How checklists improve business processes
Today we know more than we did 50 years ago. We operate our businesses with a lot more information at hand than we did decades ago. And yet, businesses are struggling to manage the complexity of the modern age. As a result, their opportunities sometimes end up in failure.
This is partly why workflow management is such a critical part of running a company today. It helps companies to achieve efficiency, by enabling their employees to take pre-defined steps that will make sure tasks are completed. However, managing workflows is not enough to get the most out of them. This is where automation comes into play. It’s no secret that automating workflows with checklists can deliver significant improvements in business operations. The big question is how?
“Checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized.” – Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto
What is the power of checklists?
The checklist helps us in our everyday life, but also in the complex world of business. The simple use of checklists can be illustrated with the to-do lists we make for shopping, travelling, etc. But in the world of business operations checklists are different. They’re listing all of the steps that are needed to complete a task.
This description of the use of checklists may sound like some routine and annoying stuff. But in some industries and professions, it’s a tool that literally helps people survive.
The Advantage of Checklists
- Automated Checklists Reduce Errors
The complex world of business operations recognizes digital checklists as a more effective tool than paper-based checklists. The simple explanation for that is that when checklists are filled manually on paper, they’re more likely to produce an error. Efficiency is measured with the reducing of errors. That’s why businesses are implementing checklist features in their workflow automation software.
When we talk about automation, we always talk more or less about time-saving. The exact way checklists are saving our time is by bringing order and consequentiality into the work processes. This enables employees to be more focused and efficient with the time they spend on tasks.
- Improved productivity
The work process often involves more than just one person, and productivity often depends on how multiple persons are rolling the wheel. A checklist is also a tool that transforms project management. When somebody finishes their tasks, other relevant people are notified, and everyone is on the same page in terms of delivery and productivity. Last but not least, the power of good checklist automation goes beyond just notifying. It also automatically assigns new tasks to iron out the workflow.
How to do checklist automation right?
We know the advantages of checklist automation and how it can transform our business. But do we know the organisation's goals? Obviously, there are wrong and right ways to approach checklist automation. The difference is whether we've defined the goals we want to achieve from checklists automation.
- Improve productivity
- Improve time management
- Reduce the cost of processes
- Improve the accountability in the team
To optimise the work process we need to define our specific problems and validate if the problem was fixed with the checklist automation. If we don’t approach the automation right, we won’t know if it worked, and it may actually complicate the work process rather than facilitate it. We need to be able to compare the manual process with the automated process through a problem-solving perspective. That way, we can measure the efficiency of automation.
How to implement automated checklists in business processes?
There are a couple of things that should be known about a process automation software. Most of all, it has to be configurable. A checklist that can be rearranged and adjusted anytime is what makes it a versatile problem-solver that can serve the needs of an organisation.
Checklists are a tool that can transform routine business operations. From manufacturing to safety inspection management, checklists improve the quality of living. Their use as a tool can be applied in different industries and circumstances and serve various purposes. No matter what the specific use case is, checklists have the potential to transform organisations into a better version of themselves when implemented right.