Automate Business Workflow With Mobile Data Collection

Workflow Management And Mobile Forms: How To Document Business Process Using QR Mobile Data Software

Are workflows necessary? Do I need to create a workflow?

It is not necessary to create a workflow - you can use mobile forms that are not linked to a workflow for the data collection. Create workflow(s) only if your business logic requires that.

If your business operations include processes that can span many days, and require multiple employees to perform actions on the different production steps, then creating and using workflows will be very beneficial. Workflow will allow you to structure the process, divide it into steps, specify what should be done and what data need to be collected / forms filled out on each step. All participating employees and administrators will have live access to the current project status, progress, know what was done and what needs to be done next. There won't be any guesswork, delays or incorrect actions.

After project is completed, you will be able to access the entire documentation chain: project movement through the stages, when each step was done, by whom, any notes and information collected and forms filled out on each step.

When should I use workflows, and when should I use stand alone mobile forms?

You do not need to over complicate the situation when it is not necessary. Let's take, for example, a daily walk-through / inspection of the property. This is also a process. An employee needs to walk through the stations in a certain order, check that everything is working and in the correct shape, identify the problems, and complete a checklist while doing so.

This is an example of a simple process that does not need a workflow. For this situation, one form broken into smaller categories / sub-forms for each station will be sufficient and more appropriate.

On the other hand, if you need to track a complex multi-stage manufacturing project one form won't be enough. You will need to create a workflow to track project stages, and potentially fill out one or several forms on each step to produce accurate documentation. By creating a workflow you give all participating employees up-to-the-minute access to the project's information and progress, so that everyone knows what had been done, what do do next, if there are any problems that need to be fixed. All collected documentation is preserved, linked to the project steps and is accessible on demand from anywhere.

As a rule of thumb, use stand alone forms for everything that is usually done in one setting by a single employee. Use workflows for the complex processes that span multiple days and involve more than one employee.

What is the best way to collect and preserve documentation for all our projects? Do I need a workflow for this?

Yes, it is beneficial to create a workflow to organize and preserve project-related documentation. Divide project into steps, and link mobile form(s) to each step on which you need to collect data. This way you will be able to easily retrieve the entire documentation chain in the proper order for any past project.

Are workflows and mobile forms connected?

You can connected mobile forms to the workflow steps, but it is not a requirement. You may have a workflow without any forms, and you can have stand alone forms that are not linked to a workflow.

Are workflows connected to the inventory tracking?

If you are using QR Mobile Data in combination with QR Inventory, you can link inventory transactions to a workflow as a whole or a specific workflow step. This will allow you to review what parts and materials where used for the project, when and who installed them. Optionally you can record and review batch numbers / serial numbers of the used parts for traceability.

QR Inventory allows you to define what information employees should collect during inventory transactions. In order to link inventory transactions to the workflow, simply add project number and workflow step to the required information that needs to be recorded during inventory transaction.

Do I need to create workflows for traceability?

It depends on what degree of traceability you need, and what your business process is.

If your main goal for traceability is to be able to find and recall all affected products in case of a problem, you may not need to create or track workflows. You simply track all products by a lot number / batch number, and record where each batch was distributed. If any of your clients reports a problem with the batch, you find all other clients who received the same batch and issue a recall.

If, however, you have strict traceability requirements, you will also need to pinpoint where in the production process the problem could have been introduced. Was it a bad component / ingredient? Contamination during the process? Error on the operator part? Something else?

If you need to do this kind of a problem analysis, you do need to use workflows and produce a detailed process documentation. Also, workflow and tracking of the processes can help you avoid the problems in the first place. Implement quality control and inspections on each step, and it will drastically reduce the possibility of an unnoticed error that can lead to a bigger problem down the road.

For more information on traceability and the ways to achieve it please read this blog article.


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