Operation: Vulnerability Response Process

They say, "There is no software without a weak point."

In other words, computers and communication devices with countless software built in are "full of dangerous weak points". There are also business systems that manage sales and salaries...

"Vulnerability Response" by IT department is, in simple words, "repair work of software".

Specifically, the IT department collects vulnerability information from "IT information site" or "Google Alert email" on a daily basis. If information relates with the software used by the company's computer, they conduct "patch application" or "version upgrade", etc. Although there are many software perform "automatic patch" and "automatic update" by themselves recently, there are still not a few "incidents that must be handled manually".

Incidentally, once or twice a year, a security test ("vulnerability assessment") by a specialized contractor should be carried out to check whether the repair work is done properly.

Challenge: Response depends on individual

However, a tremendous number of "attack methods" are found everyday.

"Methods of attack" on old software are also reported almost every day. Even though "weak points" should have been overcome by daily repair, it seems that attackers are also improving their ideas and power, day by day. It seems to continue forever. "Vulnerabilities" announced by CVE, for example, are count to more than 10,000 annually.
(CVE:Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures)

It is no longer the amount that IT department can check through. The reality is, that experienced employees are responding using their "individual information network" and "smell?"

Hmm, wouldn't be there any way to deal it more systematically?

To put it more, I would like to record and share precisely about who decided what kind of judgment on urgent vulnerability. For example, I would like to look back on when and how the correspondence was made against sensational vulnerabilities such as "ShellShock" or "Heartbleed". (OpenSSL, GNU bash)

[Vulnerability Response Process]


Operation:Soliciting Improvements from in-house

It seems that the Japanese government seriously wants to make "work style reform".

Certainly, there are "creating documents that no one sees" or "inefficient exchanging" also inside our company. I would like to think about a method more actively to absorb concrete "improvement idea", such as "introduce cloud service for certain work" or "utilizing IoT". For example, "mid-career employees" and "temporary workers" are grumbling while they are drinking... It is really wasteful if it just ?ended up in vain.

However, even if the president cried out that "Improve the business process and increase productivity!" at the morning meeting, specific "improvement proposal" will not come up.

Oh, yeah. First of all, let's ask "Internal Audit Office" to accept "idea submission" like the image of the so-called "suggestion box".

And let them operate a Workflow such as let it advance to 'on-site hearing step' and 'president reporting step' about good ideas. And let them operate a Workflow which make it advance to 'on-site hearing step' and 'president reporting step' about good ideas. (Business Improvement Idea Reception Process)

Challenge: Form that anyone in the company can post to

However, all the workers do not have "login ID" to the Workflow platform.

If "login ID" was required for idea posting, temporary workers and part-timers are not able to post. (I suppose the inefficiency of the work-floor could be surely being pressed on to part-timers and temporary staffs...)

Thinking carefully, it needs to secure some degree of "anonymity", as well.

I would like to endorse bold idea such as, for example, "Improvement idea to lower manager's fraud risk".

Hmm, it seems that soliciting questionnaires on "a completely opened webform on the Internet" is one of the way, but it makes me feeling nervous somehow. (The URL might be exposed, or people who have nothing to do with might make suggestion...)

[Business Improvement Idea Reception Process]

The Task:Feedback to Weekly sales report

"Sales of one week" is now to be written to Google Sheets. (See Episode 550)

Since every store manager edits one file (e.g. "Sales report 2017-08-27to2017-09-02") concurrently, the following improvements are achieved.
  • Each store manager has become to be aware of other stores
  • Store managers have become to point out incorrect input each other
  • Summing work at the headquarters has become unnecessary (as it is left to Spreadsheet)
  • The executives also have become to browse the file and actively checked the trend of each store
In other words, "sales data" including comments from each store manager has been used actively inside the company. ("Sales data" was dead before...)

Challenge: No comment by management

However, there should have been "feedback" from managers in the headquarter to all the store managers.

Even though all the store managers work hard and reporting, it is sad that there are not any comments from the managers in the headquarter. It doesn't matter how simple these words would be. Just express your gratitude to the store managers who are eager to your smile...

Doing so, the executives will be able to understand "what the managers in headquarters are thinking about actual data / what advice they are giving".

[Weekly Sales Report-Feedback]

The Task: Weekly sales report

I have each store manager report sales of the week.

It sure is good to operate a simple "Sales report Process", which is
  1. Each and every "Store manager" makes reporting
  2. "Director" at the headquarter confirms
However, those store managers seem to be working only "watching their boss".

I suppose it could be better, for example, to produce "more chances to access data of other store".


If you are using G suite, "Google SpreadSheet" is available to edit the same document by all store managers (* up to 50 people). And it will reduce labor for "summing up" of "Headquarter director". Regarding "mistakes on input", store manager who made mistake could aware of it by him or herself for comparing with data of other stores. Or, maybe managers would mention about "input mistakes" each other! (It may lead to activate communications between stores, and that leads improving productivity...)

Challenge: Preparation of the new SpreadSheet is troublesome

However, then, someone is needed to prepare "Spreadsheets for reporting" every week.

It would be too much for "directors" in headquarter to ask to do. They are hard on others, and easy on themselves. Like, they never have tried to be in time for deadline even for claiming out-of-pocket expense. Hmm, the biggest challenge seems to be the first Step at which "to prepare a new SpreadSheet and announce it to every store managers every week precisely".

[Weekly Sales Report]

How to announce personnel information

The task of "announcing information on personnel changes (change of assignment or position) to in-house" is tricky.

There are various types, such as promotion / relegation / recruitment / retirement / leave of absence / department transfer / seconded ... and also individual circumstances differ from each other.

As a feeling of a HR staff, he or she may want to let everybody know about it a few months in advance, if was a case where, for example, "a happy retirement of an employee who has been trustworthy". Whereas, in the case where "being headhunted by a competitor", HR may want to keep that secret. Also in the case of "taking a leave for family care", there are people who want to positively let it known to their colleagues or related people in advance (in consideration of breach of confidentiality obligations), while some other people may want remain in silent.

Basically, we should solemnly switch the "information that is secret within the HR department" to "information publicly known inside the company", according to the "prescribed disclosing rules". (Personnel notice)

Challenges on practical operation

In Japan, many companies adopt "in-house posting" as a publication method.

However, with the way of printing on paper and stick it to "bulletin board" or "wall", there is only few chances of looking at if, for employees who go out often, who are on long leave or teleworkers. On the other hand for staffs of HR, the tasks of "posting the notice at a fixed timing" or "stopping the posting at the scheduled timing" is unexpectedly a big burden.

Whereas, other companies adopt the way of "announcing verbally at morning briefing". However, also it must be said that it is difficult for people who are on long leave and teleworkers to obtain the same amount of information as attendance at the morning briefing. Moreover, there are also risks that 'date of change' or 'change department' etc. are not accurately conveyed because of being verbal.

[Personnel Change Information Publication]

Analytics tells 'particular building company is in trouble'?

In the last article and the one before the last, I introduced you (nearly unmanned) Workflows that informs "trends of web access of the last week" to in-house.

Once this business process is in operation, employees will be able to check the latest information obtained through the "Google Analytics Reporting API" every Monday morning by e-mail. As the result, daily work for "Customer support" or "Sales" will be more efficient.

However, it might be better if "Information that is not in Analytics" is written as well. That is, it may be possible to gain deeper understanding and insight on trend information such as "links that a lot of inflows" and "Pages that referred by specific customers", if it also has included information which is not in Analytics such as;
  • 'delivered a press release on last Tuesday'
  • 'held a user seminar on last Thursday (in which the particular building company participated!)'.

API acquisition of calendar information as well

The following Business Process Definition is a mechanism in which information of the events of last week, that have been written in the in-house calendar for "Public relations schedule and exhibition schedule" (Google Calendar), is added to the email notification.

When operating this Workflow, employees who would receive notification emails will be able to see "related information that may have affected Web access" at the same time.

[Website Operation Report 3]

Ranking on popular pages

In the last article, I introduced you a way of automatic generation of "weekly reports" by automated communication with "Google Analytics Reporting API".

The point was the automated Step (Service Task Addon) which automatically retrieves data aggregated in the following rule.
  • Dimension: ga:hostname, ga:pagePath, ga:pageTitle
  • Metrics: ga:pageviews, ga:sessions

In this Step, "List of web pages that got a lot of access" is gathered into a multi-line text. If you set to "filter" something like "ga:pagePath=~/blog/" you can also automatically get the ranking of "web pages under blog folders".

Notification email that is embedded these texts would be very useful information for Marketing team.

Tens of thousands of other patterns of aggregation method

But now, I would like to aggregate data of Google Analytics in more different perspectives.

While in the previous example, ranking was retrieved with the above "three dimensions" and "two metrics", Google Analytics has about 260 dimensions and about 230 metrics. In other words, a wide variety of data aggregation is available, by changing its combination.

For example, when you aggregate not only on the aspect of site contents ("Behavior (BEHAVIOR)") but also "AUDIENCE" or "ACQUISITION", you should be able to extract information such as "What kind of people are accessing?" or "What kind of site has it been derived from?".

Reference: Dimensions & Metrics Explorer

[Website Operation Report 2]

Is it an analysis tool, or an aggregation tool?

Anyone who is involved in the web industry knows about the existence of "Google Analytics".

Although I might not need to explain again, "Google Analytics" is a service that is to know the number of visits and visitors on particular website, and it is an indispensable tool for people who work in the industry, for surveying such as "popular pages" and "unpopular pages" or "investment effect of online ads".

On the other hand, for many people it can be said "a too much functional tool".

In order to display the information which you want to see, you must go through complicated procedures because its multifunctionality. Even those who log in to "Google Analytics" every week, to make "in-house weekly newsletter" for example, actually use only a few functions of it. Therefore, many people use "custom reports" (dashboards) and "custom alerts" (email notifications) trying to make the every time work efficient.

No abnormality in aggregated value this week!

The following Business Process Definition is "Website Operation Status Reporting Process" to be conducted weekly. Every Monday morning, "a draft of report that aggregated data of Google Analytics has been inserted" will be prepared. Therefore, marketers can complete a report for the entire company just by entering a brief commentary. You do not need to log into "Google Analytics" unless remarkable changes occur.

[Website Operation Report]

Maintenance on Google Group registrants

In the last article and the one before the last, I introduced you Business Process Definitions which automatized addition or deletion of members of "Google Group" to be carried out.

If Google Group is being used as "In-house information sharing tool" in your company, these functions such as automatic addition and automatic deletion could be very useful as "mechanism to guarantee timely update".

Height of reliability requirement

However, even if you introduced such a mechanism, "maintaining correct members" is not easy.

In some cases, for example, you could have added a member to a "wrong group" (system administration screen) in corresponding to a rush-request. Or, there may be cases where a user him/herself commits "unsubscribe processing" (User setting screen). Those cases are state of "Information will reach people who should not reach" or "Information does not reach the person to reach".

"What? Was there such a notification?"

An employee worked without receiving information via mailing list for months feeling something was strange. That kind of Tragedy (which is a very terrible thing) will always occur someday.

[ML Member Confirmation]

Management of mailing list

In the previous article, I introduced you a Business Process Definition of a Workflow in which (email address of) "newsletter subscribers" are added to "Google Group" automatically. (Task of corresponding to information material request.)

That was a mechanism by which one email address to be added to "one mailing list" automatically.

However, when you look around mailing lists inside your company, (even though it is on a downward trend due to the spread of so-called "chat tool") you will find various in-house mailing lists are used on a daily basis in many tasks, such as "Directive of the business policy", "Sharing information that should be limited within a department" and "Receiving system alerts".

Therefore, regarding management of mailing lists, it might be more cases where you want to add an email address to all of the "multiple mailing lists" at once.

Bulk registration to multiple Google Groups

The following Business Process Definition is "flow for new account request".

If there is a "new account request" from within the company, the IT system department will make necessary system settings such as "issue new account" and "modify LDAP setting".

What noteworthy is that the Step for addition and deletion in "multiple mailing lists" is automated. (automatization of Step)

That is, when an Issue reaches the Step of [Add Group Member] or [Delete Group Member], the Workflow system will send a request for addition / deletion (OAuth2). This means that, concerning a task of "addition / deletion in mailing list", the person in IT system department in charge is required only to confirm if selection is correct: "Google Group to be added to" (Checkbox) and "Google Group to be deleted from" (Checkbox). So the personnel in charge no longer needs to access "G Suite" dashboard and edit the Group setting one by one. (Admin SDK Directory API v1)

[Account issuance - List registration]

Information sharing by email

Mailing lists are useful.

It is used in many organizations on a daily basis, such as for "information sharing" within the organization or for "information announcement" to customers. However, there are not a few cases where "maintenance work" of the list is neglected.
  • Delivering to people who should not receive the email (Information leakage?)
  • Not delivered to people who should receive the email (Typical tragedy on newcomers?)
Such a kind of situation will be occurring all over the world.

Automatic addition of Subscriber

The following Business Process definition is "Information material request correspondence flow".

This Workflow will be initiated by request via Web by a customer. And, when the requested Issue reaches at the automatic Step "Add to Subscriber", the "customer's email address" will be automatically added to the mailing list (Google Group).

Such "automatization" of processing not only eliminates the trouble of the G Suite administrator accessing the management screen to manually copy the data, but also contributes to preventing troubles due to setting mistakes and time loss. Moreover, it realizes "Address addition history record" which was difficult by manual setting.

[Information Material Request Correspondence]

Productivity Improvement by Automation of Steps

In the last article and one before the last, I introduced you a mechanism to control "PayPal billing system" from Workflow system.

In these mechanisms (Workflow Application), an automatic Step (Addon Service Task) is arranged in the middle of the flow diagram. That is, each time when a billing Issue arrives these Steps, the Workflow system transmits "Requests" such as
  • Generate "PayPal Invoice" (PayPal Create)
  • Transmit a "PayPal Invoice" (PayPal Send)
  • What is the settlement status? (PayPal Check)
In other words, "accounting works" such as "generation of electronic invoice", "transmission of electronic invoice", "confirmation of status of electronic invoice" have been made unmanned. (REST / OAuth2 communication with PayPal Invoicing API)

Today, not only the "payment system" (*1) as in this example, but also the operation of various information systems are automated, and the productivity is improved. For example, preservation of quotation to "Storage system" (*2), or management of product master data in "Spreadsheet / Data management system" (*3), are typical examples.

*1: PayPal, Stripe, etc. *2: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc. *3 Google SpreadSheet, Kintone, etc.

<Setting screen: PayPal Create>

<Setting screen: PayPal Send>

<Setting screen: PayPal Check> 

The fact that the process owner only needs to set properties of the Addon automatic Step (programming knowledge is no longer needed) is also one of the reasons for popularization.

Until which stage of situation change you should make unmanned?

However, there are not only "advantages" that unmanning brings.

In the previous article, for example, it was a business flow that it continues confirming (keep on looping) until the status of electronic invoice turns to "PAID".

It sure is, there is no human cost on "confirmation work" alone since human does not intervene.

However, if an event such as "order cancellation" or "remittance with another settlement method" has occurred, it may be necessary to stop the Task of "shipping processing" in some cases. Or depending on circumstances, it may become necessary to modify the processing of "recording sales". Yet, as for the situation change which "influence degree × occurrence probability" is large, as a business process definition, I would like to make it "within the range of assumption" as much as possible, not leaving it as "unexpected".

In the following business process definition, "CANCELED status" (cancellation) which is relatively frequently occurring has been taken into consideration. That is, it is added devising that alert email to be sent when payment is refused.

[PayPal Invoice Issuance-Cancellation notification]

Automatize billing

In the previous article, we created a workflow in which "PayPal Invoice" is automatically sent, by placing two automatic Steps "PayPal Create" and "PayPal Send".

That is, "billing data" which has been checked and approved in the human Step is automatically POSTed to PayPal side and then "PayPal invoice" is generated. And at the specified time (send command is delivered), it will be sent by email. After all, since it can be defined with only "Addon Service Task" ("Script Task" is not used), it is attractive to be able to build an "automatic billing system" according to your business even if you had no programming knowledge.

However, it was "out of scope" for "work of checking whether 'PayPal invoice' was settled".

Automatize throughout deposit confirmation

In the following Business Process, an automatic Step called "PayPal Check" (Addon Service Task) has been added furthermore. In other words, this Workflow system is set to continuously check the settlement status for "PayPal invoice" that has been sent, periodically and automatically.

Specifically, an Issue which is staying at "(3. Unpaid retention)" will arrive at "PayPal Check", each time when
  • the accounting staff proceeds the Issue, or
  • retention time of 12 hours passes.
So, the settlement status is inquired via secure communication (OAuth 2 communication / PayPal Invoicing API). If the status is "settled (PAID)", it will store "Settled time" and "Settled amount", and the entire process end, without returning to "(3. Unpaid retention)".

[PayPal Invoice Issuance-PayPal Check]

Invoice directly connected to settlement

"PayPal Invoice" is an electronic invoice in the format of "Email".

From the viewpoint of the person who received the mail, it is very simple since you can click on the "View and Pay Invoice" button and immediately complete the settlement processing (card payment / PayPal account settlement). Of course, even when "in-house transfer to accounting personnel" is required, it is very easy to do, just a transfer operation on email client.

Also, viewing from person who issued the invoice, it is very easy since its procedures are only
  1. Login to PayPal and enter billing data
  2. (receive Settlement completion notification)
comparing to conventional "Business Process of invoicing in paper" took
  1. Create Excel data of invoice
  2. Printout the invoice
  3. Mail the invoice
  4. Confirm remittance in specified bank account

Moreover, we do not receive credit card information, so there is no "information leakage risk".

In recent years, it has also gained much attention on the aspects of "productivity improvement" and "teleworking environment improvement". (PayPal Invoice)

[Example of received email]

API connection to Workflow

"PayPal invoice" does not require introduction of particular system.

However, this ease of "you can send an invoice by logging in to PayPal" also brings new challenges such as "ambiguous approval by supervisor" and "difficult to make mistake checks by multiple people". Especially if a company emphasizes "Business Process", there is a possibility of being discussed as a problem on governance.

In the following Business Process definition example, we have realized the policy that

"to utilize PayPal invoice without logging in to PayPal"

by implementing API control from the Workflow system. That is, the data which have been approved and checked in the workflow system is automatically linked to PayPal side through the API, and the "command to send the invoice email" is also delivered from the Workflow system via the API. And all work records of "When and who did what" are all recorded on the Workflow system side.

* If it is a Cloud-based workflow "Questetra BPM Suite", it can be realized for free. (By importing the Business Process definition, you can build it in a few hours.)

[PayPal Invoice Issuance]

Passive Step of "Receiving acceptance report"

Illustration production, Website production, Interior construction... "Acceptance inspection" is accompaniment to these outsourced businesses.

Issues based on contract is, not simply 1)"to deliver" the deliverable, but through 2) the step of "Receiving an acceptance report" from the client, and finally you can 3)"Claim the commission fee".

(Although there are cases in special business relationship where "Acceptance inspection step' is omitted and "immediate billing on delivery" is allowed...)

Pathetically sincere efforts and ingenuity have been performed all over the world, such as
  • attaching a sample of "Acceptance report" for clients, or
  • titling the slip as "Acceptance report request (cum-Deliverly note)" instead of "Delivery note".

Not yet decided what the Step is for to do?

However, "Receiving of Acceptance report" in the reality, there are not only cases that
  • A) They give "Acceptance report" on the delivery day.

There occurs various cases such as
  • B) they will send "Acceptance report" to the inspection deadline limit, or
  • C) the client presupposes the application of the "provision on deemed inspection passed" without submitting the acceptance report.

Moreover, there could be
  • D) cases where it is judged that "the deliverable do not meet the specifications" and forced to extend the acceptance period, or
  • E) cases where it is judged that "the deliverable do not meet the specifications" and forced to re-deliver.

So what kind of Business Process diagram should you draw for such cases? In particular, for cases of C) which is "doing nothing until the deadline, then ends", it is difficult how to express it.

[Acceptance inspection corresponding flow]

Measuring working time on certain process

For example, when you want to measure the "time required for translation" in the translation process, you can consider a method that having "reporting (inputting)" actual working time" together with the"translation result".

However, in that method, it requires to have the workers to measure the actual work time in the means such as;
Such an act of "self-measuring and reporting working hours" must be a major effort.

* However, there are still advantages that it is possible to respond flexibly, such as temporarily stopping the measurement, when time to be excluded such as "coffee break" or "corresponding to interrupt work " occurs halfway.

The accuracy of the reported value

Also, "Inaccurate actual work time" may be reported as a result.

For example, the "work time" would be entered a little differently from the fact, if it is a system in which some incentive affects to make the "translation time" looks shorter (or longer) in terms of personnel evaluation and ability assessment.

Alternatively, if there are workers who are proud of their outcome of the work itself and have no interest in such as "translation time", we have to assume that 'perfunctory data' will be entered.

[Translation flow]

Productivity declining due to mistakes

For those who make approvals, processing of "Sending back" is annoying.

Instead of reading the contents of an application and giving approval on it without saying anything (It will take 3 minutes), he or she must write a "reason for sending back" which costs 10 more minutes. (You don't dare to reject without a word, do you?) And if that was for "Point out simple mistake or typo", and if that occurred five, ten times a day, it may make you depressed.

And of course, the time to get home will be delayed by 1 hour and 2 hours.

Mistake occurrence rate lowered by system improvement

Mistake in "Date", "Amount", or "Customer name".

The applicants don't dare to make mistake on purpose. Basically, we would like to consider how to lower occurrence rate by "improving the Business Process Definition".

  • Improve "notes" and "input check" on input screen
  • Add "reviewing step" by colleagues to Workflow

[Base flow of Request type process-Script]

Logs of each Issue

When considering the optimization of the Business Process, in two categories of "master type data" and "transaction type data", analyze the latter.

More specifically, I will analyze "transaction type data" as an occurrence record such as "details of estimate No. 123" and "details of invoice No. 123", instead of "master type data" such as "merchandise master" or "customer master".

Logs useful for analysis

"FooBar Issue Details" flowing in the Workflow system is data that is accumulated every time an Issue is started, and it is all "transaction type data".

However, not all transaction information is stored in the "Data Items" defined within the Business Process. For example, "information held by the system side" (log of each case) such as "time reached at the 2nd Step" and "the number of times it has revolved around the loop structure" are not stored in an exportable form.

In the following workflow, it is configured "the number of times sent back" (number of times it has circled around the loop structure), that is "information held on the system side", to be automatically imported into "Data Item" which is on the Business Process side.

[Base flow of Request type process]

Start small

"How can I get used to the system?"

Considering only the investment effect, it is effective to systemize "existing inefficient work". If there is a work being done on "paper base", you should consider systematization of that work. If systemization is applied to "core business" such as order receiving, shipping and billing, "effect" will be more than "investment" relatively easily.

However, there are also risks that you can not get "effects" at all, if in a situation which is 1) administrator: insufficient system setting skill, 2) general worker: insufficient computer literacy. It is like forcing computer graphic to an oil painting artist.

"I may worsen business efficiency introducing a system." If you have such anxiety, it may be better to start a trial run first with "a small operation" (a work to be done every day if possible).

Habit of continuing to improve

When promoting paperless and teleworking, introduction of "workflow system" will be considered.

It is a very annoying question that to which operation to apply for the first, but for example, the following small workflow called "work time report" could be a powerful candidate. It is definitely good because "inevitably to use every day".

Naturally you will understand what you need and what you can omit, by actually trying "entering data", and "approving on it". And various ideas will be born through the usage.
  • Administrator: Will be Increased the skill of designing workflow
  • General worker: Understand the basic usage of handling Steps

[Hours Worked Report]

Too many input errors?

In the workflow system, "input errors" in human steps can not be avoided.

For example, if it is a workflow step that requires input of two date values "Bill issuance date" and "Payment due date", mistakes tend to occur such as;
  • Enter the date of one year ago as leaving the date after duplicating data
  • Enter Bill issuance date and Payment due date inversely
(You'd better to calculate the actual occurrence rate, occasionally.)

Of course, it may be careless of the person in charge who made mistake. Alternatively, if you were highly concentrated, you could enter without making mistakes during that moment. However, I have to say it is rather difficult to keep on doing 100 cases or 1000 without mistakes. If you have numerous input items, it may be difficult even for 5 or 10 cases without mistakes.

Configure initial values

If it is possible to set "Initial value" as a function of the system, you should actively use it.

In the Cloud-based workflow, "Questetra BPM Suite", you can set "Three days after today" and "last day of the next month" as the initial value of Date data items. Although it is ineffective in the case of "data duplication", it is a very effective method when flowing new Issue data to the business process.

<Setting screen>

[Date Input Form Test]

Too many input errors?

In the workflow system, "input errors" in human steps can not be avoided.

For example, if it is a workflow step that requires input of two numerical values "unit price" and "quantity", mistakes tend to occur such as;
  • 1200 is input which is a numerical value one digit less of 12000.
  • Enter the quantity in the place where the unit price to be entered.
(You'd better to calculate the actual occurrence rate, occasionally.)

Of course, it may be careless of the person in charge who made mistake. Alternatively, if you were highly concentrated, you could enter without making mistakes during that moment. However, I have to say it is rather difficult to keep on doing 100 cases or 1000 without mistakes. If you have numerous input items, it may be difficult even for 5 or 10 cases without mistakes.

Configure maximum and minimum values

If it is possible to set "limitation to the input value" as a function of the system, you should actively use it.

In the Cloud-based workflow, "Questetra BPM Suite", you can set "maximum value" and "minimum value" for Numeric data items. If you have limited the input value of "unit price" to "10,000 JPY - 100,000 JPY", the occurrence rate of incorrect input "1200 JPY" can be reduced to zero by that input restriction.

[Setting screen]

[Alert on a mistake]

[Numeric Input Form Test]

Season for reviewing Processes

April...

In Japan, it is a month when a new fiscal year starts.

Not only the accounting of the nation, accounting of local governments, new grades at school, etc. start, but also the ceremony for new entrants are conducted simultaneously in April. (About 20% of Japanese companies start their fiscal year in April)

It can be said that in Japan, April is 'the month when motivation for improving business processes increases' or 'perfect month for improving business process'.

Also in Questetra, Inc., which operates this blog, the amount of updating on Business Processes (number of version upgrades of Workflow Apps) will increase in April.

Dare to extend the time required

The business process introducing this time is a slightly strange improvement example that is "extending the time required at all Steps".

As a usual business improvement, it is normal to consider about improvement on "flows" or "data input screens" upon "dissatisfaction" and "challenges" that you are feeling during your daily work.
  • Automation of Steps
  • Addition of double-checking Step
  • Addition of guidance sentences
  • Implementation of handy button

And, in many cases, we will seek "a direction for a measure to shorten the total duration of work as much as possible".

However, in April, which is a break of the fiscal year, you might become wanting to deal with "inefficiencies you felt throughout the total counting work". In this business process (Workflow-App), it has been revised to stay in the middle of the way. (Addition of Human Process: "x. Retaining Rework")
Business process before improvement: Episode 511: Automatically Generate Transfer Slip File (Excel-CSV)

[Invoice Issuance-Retention]

Measurement of error rate

The invoice issuance process is one of the tasks in which mistakes are not allowed.

"Accounts receivable / sales" is recorded based on accurate billing data, and "savings accounts / accounts receivable" should be recorded upon collection afterword.

However, "redoing" occurs on the actual work site. For example, even in the same human process in Questetra, "Redo" occurred with a 2.8% chance as a result of last year.
  • Correction on "customer address and name"
  • Correction on "quantity and amount"
  • Correction on "issue date and due date"

Of course, the causes are various, including "unavoidable redoing".
  • Information was changed between order acceptance and billing (change of person in charge of customer)
  • The sales representative made a mistake in transcribing the contents of the order form
  • In the first place 'order data' was wrong

However, in any case, if the invoice (billing data) is "redoing the entire process again" when the customer receives it, in addition to the effort of redoing the bill approval processing, the data of the accounting system must also be manually corrected.

I must say such a "Redoing process from scratch" is "big loss".

Reworking and Sending back

In this business process improvement, the retaining Step of "x. Retain Sending back" of the Accounting manager is added, and progress toward the downstream process (data cooperation with the accounting system) is restrained.

That is, it will retain in the state that can be sent back to the most upstream, for a while (e.g. until the end of the month). (Reduce the risk of occurrence of "big loss" rather than increasing overall speed.)

Certainly, data such as 'sales' would like to be incorporated into the accounting system as soon as possible. I agree that it is a wonderful direction as a business management to further "accelerate monthly settlement of accounts" aiming for "daily settlement of accounts."

However, as in this example, "Business process that can absorb some extent of data modification by slowly flowing business Issues" can be another direction of business process improvement.

[Invoice Issuance-Retention:"1. Bill info entry" screen]

[Data Items list]


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