Focusing on the high level of oilfield activity required to meet the worldwide energy demand, Multi-Chem uses its technologies to meet the chemical challenges associated with production, processing and transportation of oil and gas. As one of the fastest growing companies in the production chemicals industry, Multi-Chem provides oilfield products, gas well treatments and pipeline solutions designed to enhance production globally.
As a result of supporting 700 internal users, I recognized the need to pinpoint the status of approvals required for key documents. These documents range from new hire and training requisitions to leaves of absence and vacation requests. We had a process that had previously worked well, but due to our rapid growth, it had become slow, cumbersome and inefficient. Our team was asked to recommend a more effective solution. We needed a solution that was electronic, more precise than email and that would control both the workflow and processes themselves.
We understood from the beginning that our solution would need to encompass the following:
- Reflect the processes employees were currently using,
- Control the workflow of those processes,
- Identify the location of specific documents and their status and
- Enable us to monitor and audit our workflows. Knowing that we had to move from hard-copy forms and inefficient processes to a Web-based system, I began looking for tools to streamline and standardize our processes.
Since Multi-Chem was constantly hiring new people, we also agreed that it was time to implement a system that would impose more checks and balances on our processes while ensuring that all documents went through the proper channels.
Our team decided to evaluate four Web-based applications over the course of two months. After evaluating them and weighting product features and costs, we selected BP Logix Workflow Director. We selected Workflow Director because its functionality included everything we wanted and we believed that BP Logix provided the best value proposition.
We branded the Workflow Director “eDocs” and started with a Personnel Request Form. The intent was to create a form that was as intuitive, foolproof and user-friendly as possible. The PRF, used for both new hires and new positions, was one of the company’s most critical forms. While the form creation required some initial effort, it also gave us a significant degree of control - control that had not existed with the previous process. Once the PRF was created, we instructed employees via email to access the portal and locate the form. Training was minimal because we built the form to guide users as they were completing it. While the people involved in our processes are quite diverse, there has been a uniform acceptance and appreciation of the new and intuitive browser-based system. As a result, we were able to utilize this platform to develop other forms and workflows for capital expenditures, health and safety, training and customer profiles.
I can offer some practical advice from our experience:
- Target specific areas/departments that can benefit from improving their business processes,
- Outline which business processes need to be automated, monitored, audited or streamlined,
- Identify vendors that can offer out-of-the-box solutions,
- Find solutions that do not require your users to change the way they work,
- Implement a scalable solution that meets both existing and changing needs,
- Identify a solution that can mirror yet improve on existing business processes and
- Expect significant ROI.
Selecting Workflow Director was an IT decision that has helped the company by standardizing its business processes. We have found that, since Multi-Chem employees are now accustomed to working this way, the system has become a critical part of how we run our business. We are noticeably operating more efficiently, as we can now quantify employee hours worked and vacations, properly assign company vehicles based on title and enforce company policies. If, for example, we needed to hire a new sales person and did not have the ability to route the forms electronically, it could cost us lost time and opportunities and that would translate into money. Fortunately, that is not the case now.
The PRF has been a very successful form – so much so that it has been expanded and is now being used to transfer employees, handle promotions and new requisitions, as well as a number of other HR functions. Multi-Chem employees are also saving time, and the company is saving money. For example, there is also no longer a need to incur the expense of sending documents by overnight mail between locations and departments. Workflow Director’s electronic audit trail tracks approvals and authorizations so that the status of any document is immediately known and the completed or pending approvals are visible.
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