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What Are the Best Tips for Workflow Scheduling?

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  • Written By: Jan Fletcher
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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Smooth workflow scheduling can increase profitability for a business and result in a more efficient workplace. The first tip for achieving optimum workflow scheduling is to accurately define the processes entailed in the workflow. Sometimes these processes are already in operation in the current scheme of production. In other cases, a process must be defined for the first time. Defining a process entails dissecting and enumerating each action that is performed by mechanized means and by personnel. Only through understanding the interplay of the actions involved can improvements in efficiency of the process be accomplished.

In the technical meaning of the word, a process is a sequence of tasks linked chronologically, and collectively undertaken to add value through processing a resource into an output. That output may be subsequently used in another process and so on, as each step adds value to the end result. An example of a workflow task might be an employee reviewing a purchase order. A process would consist, for example, of all of the tasks involved in the purchasing of an item. If each process is correctly defined, the entire interplay of production using both machines and people will achieve a higher level of productivity.

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To an extent, the best workflow scheduling tips depend on the type of workflow being scheduled. In many cases, an important tip is to invest in document management technology, which can eliminate or reduce the number of times a piece of paper must be handled by personnel. At the same time, efficiencies are also gained in avoiding time spent searching for misplaced paperwork. Scanning documentation for input into a computer does not necessarily increase workflow efficiency, particularly if those electronic processes duplicate the same inefficiencies that arose in handling paper copies.

Another tip is to plan with care when installing a new project management software system. Allow ample training time for staff. Closing down an entire operation for a week in order to train personnel on a new series of processes may seem extreme. If it results in properly trained employees who are comfortable with the new workflow scheduling system, though, then it may be a wise investment amortized over time.

A general tip that applies to many elements of business, not only workflow scheduling, is to invest in a corporate culture that empowers workers to view themselves as essential parts of the workflow process. The importance of communication in workflow scheduling is critical to avoid degradation of a process, as human culture has a tremendous impact on how well workflow scheduling will actually operate in the real world. What appears optimal in a schematic may evolve and change in unexpected ways, due to the human factor in the workplace.

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