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How Manufacturers Streamline Business Processes with Workflow Automation

December 9, 2019

Ever since Sir Richard Arkwright developed a water powered spinning mill for cotton in 1771, the manufacturing industry has embraced automation as a way to reduce time and costs when it comes to repetitive tasks.

So it should be no surprise that the manufacturing companies vertical would turn to workflow automation for many of its business processes, especially when it comes to areas such as:

  • Managing purchase orders
  • Onboarding new customers
  • Inventory management
  • Supplier/vendor management
  • Tracking invoices
  • Purchasing
  • Tracking KPIs
  • Track maintenance issues and requests

Applying workflow automation to processes to situations such as these allows you to connect the right people to the right systems to get things done efficiently and effectively.

How Does Workflow Automation Benefit Manufacturing Specifically?

Looking at the list of processes above, you can safely say that any type of business would benefit from having workflow automation applied to them. So let’s dig into some specific examples that apply to the manufacturing industry.

Better Communication

If supplies or materials are running low, you run the risk of production slowing down or even stopping entirely. Applying workflow automation to your inventory processes allows you to notify the right people when supplies fall below a comfortable threshold. Further automation allows you to interact with your suppliers and vendors so that you can start the ordering process. Your purchasing department may also benefit from notifications related to these orders to ensure prompt payment.

The onboarding of new customers may also benefit from workflow automation. The ability to monitor customers through your onboarding process to ensure they are receiving the attention they need helps keep them on track and notifies you when they complete a task or require extra assistance.

Finally, the right workflow automation applied to your business processes helps you better track business-critical KPIs. Setting up notifications when you meet certain milestones allows you to report progress up the chain. Conversely, setting alerts to go off when something is falling behind allows you to make adjustments so you can meet the goals you set.


Efficiency comes from the right people having the right information on hand. Automation eliminates the human error that causes information to go to the wrong person or break established processes. When you are able to route information and requests to the right teams, you eliminate a number of problems, whether it be an order form, a purchase order, an approval, or any other type of request.

Workflow automation also allows you to track information as it works its way through the chain of custody so you can see where something may be held up. This gives you insight into what may be causing a delay so you can more easily get to the root cause.

Better Reporting

In manufacturing, staying ahead of trends allows your business to avoid overruns and eliminate shortages. Applying algorithms to your workflow automation gives you a better understanding of trends surrounding your products, your customers, and the overall marketplace. Customizing these algorithms with the right automation solution provides even greater granularity into your forecasts.

Dealing with maintenance and issue resolution also benefits from the reporting workflow automation provides you. When applied properly, you have the ability to track issues for current maintenance repairs while also setting notifications for preventative maintenance and scheduling follow-ups. Staying on top of this with workflow automation helps keep your machines running smoothly.

According to the Global Business Process Management Report from Capgemini, 74 percent of businesses that introduced BPM to reduce manual work and increase automation reported a positive impact. Though these successes are never guaranteed, check out our latest webinars to see how you may benefit from automating workflows and business processes in your organization. If you would like to discuss your particular use case, we would love to hear about it. Please contact us at sales@decisions.com.

Gordon Jones
Gordon Jones has founded and sold three companies with the last built using Decisions technology. He has also led factories and large IT implementations both in the US and in Asia, where he lived for over seven years.

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