by Michael Leo, Senior Product Marketing Manager, BarTender® software
Workflows and efficiency
Organizations that don’t use workflow tools to manage their labeling processes have increased potential for unnecessary confusion, longer time to market and human error.
If a manufacturing company needs to create a product label that requires approval but doesn’t have the proper workflow infrastructure, there is no clear way to discern if, or by whom, an approval was generated. Having to track down approvals is inefficient. Label creation is time-sensitive, and the uncertainty can impede on-time delivery.
Workflows put a process in place where every person involved in the design and approval of the label can access and understand where each project is in the creation process.
By implementing a workflow that streamlines the approval process, a label moved down the line and marked for production has to be approved before being routed to the next step. Not only is it clear that a label design has been approved, there is an easy-to-access paper trail showing who initiated the approval.
Labeling workflows also ensure a rejected label design is properly routed back to the appropriate state in the creation process. A workflow streamlines production — email alerts can be generated each time the label is routed to a new step, preventing stagnation.
Because form-based user interfaces have limitations, global industry is transitioning to graphically based workflow systems, a visual system of building and managing workflows by creating and manipulating shapes, rather than text.
Graphically based workflow management systems offer a more user-friendly experience, an intuitive system that maps naturally to the way people visually navigate their daily lives.
In such a system, you can see and alter each step and transition, from beginning of the process to the end. Adjustments can be made in real time as needed, with changes cascaded throughout the workflow instantly.
With a graphical workflow you can see, at a glance, the business process model represented in states and transitions, creating natural user interactions with the system. There is an ease of use that isn’t available using a text-based workflow management system.
Graphical workflows are easy to learn, requiring little training and no coding or technical knowledge, and they leave fewer opportunities for human error because they install safeguards for consistency and accountability. Managing labeling with graphical workflows labeling helps create consistent and streamlined end-to-end processes, enabling quick advancement of a label from one step to the next, impacting overall productivity.
By using a graphical model, users can set and see each step and understand where they fit in. Organizations can clearly define each activity, resource and role for every employee in all departments. It also makes clear the expected outputs along the way, reducing frustrations caused by antiquated systems and processes.
These digital, interactive charts provide a precise description of what comes next and who is responsible for executing that task. No confusion. No ambiguity. A modern efficiency that sets clear expectations, reduces the amount of production oversight required by management and creates more time for strategic planning.
While a graphical workflow optimizes productivity and efficiency, it also automates a process so it can be repeated with specific due date notifications. They create intuitive processes that allow anyone in an organization to plan, design, review and implement a new workflow.
The process creates progress.
Visual workflow management and BarTender®
Traditionally, the workflow management tools in labeling software have required cumbersome text- or form-based management and in some cases, even bespoke programming. With the launch of BarTender 2021, graphical workflow capabilities are available in labeling software.
For those looking to implement a graphical workflow into their label-generating process, BarTender® 2021 provides that functionality.
The software’s graphical interface creates a visual drag-and-drop workflow management system that is easy to build, manage and edit, while requiring no coding experience.
This system produces fast, repeatable and automated results.
Staff within an organization can create a streamlined process for optimizing the label generation and approval process without the need for extensive prior technical experience.
By using the graphical workflow provided through BarTender, companies can better enforce policy and centralize business logic, while also providing standardization for data with actionable information. It allows for the label-making process to come together faster than it would otherwise by providing a configurable workflow functionality that defines a way to manage file and document life cycles.
The software’s workflow interface is more efficient than a text or code-based system, and allows a company to go to market faster after implementation. There are other workflow systems out there, software that creates a series of forms that generate business checklists. They look attractive, but they’re not graphical workflows, and that difference is important for sustained success and viability.
Let’s say that a manufacturing company needs to design a new informational product label and the project manager needs to build a model of the content lifecycle from the moment of creation, through the design process and then on to review and approval before production. Using a graphical workflow it is possible to create the end-to-end workflow that determines who is allowed to access the document at any given time, while having the system deliver notifications to the appropriate person at each stage in the process.
With this automated workflow built graphically by dragging down the object representations to the workflow states, it is possible to think through the various stages the document will go through.
Then, when the project is completed and the information can be moved into the archive, the only required step is to open the graphical workflow and add it to a new, appropriately labeled state, with the functionality to add an email notification to alert the rest of the team that a project has been pulled from production.
All of this information can be seen in one workflow representation, which is much easier, and much more intuitive than using a form-based system, where users have to figure out which forms and sub-forms need to be added when additions or modifications need to be made.
A project manager can easily assign the graphic design needs to the appropriate designer, who then submits the results to a manager, for example, for approval or rejection, at which point the label either heads to production or goes back to the designer for edits.
And, with a project on task and organized, the project manager has a clear idea of the production timeline, which further benefits the company, particularly when there are clients involved who expect schedule updates along the way.
However, while using a workflow management system is a sensible course of action – particularly if you’re using a graphical workflow – according to an IDC study, more than 80 percent of business leaders haven’t implemented that kind of process into their companies. Without those systems in place, it becomes difficult to streamline everyday business tasks that optimize for productivity and efficiency. It becomes impossible to track labels and other documents throughout their journey. Without a graphical workflow system in place, projects are derailed. They are inefficient.
The importance of these kinds of workflow are particularly important in today’s environment. Companies navigating the COVID-19 pandemic have been forced to implement work-from-home strategies. With more people working remotely, document and version control management is more pivotal than ever. Graphical workflows are vital.
Utilizing a system with standardized processes solves for this issue. It ensures consistency in the process. It provides a record of changes for a document within the workflow that shows who made changes and when. And, it automates redundant tasks, also sending reminder alerts when tasks aren’t completed. It allows for decisions to be made on who has approval to access specific states and transitions within the workflow.
Few things get in the way of productivity like efficiency impediments. When it comes to label design and production, workflow shouldn’t create a sense of frustration for employees. An inefficient process is as unwelcome as it is unnecessary. Graphical workflows provide a solution, an efficient process.
With BarTender software, it is easy for employees to create an end-to-end graphical workflow, crafting a process that caters to efficiency and bolsters a company’s bottom line.
About BarTender by Seagull Scientific
BarTender® software transforms information into the labels, barcodes, RFID tags, smartcards and documents that drive business. BarTender helps their customers around the world improve safety, security, efficiency and compliance through easy, powerful design; fast, accurate printing on demand; comprehensive system control; straightforward integration and legendary technical support. To learn more, please visit www.SeagullScientific.com.