No matter the size or spread of your business, you depend on many systems or processes that are intentional, repeatable and arranged to complete one or more activities that are a crucial part of the way you do business. Such a system or process is typically referred to as a workflow. It represents just one of the many operational sequences of an individual, an organization or mechanisms that complete the essential tasks needed to get the job done. The approval process is one such workflow key to many businesses.
Exploring the Approval Process Workflow
Whether you’re responsible for the design and development of a computer hardware component or the handling of claims for an insurance company, your operation involves the execution of one or more workflows that produce the work that makes up your business. Imagine being the project manager for a construction company. You know that your project requires inspection and approval of the various phases of construction. This business approval process could be thought of as a project approval workflow. The elements of this type of workflow include the following:
- Who needs to provide the approvals, or in other words, who needs to sign off on the inspection or review
- The order or sequence of the approvals
- What happens once all approvals have been secured, or a final approval in the workflow is issued
This approval cycle is a critical workflow, and its successful, orderly completion is essential for the project manager to deliver a completed construction project.
Examining an Approval Management System
Let’s look at the approval process workflow previously discussed. In a traditional approval management system, this process may require the input and signoff from multiple persons:
- Foreman – Indicates that certain activities are complete, initiating the process
- Superintendent – Reviews associated work and verifies that work is complete
- Inspector – Reviews work and checks that it is done in accordance with contract plans, specifications and building codes
- Project Manager (Contractor) – Confirms that inspected work is approved
- Owner’s Representative or Resident Engineer – Signs off on completed workflow
In this scenario, a record keeper or document control manager may officially record completion of the process, making this also a document approval workflow. As part of the project record and to verify compliance on the part of the project manager, any forms or documents associated with this workflow may be called up as part of a bigger workflow associated with closing out the project.
Scrutinizing the Approval Cycle
Let’s suppose that this document approval process example has to be done multiple times over the duration of the construction project. Suppose the workflow has to be completed on a weekly basis to make sure the contractor gets paid for the items installed each month. Given a multi-year buildout, there would be a considerable number of documents created over the life of the project, with each document associated with multiple repeated approvals. The issues with a manual approval management system become apparent:
- With various personnel involved in the process, a delay in one or more approvals can cause an overall delay to this approval cycle, which impacts the workflow and other subsequent workflows or larger processes.
- The various personnel may not be located in the same office or even the same part of town. The workflow time or cycle needs to account for time associated with physical travel or document distribution.
- If forms or documents get routed to the wrong person, it could violate the established sequence and also lead to a delay of the workflow.
Improving the Approval Process Workflow
Ideally, we would see improved job performance with an automated, software-based process that circumvents the problems of a manual approach. A digital approval workflow brings these advantages:
- Automated workflow that each contributor can access with real-time info about the progress of the current approval cycle
- Electronic software that allows remote, real-time access, avoiding delays associated with travel or document distribution
- Approval routing software that makes sure the right approvals are secured from the right people at the right time
Understanding the Fluix Advantage
Fluix is a powerful asset management platform that brings you and your team a customizable, flexible and scalable approval workflow software solution. When it comes to keeping your operations running smoothly and efficiently, you can build and automate workflow processes that are tailored to your unique business needs among multiple teams.
Fluix allows you to move from a manual, hardcopy-based process to a 100% electronic, cloud-based platform that is lightweight and does not require special equipment, coding knowledge or special operating systems. Boost every business approval process with the Fluix system, which is fully compatible with tablets and other mobile devices for rapid deployment without the trouble of a steep learning curve. Build and develop your own workflow templates for a superior approval management system. Start out with a free, no-obligation, 14-day trial to experience a better way of doing business with Fluix today.