The Importance of Feedback Loops in Workflow Automation

The Importance of Feedback Loops in Workflow Automation

Workflow automation for product design and engineering has been a linear process for many organizations. Though the design process has become more iterative through engineering project management software and agile development programs, it has remained fairly insulated from the rest of the organization, including the purveyors of the products (the sales staff) and often the end users (customers).

There are clear obstructions that have provided resistance over the years to expanding the information loop to non-engineering groups, including design and engineering formats that require proprietary software, the desire to keep intellectual property close to the vest, the lack of understanding of designs by non-technical players, and general organizational silos.

Expanding information workflows

Engineering workflow automation for design needs to a greater degree, to incorporate information and input from other areas of the organization that are part of the product lifecycle. And to the extent these inputs are real-time, all the better. So by viewing the product lifecycle as a “cradle-to-grave” workflow we understand that to improve this workflow’s velocity, accuracy, efficiency, and ultimately profitability requires expanding, in all directions, the information communicated within the lifecycle. In electronics, much is this accomplished through feedback loops (i.e., inputs, as part of a chain of cause-and-effects that form a circuit or loop).

The first obstacle to overcome is the simple task of getting design information to non-engineering parts of the organization and not requiring them to have special software and being able to view and comment on drawings and documents. Companies have done a better job of moving design documents to a neutral format, specifically PDF. Though PDF readers are ubiquitous, the ability to attach comments and changes is not, and certainly not in real-time. These workflows bog down as individuals are emailed PDFs and then print them out, and then respond with input through more emails or in scheduled meetings.

 

Common platforms for input

Using a common platform that provides multi-format viewing and markup gets around this large speed-bump. By letting all relevant parties access and comment on designs, in real-time, enables the first phase of the product lifecycle, not only speeding things up but adding necessary inputs to increasingly complex designs.

By codifying these workflows, the platform can be used to provide notifications, distribute the information, gather the feedback, and provide reporting and auditing for oversight.

Timeliness of feedback

Feedback loops are certainly less effective if they don’t provide needed input in a timely manner. Historically, this is one of the reasons workflows have developed without appropriate feedback, as the time needed to acquire the input would have substantially slowed down the workflows, so it was just easier to factor in much of the feedback after the fact, or towards the tail end of the workflow automation.

Now with the ability to get input within hours, if not minutes, the design and engineering workflows can, and should, incorporate the review and comment from all areas of the organization, from QA to production, to customer service, to sales, and even from finance. If reviews can be done real-time and collaboratively, the intensity of the feedback is leveraged as integrated suggestions, solutions, and hidden problems can be identified.

 

Breaking down silos barriers

Unfortunately, simply moving to a common platform for distributing information and gaining feedback is not enough to “juice up” the workflows, as many of the other inhibitors identified earlier still exist. But as a first step, enabling the information flow with applicable feedback can help to break down some of the silo barriers and the fear of letting intellectual property become uncontrolled while improving the design and engineering function.

 

Our EDMS solutions

ImageSite and EngineBox are eQuorum’s robust workflow and document management solutions, created to help workers manage their essential workflows while maintaining complete control over their engineering files and documents.  Not only do they provide a secure collaboration site for workers, but they also help organizations manage document distribution with third parties like vendors, contractors, and customers. Both systems are offered at a competitive price, enabling organizations to get a quick return on their investment by providing the features and functionality needed to help organizations improve efficiency, productivity, and collaboration.  Companies can choose from concurrent user subscriptions or named user subscriptions, ensuring organizations have subscription options that make sense for their business.

Learn more why our solution is trusted by industry leaders.

ImageSite

ImageSite®

Our single source engineering workflow and document management system. Built in HTML5 so there is no software to deploy to client computers or mobile apps to download. Offered as an On-premise or Private Cloud system.

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EngineBox™

EngineBox is a cloud based workflow and document management version of ImageSite that resides outside the corporate network.

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Our EDMS solutions

 

ImageSite and EngineBox are eQuorum’s robust workflow and document management solutions, created to help workers manage their essential workflows while maintaining complete control over their engineering files and documents.  Not only do they provide a secure collaboration site for workers, but they also help organizations manage document distribution with third parties like vendors, contractors, and customers. Both systems are offered at a competitive price, enabling organizations to get a quick return on their investment by providing the features and functionality needed to help organizations improve efficiency, productivity, and collaboration.  Companies can choose from concurrent user subscriptions or named user subscriptions, ensuring organizations have subscription options that make sense for their business.

Learn more why our solution is trusted by industry leaders.

Engine-Box

EngineBox™

EngineBox is a cloud based workflow and document management version of ImageSite that resides outside the corporate network.

Explore EngineBox™

The eQuorum Customer Promise

In 2005, eQuorum developed the first all browser-based EDMS. The system, although for on-premise use, was still created to remove client software and JAVA from user computers and allow users to have a single viewer based on the simple navigation functionality of browsers. Today, eQuorum provides that same application in a private Cloud or a SaaS Cloud option.  We can do this because we are, and have always been, browser-based, understanding the enhanced speed, security, and usability of this technology.

With the abundance of document management systems on the market today, there’s no doubt that choosing the right Cloud document management software can be a difficult decision. eQuorum is here to provide a comprehensive, powerful, and most importantly – affordable Cloud document management solution. We believe in providing real value to our customers by eliminating unnecessary costs, providing industry-leading functionality, and equipping your team with the right tools using cutting edge technology to bring your products to market faster.

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eQuorum®

We specialize in engineering workflow and document management. Our comprehensive, yet easy-to-use software provides the solution to manage data from design to manufacturing and production, to sales, support and administration.

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