Managing Extended, Semi-Structured Processes with Business Process Automation
Structured, standardized processes are essential to the efficient operation of a company, and ERP systems are very good at supporting these types of processes. But many processes are really semi-structured (e.g., unstructured documents, judgement based rules, dynamic routings). These often extend outside the ERP to customers, suppliers, and the field. And these often go unmanaged, which is unfortunate because many have the potential to create differentiators and drive revenue.
Our client, a global maritime company with emergency response and salvage services, needed a way to manage materials as project teams descend on a site, assess damage, and begin salvage and recovery operations. The teams know what they need and when they need it, but detailed material specifications, cost, supplier sourcing, and logistics have to be refined later by procurement and administration.
Restated: They needed a process that adds just enough structure to get the right materials to the site on time, but without demanding excess time and detail from people in the field, who are often working in urgent and hostile environments. And they needed visibility into this process end-to-end (i.e., managed).
Rand Group created workflows and forms (both mobile and SharePoint based forms), using the K2 Appit platform, to support this extended, semi-structured process. The project teams can quickly create a request describing the material they need (description and date needed is all that’s required, although the more data, the better). They can attach documents, pictures and links to sites – anything to help procurement define and source the material.
The request is then refined through a series of routings (some based on pre-defined destinations, some on dynamic destinations, and some based on judgement) until it is sourced, costed, approved and on its way. The K2 Appit platform provides the mature workflow capabilities that are needed in critical processes like this (e.g., escalation, reassignment, intelligent and dynamic routing). Process metrics are available in reports, or Excel so people can use pivot tables to search and filter requests, monitor workflow, and estimate expenditures well before they hit the ERP.
Extended, Semi-Structured, Flexible, Managed, Agile and Differentiating.
Smart companies treat their processes as assets.
More information is available on our Business Process Automation page.
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