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4 Ways Workflow Can Improve Utility Operations

by Kristin Logan | Jan 14, 2016

utilities workflow For many utilities operating with a small administrative team, paper processes are the norm. With staff wearing multiple hats, these tasks can move slower than optimal and mistakes are more likely. Even with the use of an electronic document management system, accomplishing routine tasks can still be a manual process. Staff has to pass documents back and forth and track important information through searches – either digitally or through paper files. Managing these processes manually creates an environment where more is piled on to plates that are already full enough.

Workflow software acts as a necessary coordinator that can be scaled to directly meet the needs of any-sized organization. For offices operating with a small management team, automating processes can dramatically improve operations on all fronts.  

Here are 4 ways that workflow can improve your operations:

Human Resources
Enforce employee requirements: In fields where certifications, continuing education and licensures must be managed, human resources often has to review files to ensure compliance. Instead of chasing down employees to provide the required documentation, a workflow system can automatically detect upcoming training and send reminders to the appropriate parties. When the documentation is available, it can be scanned and routed to the individuals’ personnel file, cancelling the reminder and updating the information in the system without manual input.

Accounting
Manage accounts payable processes:
While a workflow can’t cut a check, it can manage every other step of the accounts payable process much more efficiently than an individual responsible for AP. By uploading invoices and records into workflow, Accounts Payable can more easily track due dates and early payment discounts, and streamline invoice submissions, third party signature requirements and every other step of the process. The routing rules can even be set to perform different tasks when the amount is over or under a specified threshold.

Contract Management
Manage, organize and collaborate on documents:  
Documents can pile in from multiple sources, many of which are recurring and carry predictable next steps. Contracts, for example, often require additional documentation and further collaboration. With a workflow system, these files are more easily organized and can initiate these document-driven processes automatically. The software allows for more streamlined approval and collaboration, and can help track and manage appended supporting documentation with ease.

Work Order Fulfillment
Faster dispatch and turnaround time: By improving work order notifications and access to supporting documentation, technicians can get the job done faster and improve change order cycle times. Engineering teams can instantly access progress notes, reports, quality control documents, inspections and any other required documents, as field technicians can upload and route documents through the workflow from the field. This level of access provides more support for compliance initiatives and audits, while increasing both the speed and accuracy of the jobs.

Offices with fewer staff don’t have to operate like they’re understaffed. As the coordinator of these paper-driven processes, workflow acts as an essential team member, allowing tasks to get completed without repetitive follow-ups or delays. Offices can improve the time it tasks to accomplish the most important tasks, leverage automated reminders to ensure compliance and most importantly, get the job done quickly and accurately.

How does your organization manage business processes? Milner Technologies, Inc is the leading provider of document management software and workflow solutions in the electrical cooperative industry. See how workflow can benefit your organization. Schedule a demo.