The concept of workflow is simply to break down any operation or production into a series of interconnected steps that can be carried out by either one person, a number of people (including equipment and tools). In effect a workflow shows exactly how the business in question is carried out and how any particular business process progresses from the very start of the process to its final end.

Components In Workflow

Components as described in workflow terms are the single steps that all link together. These can be defined as three separate categories, namely input, output and transformation rules. Input is the sum of everything required to complete the component or step. Output is the sum of everything produced by the step. Transformation are the rules or activities that transform the inputs into the output.

The process of describing a workflow usually involves flow graphs or diagrams that show how the different stops are all linked together. The workflow also has to contain information about the tasks that are involved, the people who do each particular task, any documents that are required and the sequence of how the tasks are done.
Importance Of Workflow
Workflows are important because they can really help businesses drive down the cost of carrying out any specific business process or production. The workflow describes in detail at how work is done and is a performance ‘test’ to check that the work is being done within the minimum amount of time and that it is performed using the minimal cost required.
Workflow can also help in deciphering the costs of business activity. Using workflow will break down each task or business process, so that it can become clear just how much any particular task or activity costs. Sometimes this can lead to some surprises for the Management Team because usually some activities are more costly than had been envisaged. So the process of workflows can also clearly highlight inefficiency, whether in terms of personnel or processes.
How Are Workflows Implemented?
Workflows tend to be implemented electronically through various workflow management systems, integrated within ERP/MRP software. These are often flexible in that they can be configured to route activity in accordance with the specific business requirement. This allows business processes or tasks to be subject to a workflow analysis, but then enables the business process or task to be ‘changed’ (i.e. theoretically changed) and the workflow is then done again to ascertain whether the change would lead to increased efficiency and reduced costs or whether the reverse is true.
Thus workflows can be used to influence decision making and proposed changes can be analysed for their effect, before the changes are made, meaning that for the business involved the danger of introducing changes that will result in actually higher production costs, is massively reduced.

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