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Guest Article from Virtual Systems: 8 Steps to a Better Workflow for Print and Mail Operations

Establishing a good workflow is one of the most important aspects of a successful print and mail operation and can mean the difference between the brilliant execution of tasks or costly delays. We have put together a list of eight ways to ensure a smooth and efficient workflow.

 

The first time you go through the process it may seem daunting but the benefits will soon be evident. In order to be successful a champion must be chosen to lead your team through the process. Key people from each area of the business should be selected to participate in the process, not only managers. It is important to create the most accurate picture of current practices to identify the low hanging fruit, easy to implement changes.

Consider the process below as a working model to get your analysis underway. Each step can take as much or as little time as the team deems necessary. A timeline should be set to keep the project on track too much or too little time spent can also hurt the process.

  1. Document the existing workflow – put together a team from all areas of the business to create an honest diagram of current workflow
  2. Identify bottlenecks- find the places within the current workflow that are creating bottlenecks
  3. Communication – discuss ways to reduce communication required on each task
  4. Equipment – can you make enhancements to equipment which will automate steps or stop points
  5. Technology – are there pieces of technology that will improve the flow
  6. Identify improvement goals – be specific ie. time, touches, errors, etc.
  7. Identify what is needed to achieve the goals
    1. Technology
    2. Capital
    3. Resources
    4. Map out improved workflow
    5. Prioritize the necessary changes
    6. Create an implementation plan timeline with assigned tasks
    7. Hold team members accountable
  8. Review your system regularly to stay on track

Improved business processes and streamlined workflow contribute not only to the bottom line but also to team efficiency. Going through a workflow review will also give the business an opportunity to recognize key team members. Team members are equally as important as the process. Keep in mind that people that work to create a process are more likely to “own” the process when it is implemented. Through understanding the role each area plays to keep the engine running the team will be stronger and so will the business.