Business Process — Workflow
It never fails that the first thing I need to cover with a company is their process, or their workflow.
What do you do with an order the moment it comes in, up until the moment that it leaves for the customer?
No one can hand someone a piece of software and expect them to succeed if they don’t first understand why they are doing each step of their process.
Many times, when we start to really look into a company’s workflow, we find that they are repeating steps or fail to deliver information in the most rapid way possible. After having several companies write down their workflow, they say that their time between orders is shorter; we’ve even been told that they have saved a great amount of money, just by putting pen to paper.
I know by talking to many QuickBook ProAdvisors that they run into the same situation.
Why take a piece of paper off your desk and run it down a long hall way into the warehouse for picking if you can do the same thing from your desk in the blink of an eye? Some of our customers may have a process as short as an invoice in the computer, bill product, or ship product.
However, others have many checks and balances built in to ensure that product is available, credit is checked, margins are reviewed, and so on.
Let’s see if we can’t get some hints at best practices.
With any suggestion, it is important to include an industry and the different avenues for sales.
For example, are you taking phone orders, web orders, orders from outside sales people or even faxes? This is only helpful to everyone if we can get some ProAdvisors, consultants, and, of course ,business owners, to share their thoughts and ideas.
Some of the recently prevailing thoughts are to take everything electronic.
Another popular thought is to get a mobile device in the hands of outside sales staff. The thought behind this is to find a solution that integrates with your current accounting software. If done properly, you can have the sales staff enter the order once and someone in the office can fact check it and quickly move it to the next step in the workflow.
Even in this instance, you have just cut out one or two steps by not re-entering the order.
— Matt Hansen