Workflow Automation

Client Success Story: Workflow Automation

Background

A large firm developing thousands of new products each year needed to implement a significant labor cost reduction. In addition, this firm had a requirement to speed their cycle time to market.

The chosen solution was to automate the office workflow. The automation solution required the development and implementation of many new white-collar labor standards at startup. No such standards existed at that time.

Establishing work standards without damaging the new product development process was critical to maintaining the innovative culture of the organization. This required research and information collection methods that were not intrusive to daily work.

Assignment

The first step was to devise an approach and convince senior managers it would work. The general approach was:

  1. Group like functions together.
  2. Collect and analyze information related to each function. This included interviews with select function representatives.
  3. Develop and document workflow processes and standards based on the information collected and the established business goals.
  4. Implement the new automation system.
  5. Measure results to ensure the validity and accuracy of processes and standards.

The tools used included process maps and statistical distributions.

Results

Innumerable workload sharing opportunities were discovered. The overall project resulted in a 20% reduction in cycle time to market. There was no adverse effect on morale from setting of the work standards. The project was launched on time and met all goals. All 3000 standards were developed within six months and management was highly comfortable with methods and results.

Senior managers went from disbelief that meeting the deadlines was possible to full satisfaction with the quality of the results and timeliness of the standards. They were also pleased with the new consensus building within previously contentious work groups.