Imagine a company that prints out a couple invoices, snail-mailing one copy to their customer and saving another copy in a filing cabinet. Imagine that company printing out sales orders, purchase orders and anything pertaining to a job or project, and then filing them in paper folders or job jackets. Imagine a paper folder following the job, being routed to different departments for review and for physical signatures. A printed-out pertinent email is stuffed into the folder. Imagine, in the end, that this mass paper trail fills several filing cabinets, then is archived annually to a warehouse or to an offsite storage facility, and eventually, one day, is shredded. Does that company sound like yours?
Even companies that are “green” in other ways are still prone to perpetuating their cumbersome paper filing systems. “But these systems still work,” some may say.
The system no longer works when employees misplace documents or files and lose entire job jackets. The system is flawed when vulnerabilities are exposed and employees can take advantage of a situation, and for instance, can purposely misplace Return Material Authorization folders to avoid commission deductions. This last scenario, while hopefully not too common, can happen to any company. Whether the intent is malicious or not, paper trails leave companies open for error.
So, is the solution to keep digital documents? It’s not always the full solution. Companies often struggle to manage emails, saving important inbound and outbound emails to folders. They may keep important digital copies locally, or in a shared folder, or on a network drive. Often, customers and prospects email requests for quotes, purchase orders, change orders, or email questions about an order or job status. In the end, this creates an equally burdensome issue of managing digital files. Digital chaos!
The answer – BPM
It doesn't matter if you’re a small business or a large enterprise, a private or public company – many companies still struggle with managing paper, digital documents and scanned documents. More importantly, they struggle with taking action on these documents. Business Process Management (BPM) allows you to take action and take control.
BPM systems help companies align their business processes across departments and roles to streamline business activities and create efficiency. BPM systems, when implemented properly with effective design and proper execution, can benefit a small company to a large enterprise by improving communication and collaboration.
BPM systems integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions to allow you to relate emails, documents, workflow, customers and projects together. BPM with ERP allows you to relate the non-transactional with the transactional. It’s like “having your cake and eating it too.”
What if you could save emails and documents and relate them to customer information, a sales order, a job or project information? What if you could take action on emails and documents alike, by routing them to the correct people for approval, and to follow-up? What if you had 360 degree view from the first email you received from the customer to the sales order? Wonder no further. BPM is the answer!
Some of the latest versions of ERP software contain Business Process Management (BPM) features, but it’s always a good idea to inquire with your supplier to understand how to utilize the features to fit your specific manufacturing and distribution needs.