Ask any small- to mid-size business owner what their least favorite job is and the odds are it comes down to making certain that procedures and processes are being followed. In fact, it’s usually when repeatable tasks that need to follow specific steps are not completed correctly that businesses get in trouble. Employees are human. They make mistakes, get preoccupied with more urgent problems, don’t feel well at times, and encounter a host of other issues that can result in bypassing a key task. And, when you are repeating the same job over and over, it’s easy to overlook a step, thinking it has already been done.
This is where workflow automation comes to the rescue.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, streamlining and standardizing repetitive and error- prone tasks is simple – just automate through workflows - all while creating accountability and verification processes. Your business ends up being more efficient and, through analytics and reporting, you can continually measure and improve workflows and identify any blockages in the process.
Business Central makes it easy to start a workflow with out-of-the-box workflow templates that cover a wide range of standard business tasks. It’s as straightforward as following these 3 steps:
- Choose the icon, enter Workflows, and then choose the related link.
- Select the Create Workflow from Template action. The Workflow Templates page opens.
- Select a workflow template, and then choose the OK button.
You can now edit the workflow steps or add new steps to fit your business’ needs.
Let’s assume your company sells specialized products to businesses, where pricing may vary based on modifications, number of products ordered, delivery locations, currency, etc. The salesperson receives the purchase request from the customer. Several questions now need to be answered:
- Is there custom pricing or fixed pricing?
- Does the invoice need pricing input or approval from the sales manager or upper management?
- Are parts in stock to meet the order?
- What will shipping costs be?
- If only a partial shipment can be sent, does the client still want it?
- Does the client have approved credit?
- Are there any outstanding invoices that need to be paid before new orders are accepted?
- If this is a first-time client, what data needs to be collected including for credit approval?
- What payment source is required? Credit? Credit card? Advance payment? Partial payment upon order, remainder on delivery?
- If the buyer is from another country, what payment method can the company accept?
- Should inventory levels be dynamically updated to reserve product to meet the order?
- Are purchasing costs allocated among different account classes such as service expenses, delivery, inventory, sales commission?
- What individuals throughout the company need to be notified on the sale?
Once the order is placed, new decision trees come into play including recording payment, financial reporting, sales reports, etc.
The workflow establishes the stages of the purchasing process and automates the individual actions, assuring that each step of the process is completed, and approvals are received at the appropriate decision points or the purchase order is referred back for further information or refused. If the sales manager, inventory manager, accounting dept, or other areas of the company need to be notified, a notice is generated and sent through the Business Central workflow. Throughout the process, turnaround, accuracy, accountability, payment controls, cost accounting, and other functions rely not on an individual remembering to clear each step but by an automated process that can be continually refined and improved. When the next order is received, it follows the same approval flow.
Automated workflows can be used for repetitive processes throughout the company from human resources to financial management, inventory control, marketing and virtually every level of a company. Workflows are checkpoints that keep companies from taking decision shortcuts that create problems. When you integrate this capability with 365 Business Central’s cloud-based data accessibility and crossover into all aspects of a company, you have an incredibly powerful tool to make your business more successful. That’s one of the key reasons we are strong proponents of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
WhiteOwl has been a Microsoft Gold Partner since 1996 and has established expertise in Microsoft Dynamics 365 BUSINESS CENTRAL. WhiteOwl helps to capture the value of cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning and optimizes your investment in BUSINESS CENTRAL. Part of our approach is to focus on the broader, long-term implications of technologies and how ERP best fits within your organization.