5 key challenges of manual approvals and how to overcome them

Challenges of manual approval workflow and how to overcome them

There is no better feeling than being able to complete an approval workflow rapidly and smoothly. But, as much as you strive to achieve this successfully, somewhere along the process there is always disruption. Moreover, something that interferes with your individual schedule of work.

As a result, planning your day becomes a task in itself. Simply because it is a manual approval workflow. These issues have a tendency of causing delays and unnecessary stress for you. As well, the delays create bottlenecks in the business’ overall operations. 

Wouldn’t it be great to perfect approval workflows in a timely manner. And, without anything interrupting the flow of the process?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a weight lifted off your shoulders if approval workflows were easier to manage?

Ideally, yes and certainly possible. Using workflow software, organisations are digitalising their approval workflow and thriving. 

In particular, what used to be an unavoidable challenge is no longer an issue. In other words, you don’t need to bear with the unwanted stress. Optimizing approval workflows with process automation tools can make your workday a lot easier and less stressful.

Transforming a manual approval workflow into a digital process with workflow software not only saves time and costs. But, increases productivity as well as making a positive impact to the environment. Paperless approvals allow organisations to engage in sustainable initiatives. 

Spreadsheets, emails and paper-documents devour company resources

paperless-business-processesWhile paper in the office is still a go-to method for work, more organisations are aiming towards a paperless office. Additionally, businesses are switching from using emails and spreadsheets to more efficient digital tools. That is, when it comes to optimising their approval processes.

With workflow software, you can manage the approval process from start to finish without signing paper forms. Or, using spreadsheets or emails.

The utility of paper, spreadsheets and emails is specifically down to convenience of use. Simply because, many are so embedded in their natural ways of carrying out work. However, those who have decided to adopt digital transformation have realized how inconvenient traditional methods actually were. In other words, manual approval processes drain your businesses resources and you will see that once you upgrade with the help of an approval workflow software.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced many organisations to begin digitalisation in the workplace. For instance, digital transformation was key to implement a successful remote working strategy. That is, to operate throughout the epidemic. Without the help of digital tools, working from home can be a complex situation for all.

According to market research firm IDC, organisations who have already begun digital transformation are far more resilient and agile.

They have already adapted to a digital workplace. So, going forward they just need to alter business models. 

Managing your approval workflow with paper requires substantial amounts time and effort. Specifically, resources dedicated to move paper documents around the business. As well, it can involve printing spreadsheets and manually inputting data into those spreadsheets. After that, requests and approvals need to be sent via email for the next approver and so on. Again, requiring much of employee time and effort, easily causing delays in critical business approval processes. 

The submission of a request, the approval of that request and the kick-start of a particular business process can and should run smoothly.

However, many issues can arise throughout the approval process when using spreadsheets, emails and paper. 


5 key challenges of a manual approval workflow 

1.  Manual approval workflows soak up employee time

Outdated systems and tools used to carry out the approval process overly consume employee time and productivity. For instance, using a paper form for requests might require manual input into a spreadsheet. Or, it may need to be physically delivered to a different department. 

Whatever the case may be, there will always be secondary manual re-work involved. Certainly, needing more time than necessary. That is, from carrying out approval workflows manually.

On the other hand, workflow software can help you retain much of that previously wasted time. Simply by digitalising the approval process. Conserving employee time allows for better allocation of time and increases in productivity. Work can be completed at a faster pace, scaling operations better than ever before. 

2. Slow approval workflows cause delays and bottlenecks

It is no surprise that there are delays and bottlenecks. That is, due to the significant amount of time consumed when undergoing document approval. More clearly, it is not only approvals that are held up. But decision making and the overall business process in question are too. 

Bottlenecks in business processes are a recipe for disaster in terms of operational efficiency levels. For instance, delays lead to inaccurate decision making due to the pressure of getting it done fast. Therefore, it is extremely important to manage approval workflows with an easy to use, robust system.

With an approval workflow software like Kianda, automatic reminders are sent so that you never miss a deadline. Not only does this allow you to keep on track of approvals. As well, streamlining approvals with process digitalisation prevents a back log in requests. Also, approval processes can be completed in a way that aligns with relevant internal factors, in a timely manner.

3. Lack of visibility affects communication and productivity

Using spreadsheets, emails and paper does not provide a clear overview of any approval process. For example, you might find yourself digging through a long thread of emails, tracking how long ago you submitted a request. Or, how about sending follow up emails, where you feel like you are bugging your manager or colleague?

frustrated-employeeThese situations are not ideal. Without transparent insight into approval status, number of requests or approvals, it is impossible to create a productive schedule.

Also, good collaboration is harder to achieve when the idea of success is based on communicating through emails that can easily become hidden.

Approval workflow software platforms like Kianda offer a crystal-clear view of the approval process from start to finish. With customisable dashboards you can track and monitor your approval workflows based on real-time analytics. And, you can tailor your approval process flow and dashboard to your organisation’s unique needs.

Stop wasting your time chasing approvals. Let the system do it for you!

4. Compliance with company policies is difficult to achieve with manual approvals

Without deep insight into approvals, it is difficult to check if the process is being carried out in accordance with company policies. There is no straightforward way of seeing who is accountable for each approval, without having to search for it. And again, this could take up from your valuable time.

As a result, monitoring and tracking becomes difficult when undergoing an audit trail. 

With approval workflow software, you can easily and quickly capture information. An example of this is easily identifying who is accountable for a particular process. As well, approvers can provide a digital signature. This is a lot safer and more reliable than a wet signature on a paper document. 

5. Repetitive tasks from a manual approval workflow are demotivating and stressful 

Manual data entry is a repetitive, boring task that is prone to human-error. Mistakes are inevitable when using spreadsheets and paper-documents. Because of this, emails and other forms of communication bombard you with queries. For example, misinformation, errors or lack of clarity such as difficulty of understanding handwriting.

Physically taking charge of such inefficient processes like inputting data into spreadsheets is tiring. On another note, it is not particularly rewarding. Neither is trying to play catch-up in your inbox by spending half of your day responding to emails.

Automating approvals minimizes these stressful issues from arising, keeping employees engaged and motivated. Additionally, with a built-in query functionality, employees can collaborate all in the one platform. Meaning there is no need to waste a chunk of your day answering emails. All of the needed information regarding an approval will be at the tip of your finger. 


Hypothetical situation of manual document approval

manual-approval-workflowEmployee prints off a paper form to submit a request to start a new project. The request needs approval from 3 different stakeholders. The Project manager and department head need to approve the request based on certain factors. For example, having enough team members to cover the project. The Financial director needs to approve based on cost. For example, ensuring the project is within the budget threshold and aligns with company projections. 

Project manager is on the same floor, so can approve immediately. The request form is stamped and signed; one approval is completed. 

Next, the Department head and Financial Director are on the 6th floor. So, the employee sends the request to Department head first.

Department head approves 3 days later. Employee received the form and now sends it to the Financial Director. However, receives no response for a week. Then, the employee emails the Financial director to see if they received the request form. Unfortunately the document is nowhere to be found. And, that is the beginning of a delayed approval followed by hindrance in the kick-start of a project.

This is a scenario that can happen way too often, especially for large companies. It is time-consuming, laborious and stressful trying to keep on track of process and its current status. 

Why you need to adopt workflow software today

Outdated systems and tools prevent you from completing approvals fast and effectively.

On the other hand, you can digitalise your approval process with approval workflow software. The cumbersome workflow turns into a set of user-friendly online forms that manages multi-stage approvals. Digital signatures are captured and communication overall streamlined. With Kianda platform you can streamline your approval process rapidly and efficiently.

Kianda approval workflow dashboardOptimizing your approval process with process automation can help your organisation cut costs, save time and improve productivity. Also, eliminating repetitive, boring tasks will help employees to regain motivation that was once lost from using outdated methods. 

See what Kianda can do for you by requesting your live demo today!

Request your live demo

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Improve-approval-process-with-business-process-automation

According to McKinsey, 60% of employees could easily save 30% of their time by automating business processes such as paper approvals and processing documents. Business process automation helps improve decision making to carry out ripe approval processes. 

In one way or another, before beginning many business tasks, a formal approval process is undertaken. With that said, one business process alone can require multiple approvals. That is, depending on particular variables such as project size, departments involved and so on. Therefore, business processes can quickly be prolonged or delayed if approvals are not completed on time. 

Handling approval processes without an agile method or system can be chaotic and quite difficult to manage. On the bright side, there is a solution; workflow software.

So, we want to show you how a digital approval process can help you accelerate decision making. As a result, your organisation can maximize efficiency and become more agile.

What is an approval process?

An approval process is implemented in order to allow business processes to run more smoothly and efficiently. In particular, it helps to digitally transform approval stages of business processes through automation. 

Overall, business process automation standardises tasks in an organisation by efficiently routing request information and related documents to relevant personnel.

You can rest assured that work will be approved the same way each time through by automating approvals through business process automation. 

Traditional ways to complete an approval process involve stakeholders having to manually approve data and documents. Additionally, a lot of time is exhausted tracking down and transferring documents whether it be via email, shared spreadsheets or paperwork. Not to mention the additional phone calls or messages regarding queries and so on. 

Might we say, many organisations have already began moving away from paper-based methods to digital ones to carry out approvals and other business processes. With that said, some have still not begun their business process automation journey.

Yes, these methods do get approvals completed. However, are they sufficient? The answer is no.

Using many forms of communication and methods slow down the approval process and automatically cause delays and bottlenecks in overall process. As well as that, it can be confusing to say the least.

In other words, still actively using traditional tools to carry out approval processes could well be limiting your organisations levels of productivity and efficiency. 

With workflow software you can easily approve, digitally sign and collaborate, all in a single place.


Types of approval processes to automate with workflow software

Here are 4 examples of approval processes that you can automate:

1. Capital Expense Approvals

CapExAlso known as CapEx approvals, this process can be difficult for any organisation, especially when it involves multiple approval levels. And, it normally does. Capital expense approval processes require careful consideration and decision making. Simply because, investing in machinery, equipment and other assets is largely expensive.

And without transparent insight and inaccuracy, decision making for an approval process is inevitably affected. 

On the other hand, using workflow software for your CapEx approval process provides consistency, accuracy and improves visibility. As a result, managers and teams can confidently make better decisions when approving. 

2. Purchase Order Approval

purchase order PO Approval can be lengthy and time-consuming as it is, never mind how long the process is when handled manually. Using paper, emails and spreadsheets is without a doubt slowing your purchase order approvals down.

Needless to say, they can incur quite a lot of expenses also. But, we don’t need to tell you that, right?

Workflow software can mitigate these issues by allowing you to streamline your purchase order process. Business process automation provides a faster approach to purchasing, facilitating a reduction in time and money spent on the job. As well, automation reduces the probability of human error in a PO approval process. 

3. Budget Approval

Budget approval processBudget approvals are essentially put in place to ensure that financial projections and priorities are in line. In order to plan strategically, businesses need to firstly, set out realistic budgeting guidelines and abide by them. And secondly, to observe these budgets with an eagle’s eye to decide whether to approve or reject. 

Without a consistent and skillful system to manage budgeting, it is a complex process that presents a lack of visibility into the financial state of an organisation. As a result, the business can fail to see an authentic view of the future due to an unrealistic projection.  

Automating your budgeting approval process will allow financial teams to guarantee that expenses align with the company’s financial forecasts. By accurately managing expenses, organisations can ultimately reduce operational costs. 

4. Project Approval

Project approval Undergoing a new project entails a variation of different project documents and deliverables. Hence, a close eye is necessary for review and approvals of certain documents to ensure efficient management of the overall project. 

Handling project approval processes through emails provides an opportunity for emails to become lost or convoluted in threads. As a result, approvals can pile up and the overall task can be delayed and if multiple projects are awaiting approvals, a back-log of projects will occur. 

The ability to transform tasks with business process automation presents better tracking, monitoring and approving at a faster pace. In doing so, projects can kick-start without any delays or issues in the process.

There are many approval processes that can be optimised through business process automation. For more insight read articles on our procurement process, leave/holiday requests or travel requests 


Benefits of an automated approval process

Your organisation can retrieve substantial advantages from a single approval process automated. 

1. Rapid approvals save time

Business process automation entirely speeds up the approval workflow from initiation to completion. As a result of rapid approvals, business processes accelerate, allowing your organisation to complete tasks in a timely manner. By reducing the amount of depleted time and other resources dedicated to business process management, companies instantaneously cut costs. 

2. Increase productivity

Emphasizing on the capabilities of faster approvals, business processes are accomplished quickly and efficiently. In other words, business process automation allows companies to become more agile as it scales productivity. On that note, thriving productivity helps you keep in line with competitors and not fall behind. 

3. Improve transparency and collaboration

Having a better overview of approvals is better for everybody right?

With an intuitive workflow software, customisable dashboards provide insight into status of approvals as well as outstanding ones. Also, tracking allows you to see who is responsible for each approval and improves decision making. The ability to collaborate in a single place reduces errors and miscommunication across relevant departments involved in the process. 

4. Reinforce accountability 

Approval workflow software clearly demonstrates who is assigned to which tasks or approval. Subsequently, all involved know exactly who is responsible, allowing for superior communication and accountability

5. Enforce compliance with company policies

Automating your approval process enables better record keeping and tighter security control across the organisation. Also, controls ensure the correct measures and validations are in place. Because of this, you can easily review and check whether approvals comply with company policies in audits. 


Why you should automate your approval process

Business process automation derives many advantages for both the company and persons undertaking the task in itself. Besides reducing costs, improving productivity and decision making, and generating competitive edge, professionals can reduce overloading work through automation. That is, from the C-suite level right to the front line.

For instance, CEO’s spend a significant 20% of their time analysing, reviewing and approving work that could be easily automated. And that is one person. Many other employees throughout an organisation could also have a lot more free time on their hands to spend on other tasks. 

Digital transformation continuously grows and evolves everyday. We at Kianda suggest starting slowly but surely to convert your business into a digital workplace.

Many organisations have already digitized and automated many business processes, while others are only beginning their journey. Some particularly undergo business process automation to improve a particular business process. While, others focus more on the end-user experience of a business process and how to make their everyday work life a tad bit easier. Additionally, improving quality of work in your organisation will reflect the quality externally, by satisfying your customers. 

Regardless of the objective in question, business process automation has ultimately provided competitive advantage for many.


How does Kianda approval process work?

Approval-process-Kianda-business-process-automation-platformKianda workflow software provides a user-friendly approval software. 

As a requester you simply input relevant details about the approval process in question via Kianda form. For instance, description of the request, related department, purpose and estimated cost. Providing information relative to cost and department allows for better allocation of expenses accordingly to the overall budget of the business. 

You can also upload documents that go hand-in-hand with the approval. That way, all necessary information is included in the request, avoiding miscommunication. 

Kianda provides an intuitive process designer interface for admin users to easily tailor approval process without the need of coding. Based on your organisation’s unique needs, you can customize your approval process to suit specific requirements.

Admin users can assign particular users’ access to approvals, enabling better transparency, security and accountability. In addition, you can easily add extra approval levels based on a business logic such as the project size or required number of approvals

Managers and relevant personnel can track, monitor and manage approvals with a built-in, customisable dashboard based on real-time analytics. As well, you will receive notifications to ensure that approvals are completed on time. 

Read case study: Mercury Engineering transforms project approval process using Kianda.


Transform your inefficient approval process with workflow software

Streamlining approvals will prevent delays and bottlenecks in business processes. Improving the quality and flow of approvals makes decision making easier for stakeholders. As a result of better management of the approval process, productivity and profitability drive up.

Let us show you with a free live demo, how Kianda can help you.

Request your live demo today!


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https://www.kianda.com/blog/5-key-challenges-of-manual-approval-processes-and-how-you-can-overcome-them/

5 Core Business Processes You Should Automate to Increase Agility

Benefits of Digital Process Automation in Construction Industry

Automation in Construction and Engineering is reshaping the industries

Many organizations such as engineering and construction companies are changing at a rapid pace due to technology. They are experiencing significant digital transformations in several areas. Automation in construction and engineering is changing how workers carry out critical business processes, for the better.

Digital process automation is a major tool that is supporting companies in improving processes and decreasing costs.

Technology driven innovation for construction has been delivering real benefits to the industry in the recent years.

Certainly, companies who adopt the latest technologies, software innovations, equipment and process automation will most likely succeed.

Digital Process Automation solutions are technologies that help companies run operations, smoothly. For instance, they minimize manual, time-consuming tasks with streamlined processes. As a result, reducing operating costs.

Simply, they handle certain tasks by building online forms and automating workflows. Some examples include capturing data, task assignments and scheduling notifications.

What’s in it for you?

Digital process automation in construction is helping companies in the construction industry to perform more value per work.

For example, rather than chasing manual project approvals, you can spend more time on valuable commercial relationships. In other words, you can focus more on revenue generating activities.

Inefficient communications should not delay time-sensitive key commercial decisions

manual process

Today many organisations still use excel and email communications to manage processes such as Bid Proposals and Contract Management. They store data in spreadsheets, print and approve manually and communicate via email.

This is mainly due to the lack of technical staff or amount of required time to digitalise such processes. This laborious process can cost companies a lot of time and money when they grow beyond a small sized company.

Especially when companies are dealing with business-critical bid proposals or contracts. Time-sensitive commercial decisions should not be delayed due to manual processes and inefficient communications channels.

Most importantly, losses that are caused by risk and error-prone manual processes should not be ignored.

Certainly, the level of transparency and efficiency that can be achieved via automation in construction processes is compelling. In other words, construction automation can eliminate inefficiencies and become the central point for task approvals and decision making.

New technologies can easily transform any manual processes from paper to digital.

Using new technologies to automate tasks has many long-term benefits for engineering and construction companies.  Simply because automation in construction processes can transform manual processes from paper to digital. As a result, companies generate less paper by managing processes online and overall, become more efficient.

Say good-bye to everyday chaos caused by paper piles and manual work in the office or on site.

How can companies benefit from digital process automation in construction?

  • Key business decisions can be better made, without any delays.
  • Digital documents / online processes are easier to track and manage.
  • Admin tasks can be automated, meaning more work can be completed on time and budget.
  • Better project and data management.
  • Easier collaboration between people involved in the workflow regardless of where they are.
  • Higher visibility of the progress and smooth analytical reporting.

Construction processes such as:

construction-process-automation

  • Approval to start a project
  • QHSE Management
  • Incident Reporting
  • Bid Proposals
  • Document Control
  • Action plans 
  • Administrative tasks
  • Employee onboarding and induction
    or simply sending automatic notifications on-the-go can all be digitalised and improved. In addition, allowing web and mobile access from any location is important for companies with workers across remote locations.

Clear understanding of company performance

Moreover, automation in construction can bring a very clear understanding of the performance of a company. For instance, detailed analytics and customisable dashboard reports, demonstrate performance. Based on departmental requirements, customising dashboards can help with productivity.

Easy project management for construction companies

To be clear, project information, communication between workers and live monitoring can be centralised in a single place.

Above all, this can be accessed online or offline from anywhere and any device. Workers in the construction industry can benefit a lot with this, considering many projects can be carried out in remote areas.

Finally, new technologies are here to help organisations to quickly spot bottlenecks, make decisions on time and operate efficiently.

Digital process automation in construction can help bring quality and standardize processes. Ultimately help them with competitive advantage in business.

process-management-engineering

Read Case Study: How Mercury Engineering streamlined project approval process, enhancing compliance and agility with Kianda forms and workflows.

Irish Engineering company introduced Kianda to simplify and improve their project approval process called “Authority Matrix”…

Learn more about digital process automation solution that can help you achieve greater outcomes, eliminate in-efficiencies for construction and engineering.

Request your live demo today!

About Author:
Osvaldo Sousa – Digital process automation innovator with almost two decades of experience in information technologies. He is the CEO/Co-founder of Kianda Technologies.