereby documenting, creating consistencies, and increasing efficiencies within processes.

In a workflow, key steps within a process are mapped out and components of that process are passed from one person to another, until the entire process is completed. Approvals can be incorporated, ensuring that aspects of a process are not simply completed, but completed in the proper manner before the process advances to the next step.

If you are a visual person, it might help you conceptualize a workflow by considering a good ol’ fashioned flow chart where, as decisions are made and steps occur, you flow down a series of steps and options. Our Product Owner, Chris Hicks weighed in on the workflow conversation. He shared, “Workflows are about putting controls around a process and ensure the right information is captured. They help ensure access to proper compliance information.”

Common examples of processes that are turned into workflows include:

  • Corrective Action
  • Internal Audit
  • Management Review
  • Risk Management
  • Instrument Performance Verification & Maintenance
  • Vendor Approval
  • Customer Complaints

Workflows help the entire team work as a cohesive unit, following the same steps and maintaining proper procedures. In a sense, it is a like a relay team passing the baton. In a workflow, you check off stages before the process is passed to the next team member for their input.

How do workflows support compliance?

Workflows support compliance in a variety of ways. One of our favorite ways is that they minimize the opportunity for user error. Since the steps are predefined, consistent, and planned in advance there is the propensity for complete data, proper documentation, and clarity of expectations. Requiring approvals, as it makes sense to do so, also minimizes the risk of human error.

We also love how workflows give back time to our clients! We want our clients to be able to stay in their “genius zone”, pursuing their workplace passions. Workflows eliminate administrative burdens–like emailing coworkers for information or to let them know you completed your portion of the work. Instead of getting lost in cumbersome processes and procedures, the automation and structure is freeing and creates time for professional priorities. If you are using a paper process within your office it is highly likely we can turn that process into a workflow within Qualtrax!

Reports are also something our customers — and auditors– are very interested in. Workflows are great because of how you can run reports on current and past processes. Data is at your fingertips and easily accessible and a moment’s notice.

In Qualtrax, you also have a complete view of all the workflows that exist within your organization. Out of an understanding of how critical workflows are to our customers and their organizations, we do not limit the number of workflows that can be created and implemented within Qualtrax. This is a great way to identify bottlenecks, gaps within your systems, and additional areas for automation and streamlining.

We encourage you to consider what business processes could be streamlined, made more consistent, and given better visibility through the implementation of workflows!

 

Category: Process Management

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