In Japan, half a month has passed since a new fiscal year started, so I guess the new hires are getting used to their new environment.

In the past two weeks, we introduced workflows for "Attendance report flow" and "Daily report flow" oriented (not necessarily) for new employees. If you've "reported" properly every day, I suppose you thoroughly got used to operations of the Workflow platform.
When you compare these two Workflows, you will recognize that they are very similar
  • It is automatically started and appears in [My Tasks] of all employees every morning
  • An employee reports, the boss (a leader) confirms.
  • The deadline has been set and if it is not finished until, it automatically terminates

Even though the contents to be reported are different as "work time" and "work contents" depending on the Workflows, their outlines are almost the same. Then, why don't you put these together?

[Attendance-Work Report]

Based on the "Hours Worked Report" in Episode 581, I made some improvements to make it capable of reporting "work content" as well. With this, it is now possible to report/check "work time" and "work content" of that day in one Workflow! It is now convenient, isn't it?

You can complete a new Workflow in ten minutes or less since the changes are few. It is not a good idea to include too much of this and that in one Workflow definition, but by integrating similar flows, users can complete their reporting with fewer operations. Even though the changes are few, the effect of the improvement will be great if the Workflow is used by many people every day.
(On the other hand, splitting a grand Workflow that is too complicated will lead to big business improvement.)

As you use and operate Workflows every day, it is very important to keep improving them continuously. It is often happening to become easy for the user to use just by changing a Data Item name or adding an explanation. In addition, it is also important to instantly reflect it in the Workflow definition when the business rule changes. Always try to be flexible for modification/improvement according to your organization and users.

<Operating screen: "2. Enter leaving time/work content">

<Data Items list>

[Free download]
Business Template: Daily Report

<Similar Models>

<<Related Articles>>

[Japanese Entry (ε’Œζ–‡θ¨˜δΊ‹)]

In the previous post, I introduced you the "Hours-worked report" which even new hires make every day. It has been designed considering input effort to be reduced by devising of initial value and input screen so that reports are made properly every day. Speaking everyday report, the daily report is one of them. Whether it is during the training period or after being assigned, it is an important task for new recruits to report the "works done" and "matters learned" to the superiors or to seniors.

Through the daily report, new hires can learn business etiquette and how to work, and also help them communicate with their boss, seniors or other employees. Above all, the opportunity to look back on the day and organize what you learned or noticed is particularly important to be in the new environment.

[Daily Report]

In Japan, spring is the season of cherry blossom and the starting of a new life.

Another new fiscal year begins today, so an employment ceremony is held in many companies. Once a new employee is assigned, the superiors, senior employees, or HR staffs will instruct this and that of company life. Among them, it supposedly includes "how to make work report".

Recently, "Workstyle reformation" and "Discretionary working time system (Exempt employee)" are topics frequently discussed, so it is very important to be able to record and to recognize the hours worked properly. (Attendance management)
Reporting and recording of attendance and leave time has been managed in various ways, such as by filling in paper or stamping on time cards when it used to be, or now with IC cards or in a dedicated system, etc. Also, to use a general-purpose Workflow system is one of the ways.

Sometimes "Attendance report flow" is referred to as "the four major Workflow Apps", together with "Work request flow", "Procurement request flow" and "Out-of-pocket expenses claim flow" which I introduced you before as "the Starter templates pack". By managing attendance using cloud-based Workflow, you can take advantages of the following.
  • Teleworkers/Remote workers or staffs with frequent outings can also be recorded in the workplace or on the go
  • Daily processing allows new members to become accustomed to Workflow operations
  • Possible to improve ease-of-use for the organization continuously (would lead to reform of work style)

[Hours Worked Report]

Continuing the past two weeks, I will introduce you the operation of "Starter Template" which has been pre-installed in the cloud-based Workflow, "Questetra BPM Suite".

The third one is "Out-of-pocket Expenses reimbursement claim".
Episode 464: Out-of-pocket Expenses Reimbursement Claim (Starter Template) (2016-01-04)

It is a business flow to make an application for claiming with email attachment of images of receipts taken with a mobile camera. And there is a focus on making it easier to manage receipt images by applying sequentially. Therefore, this will be a business process which is on the premise that "regulation that allows discarding the original paper receipt by taking a receipt image with a mobile camera".

[Out-of-pocket Expenses claim]

Continuing from the last week, I will introduce you the operation of "Starter Template" which has been pre-installed in the cloud-based Workflow, "Questetra BPM Suite".

The second one is "Procurement Request".
Episode 463: Procurement Request (Starter Template) (2015-12-28)

It is a business flow that allows anyone to make requests for purchasing from consumables to equipment as long as they are employees. Since status management such as "Decision pending " or "Delivery waiting" is automated, you can check progress at any time.

[Procurement Request flow]

In the article of "Episode 577: Work Request Flow is the Basic of Workflow", I introduced you the "Work Request flow" as an operation that I can recommend for any organization. It is one of the business flows (applications) pre-installed in the cloud-based Workflow "Questetra BPM Suite", and there three other business flows are pre-installed. I will introduce you the operation of "Starter Template pack" in three articles in series from this one.

The first installment is "Approval flow".
Episode 462: Planning - Approval (Starter Template) (2015-12-21)

It is a simple business flow in which an employee "applies" a request for approval and the superior of the applicant "approves" it. The flow has been configured that if the external payment amount is 1 million JPY or more, it goes also to the "Approval" by the officer. (Automatically be approved after neglected for 24 hours)

[Planning-Approval flow] 

"What kind of work do you recommend for trying out a Workflow?"

That is a question that frequently asked, and my answer to any kind of organization is always "Work Request flow". "To ask someone to do a (small) job", I suppose it is usually made by email, telephone, verbally, but I tell you that a simple request ought to be made in using Workflow.

"Workflow" literally means "flow of work", "flow (sequence) of requests for work". In other words, it is the basic (essence) of workflow that "someone requests work from someone" which is the simplest act of doing work in an organization.

In the cloud-based workflow "Questetra BPM Suite", the following "Work Request flow" is preinstalled and you can try it immediately if you apply for a Free Edition.

[Work Request flow]

Operation: Creation of Icons, Production of Posters, etc.

With the new Business Process definition, "requests" from internal company are now managed centrally.

Those requests of designing from such as the marketing department, the product development department, the sales department, ... are now efficiently handled as a "team". In addition, I suppose that the designers have become interested in each other's work so that contribute to the skill improvement of each designer.

Reference:Episode 574: Business Improvement in SaaS Vendor Operation (Part 1)Episode 575: Business Improvement in SaaS Vendor Operation (Part 2)

Challenge: Cases where Not In Time for Delivery Schedule

However, there are still cases where it will not be in time for the "delivery date".

For example, when a request of "in a haste" comes, "regular requests" are affected. Particularly when large projects such as "release of new service" or "preparation of new campaign" become in action, various "requests in hurry" will occur. As a result, "regular projects that are flexible to deadlines" will not be in time for the due date.

It should be "a design team that can keep up production schedules" even by utilizing external resources.

[Designing request-Outsourcing] 

Business: Design Production

A design team where "requests" from in-house come in one after another.

By improving the "Request form" (Starting step) of design creation, it has become possible to handle requests more stably than before. (Reference: "Episode 574: Business Improvement in SaaS Vendor Operation (Part 1)")

As we also prepared an automatic start event (Message Start Event), cases where the Process of "Designing request" is used as "sub-process" have increased as well. In other words, cooperation between business processes has been automated with API POST communication, by placing "call event" and "standby event" in the Business Process diagram (main process) of Sales department or Manufacturing department. (In short, the Process is started with data such as "title of requested item" or "details of requested work", and data such as "design report text" and "deliverable file" is returned at the same time when the work is completed.)

Furthermore, as we also opened to in-house the sample of the main Process to call out the "sub-process", designing work in various departments are to be integrated into the Process of "Designing request" in the future.

Challenge: Skills do not Improved

"Number of Issues been in charge" and "total amount" have been visualized for each designer. In addition, since veteran designers now control on work progress of "designers" as "receptionist", young designers will not commit "no-check delivery" (delivered without checked by anyone).

However, intrinsic? measure of value in designing is "quality".

With this Business Process as it is, I feel worry that the degree of satisfaction for designs in-house will be going down.

Is it impossible to become a Business Process capable of improving skills of the team as a whole a little more? Since we are improving its independency as a "Design request handling process", we would like to think about a mechanism that leads to skill improvement, not just a Business Process for simply to handle numbers of work.

Example of Business Process to call out [Designing request]

[Designing request-Reviewing]

Operation: Design work

The work of a design team is extensive.

There may be small projects such as "changing icons in SaaS products" and adding them, and there may be also major projects such as "interface development of new SaaS functions".

However... in addition to those, there may be a case where they are requested publishing of a "Customer story article" written by the sales team on the Website, and furthermore, to create a flyer containing the story. Moreover, for an exhibition planned by marketing team, there might occur project of Web contents production, and creation of posters , and so on...

After all, it can be said that it is "a team that continuously being asked for helping hands?" from the entire company.

Challenge: Efficiency Improve on Work that Occurred Passively

It is true that the design team is certainly demanded by everybody.

However, it is inevitable to be said that what they are doing is unobtrusive compared to the fact that the direct division "product development division" and "sales and marketing department" are acting on a daily basis. For example, it is like gift wrapping service counter in a department store. They are keep on giving decorations on outputs of the store as they are asked to do so. And when they notice, "passive attitude" has ingrained on themselves.

Even if they grumbled that if it was the architectural industry, rather, the "designers will move actively, and the engineering group such as "structural" or "environmental" would be passive, "demands from internal company" won't be gone... First of all, I'd like to consider a way to do this passive job in a handsome manner. (Since, even in accounting, human resource department, or IT department, they are handling these "passive job" brilliantly...)

Business Template: [Designing Request]

Operation: Web Article Production

I changed the Workflow of the article writing. (Reference: Episode 571: Business Improvement in Website Operation (Part 1), Episode 572: Business Improvement in Website Operation (Part 2))

It has become a flow leading to the skill improvement of "writers" as well as improving the quality of "articles" by this, I suppose.

In any case, a series of "article creation flow", starting with "Setting of provisional title" and leading to "output of web article", came to be smooth. It can be said that useless communication such as "going to check progress" or "going to ask for reviews" is completely eradicated.
  • Editor-in-chief: Launch the planning such as seasonal series
  • Editors: Determine provisional titles of individual articles
  • Writers: Write articles
It would be better to be expressed that the editor-in-chief, editors, writers have become able to concentrate in their own original role. (Though "rework" or "educational guidance" are not completely eliminated...)

Challenge: Problem of Out of idea

On the other hand, it has become to be discussed on the quality of "provisional title" which is an input to "article production flow".

That is, (though this might be an everlasting challenge for those owned media,) there would be a case where a mood which they are running out of idea for "provisional titles filled the atmosphere... such as "recently wrote a similar article", or "nobody would like to read"...

In this occasion, I would like to make it being able to suggest from the entire company about the ideas of articles (provisional titles) and plans of series.

If there are plenty of ideas, they will be a help for editors and the editor-in chief. And the quality of setting "provisional title" should increase.

[Article Idea Acceptance]

Operation: Review / Proofread

I changed it to work flow that "other writers" also participate in article review. (Reference Episode 571: Business Improvement in Website Operation (Part 1))

The writers interact each other "comments that lead to skill improvement" such as "opinion on the structure" or "alternative idea for headlines or title", while "point out mistakes to be corrected" such as typographical errors or errors in names or dates.

"Editors" has reduced the time spent on reviewing articles or instructing to writers, so that he can have time to think about "ideas for new feature" and to hold "study meetings".

At those "study meetings", actual mistake examples are reported, and discussed. actual mistake examples are reported. The steady improvement in skills will lead to 'productivity improvement'.

Challenge: Holding for Long Period

However, for the writers, it may be a problem that chances of reworking on sent back work are increased, rather than jobs of proofreading are joined.

In particular for a rookie writer, cases where multiple articles simultaneously come back to the Step of "2x. Rework" also occurred. And, in such a case, it becomes a situation that "time to review articles written by other writers" can not be taken...

Hmm, I think that it is better not to allow staying, by setting a deadline date and time on "3. Check" so that forcibly advance to the next Step.

[Article Proofreading-Time limitation]

Operation: Creation of Articles for Website

In some companies where they publicate a Website, it seems they practice "Proofreading on their articles".

It is not limited to commercial based "Curated contents site" such as medical & health sites or fashion sites, as well as in "Owned media" that is for outgoing information related to company's own, efforts for raising reliability on its articles are put.

For us, 'Editors" carry out some sort of "Proofreading and Fact-checking" through the Workflow as the following
  • "Editor-in-chief" launces projects such as seasonal series, etc.
  • "Editor" determines the temporary title for each article
  • "Writers" write the articles according with the title
  • "Editor" checks them
  • "Web designer" posts the articles and photos on the website
However, it is not in a system that we can assert that "all the outgoing information is proper".

Challenge: Quality of Primary Draft

Although there were various discussions, I decided to consider "improving the skills of writer" first. In particular, for the writers who are oftenly told to "rework" by the editors, I want to straight them up.

Although there are various ways of improving skills, what I chose is to make a policy that "writers themselves proofread articles written by other writers." It may seems kinda rough, but people say "One man's fault is another's lesson". Anyway, it is a strategy that to have the writer notice the point he or she should reflect on themselves by reading articles written by other writers daily.

I suppose that as the secondary Effects in the medium to long term, the sense of burden of proofreading which "editors" feel will also decrease.

[Article Proofreading]

Operation: Information Sharing to Multitasking Full-time Employees

"Overnight front desk work", "work related with Check-out in the morning", and "housekeeping on checked-out guest rooms"...

By visualizing internal information using Workflow, a full-time employee has become capable of various work operations. (Multitasking) That is, information that there was a complaint from a guest is shared with the morning front desk clerk from the night shift staff. And from the front desk clerk who deals with checking-out, information of "guest has checked out" is smoothly shared with housekeepers.

Consequently, full-time employees are now capable of joining works such as for "overnight front desk" or "guest room housekeeping", which used to tend to count on part-timers. And at the same time, phenomenon which part-timers to get "a chance to work as a full-time employment" has emerged. (as an unexpected by-effect)

<Example of work shift for full-timers>
  • Earlies (7 hrs work, 1hr break)
  • Lates (7 hrs work, 1hr break)
  • Overnight (12 hrs work, 1 hr break, deemed as 2 days attendance)

Challenge: Idle Time Still Occurs

However, especially in the late night hours, "idle time" (waiting time) arises inevitably.

If a full-time employee actively participate in 'night shift', he or she ought to undertake 'something productive work' even in the late night hours. So, consulting with a BPM consultant, I decided to challenge "originating a stuff blog" this time. (I also have anxiety that my expectation for "degree of multi-skill" to employees might be too much.)

By the way, there was an opinion that it would be enough to carry out "patrolling work" inside the hotel building more frequently. However, demanding "frequency to unnecessary" can not be said to be "productivity improvement". I suppose that safety is adequately guaranteed by "periodical patrol" already conducted

[Blog Write-Post]

Operation: Relation between Checkout Work and Housekeeping work

We made it possible to confirm the information in real time that customers (guests) have "checked out".

Even a full-time employee is now capable of undertaking "Task of housekeeping" as long as he or she has nothing to do, since all the staffs have become able to check "rooms that checked out" at any time on their smartphone / tablet. (See Episode 568: Business Improvement in Hotel Operation (Part 1)

As we are able to do housekeeping soon after checked out sequentially while considering other customers, "time trial of housekeeping" which used to be seen between 10 and 15 o'clock is gone. Also, accidentally disturbing long staying or late check-out guests never happens again.

A Workflow from "Checkout step" to "Housekeeping step"... "Visualization of progress" is really important.

Challenge: Information Sharing from Night Shift Staff

However, on the other hand, efforts of "entering information which the guest has checked out, into Workflow " are now required for the front desk clerk.

Certainly, the meaning of "possible to start housekeeping in order" is understandable. Also, thanks to the self-checkout machine, there is nothing else to do for the clerk than to "receive the room key", at check-out. That means, inputting itself won't be big efforts. is so simple work, I would like to take advantage of "Workflow", a bit more...

For example, is there any how for front desk clerks to receive some sort of information?

So, consulting with the BPM consultant, we decided to have the night shift worker enter the "complaint record". In other words, put information from the night shift staff, such as "There was a ineptitude in the service on the hotel side" or "I got a complaint for noise from another room", onto the Workflow. By that, the task of "receiving the room key" for the front desk clerk might be able to cope with more sincerely...

[Housekeeping flow-Complaints Record]

Operation: Hotel works, Various of Them

The trend of "Productivity revolution" is going to immerse also Hotel industry...

Eventually, "division of labor" should be considered as at its limit anymore. It is no longer an era where a worker would be good with doing one job, such as "housekeeping", "welcoming / seeing off", "dinner support / breakfast support" "blog writing" "sales aggregation", etc. Workers have to obtain "multi skills" for some extent.

In Convenience store industry, which is the same 24 hours operation, it is true that even a part-timer does jobs like "cashier", "inventory", housekeeping", etc.

Challenge: Fixation of Housekeeping Time

Consulting to BPM expert, we decided that all the full time employees to acquire "skill in guest room housekeeping".

Certainly, housekeeping work has been totally left to part-timers. And I've been thinking that their work environment was somewhat problematic, such as "work time is limited only after 10 o'clock which is check-out time and until check-in which starts 15 o'clock", and "There is few chance to advances to full-time employees even if got skill up". Beside, there may be nothing to do for full-time employees during these hours.

If it were possible to do housekeeping work in the order from "checked out room", it could be covered only by full-time employees...

[Housekeeping flow]