In the shop floor, raw materials undergo different processes to be converted to the finished product. These finished products are then tested for quality and packaged appropriately before it is moved to warehouse and then to distribution centers. All the processes and sub-processes involved can be scheduled, recorded and tracked based on established milestones. The complete procedure of automating the process with minimal manual intervention is termed as Enterprise Workflow Management. The collection of various applications that help manage the workflow in the enterprise is called as Workflow Management System (WFMS).
Workflows have well defined objectives and are governed by rules and regulations. It consists of a series of processes and these processes are well defined in terms of place, person responsible, his/her role and sub-processes involved. It can also be defined by the sequence of events, operating procedures, forms, databases and tools. Enterprise workflow management helps organizations integrate multiple applications and collaborate staff and various departments. Process definition, simulation, task automation, decision-making based on roles, worklist, event notification, process monitoring, information access, tracking & logging activities, administration and security are some of the key features offered by any workflow management system.
Some other features include the following.
 It enables complete automation of various production processes with least human intervention. Most of the processes can be pre-programmed, scheduled and tracked as required.
 Implementing a WFMS can reduce errors and re-work in day-to-day operations.
 Organizations can save costs by minimizing labor wherever redundant.
 Reduces process duration through multi-tasking (running two or three independent processes in parallel)
 It improves process transparency through efficient monitoring of all processes and sub-processes.
 WFMS helps deliver high quality products with accurate measurements consistently.
 Whenever there is a change in business processes WFMS offers the flexibility to modify the existing system according to the requirements.
 It provides real time information from across departments enhancing employee collaboration and productivity.
 Electronic data gathering and electronic data transfer in the WFMS offers the most reliable data for all the processes involved. This ensures consistency and accuracy of data across different processes.
 It feeds data for Business Intelligence systems and helps the senior management in insightful decision-making.