Debunking Common Myths About Workflow Management Systems

The efficiency-enhancing benefits of workflow management systems are proven to deliver many quantifiable advantages for print companies. Yet, there is no doubt that changing processes that may have been in place for many years — perhaps even since day one — can be daunting. Resistance may spring from a desire to maintain the status quo — the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought. But more often than not it stems from genuine concerns, such as how the change might impact staff morale, or if it will interrupt existing processes. Here are three common myths about workflow management systems — and why making the switch could benefit far more than your bottom line.

Myth 1: New workflow processes will demotivate staff

One of the most common concerns from companies who are considering upgrading to a workflow management system is how staff will react. A company’s greatest asset is its people and so it’s absolutely right that the impact of new technology on morale is considered. However, when the transition is handled correctly, the introduction of new technology can actually have a hugely positive effect on staff — by freeing them from tedious manual processes and giving them opportunities to do more value-added tasks.

This is supported by a report from McKinsey that examines workers’ attitudes to automation. Nearly 60% of workers surveyed estimated that they could save six or more hours a week if the repetitive aspects of their jobs were automated, with nearly three-quarters (72%) saying they would use the time to do work that is more valuable for their organization. Even more, 78%, would focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of their jobs.

Myth 2: We can’t afford new commercial software

Cost is, understandably, a key consideration when investing in any new technology. However, as with any investment, it is essential to look beyond the purchase price and consider how much extra revenue it could generate.

The right workflow management solution will be able to deliver a rapid return on investment (ROI). Typical benefits include: a reduction in onboarding time from 20 minutes to 20 seconds; increased visibility, tracking and reporting; a reduction in the cost of storage through better archive processes; and an added capability to accept additional work types while adding differentiated value-adds.

Myth 3: New workflow software won’t be compatible with existing systems

This is a common concern regarding workflow management systems — and it is not without foundation. Many of the software solutions on the market today rely on custom programming, requiring companies to employ highly skilled programming staff to operate them, or employ the services of third-party programmers, which can be costly and may not provide the same level of responsiveness as in-house staff. This is often a deal-breaker for companies. At the very least it can negatively impact the solution’s long-term maintenance costs.

Workflow software should be as simple to operate as possible, with an easy-to-use interface that requires no complicated coding, enabling customers to accelerate the implementation of production changes, and install new versions quickly. Another benefit is software that is configurable to many different environments and market types, making it a good fit for SMB to enterprise, and side-stepping the need for custom coding.

The first step to workflow optimization

The first step to improving your workflow is to understand it. See if your provider will help you with this by examining your existing processes and systems and advising you on steps you can take to improve them. This process will help you to identify where money is being left on the shop floor and arm you with the knowledge to make your workflow better, faster and more competitive.

Jonathan Malone-McGrew is the Senior Director of Engagement at Solimar Systems, a US-based business that enables global organizations to onboard, make ready, enhance, manage and deliver print and digital communications. He can be reached at