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June 3, 2014

Workflow Series 2 of 4: Who does workflow impact?

Workflow.  The operational buzz word thrown around in meetings. But what does it really mean?  Who does it impact? Why does it matter? And how can looking at workflow in different ways create more value?

This four part series looks at workflow in a way that makes business sense out of business school jargon.

Who does workflow impact?
Simply put, workflow impacts the entire organization. As with any team environment, for operations to function smoothly, the workflow of each department needs to be in sync.  And good managers and leaders understand that no one department is greater than the whole.  Each brings a specific set of skills and values that complement one another.

Additionally, managers and executive leadership are impacted.  Those that appreciate the details of workflow tend to use numbers and data to ask the right questions of how to improve the work environment and create efficiencies.

The series example part 2: Who is impacted?
Jimmy runs a successful business.  He has several hundred employees ranging from front office and production to distribution and delivery.  In any given day, thousands of tasks are performed to manufacture and sell one order.

Jimmy has managers that run each department and set schedules to meet demand.  These managers work together to complete the orders.  In our first series on what, we used the shipping department in our example.

If we continue with the shipping Paul, the shipping manager, oversees a team of shippers, drivers and dispatchers that are all impacted by the department workflow.

The performance of the shipping department impacts all levels of the organization. Right up to Jimmy, the CEO.  Beyond serving internal customers across departments, the impact of the shipping department has one additional element.  The delivery drivers have direct contact with the customer.  Their timeliness and accuracy are critical.

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