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Implementation of a Workflow Management System & Online Approval Tool

Our multinational client used various different ways of creating packaging materials. The process was extremely manual and especially the procurement of the manifold information was lengthy and cumbersome. A major problem was that information was provided once as a “hard copy”, sometimes Excel, PDF or Word documents and sometimes as an image file. The contact could often not be reached for days and the process progress was extremely tedious. Subsequent “lessons learned” meetings took again a lot of time, because ratios were not available directly and had to be compiled manually, with appropriate effort. All release processes were time-consuming and laborious, especially some service departments (such as legal, quality etc.) were increasingly overwhelmed because certain materials run through the approval process up to 15 times and had to be assessed again each time. Some of the service departments became bottlenecked and the mood among the participating colleagues fell increasingly.

Our task was to identify and implement a workflow management system including an approval tool.

The first step was to analyse the current processes within the scope of a discovery phase. Based on the analysis we defined and coordinated the system requirements and transferred them into a formal system requirements document. With this document, we created a brief and then discussed the issue with the board whether it would be worth it to build a system or to buy one. After deciding to buy a system, we generated a “long list” of potential suppliers and conducted an initial assessment. Together with three different system suppliers we then organised an Inspiration Day to give the participating teams a first impression. Subsequently the requirement document was again adjusted and a RFI was started, followed by an RFQ. We then selected three suppliers by previously well-defined and agreed criteria for a final pitch and together with our client we decided on one provider. After successful contract negotiations, we managed the implementation and expedited the integration of SAP.

Today all the teams of our client can define their process (based on a basic process) and can adjust it themselves in the workflow management system. All relevant information is provided at the push of a button and the central data maintenance ensures that no more version differences and errors will exist. The cycle time has improved to 70%, the approval cycles also became not only faster, but more efficient for the processor. The approver can compare texts or versions automatically pixel by pixel and files no longer need to be downloaded and opened, but can be compared online directly in the browser. Comments are entered in the file directly to the correction point and are visible for all involved. The project reporting works fully automatically and the management can retrieve all essential KPIs at a glance.

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