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From Paper to Progressive – Workflows

One thing I have noticed when I switch any client from a paper system to a computer system, is the reluctance to change their workflow processes. They try to keep the same system in place that they had when using their old methodologies, and have a hard time letting go of unnecessary steps that usually hinder them with a new setup.

One example is the number of copies that the sales clerk gives to the customer. With their old method, a customer would place an order at the sales counter. The sales person used a 5 part form to write down the order which had a white, pink, green, and two yellow parts. The sales person would keep the pink copy at the counter and give the other copies to the customer. The customer would take the remaining paper to the cash register. The cashier would take payment, stamp the paper copies as paid and keep the green copy. The customer would then take the white copy and two yellow copies to the delivery area. The delivery drivers/loaders would keep the yellow copies (there may be two different loading docks that the customer goes to). The white copy was left for the customer’s records.

When setting up POS and running through some test transactions, I suggested that the sales counter does not need to keep a printed copy on hand, as they have the information in the system. I also suggested that the cashier does not need a copy unless they are paying by credit card. They would still need to have three copies, one for the customer’s records, and two for shipping. While suggesting this, many of the employees looked at me in horror and started proclaiming that without their paper copies they wouldn’t have any record of the sales. Even after explaining that the system contains all the information and they can easily look up the information based on the customer, order number and a host of other options, they still were skeptical. Only until I actually had them walk through the process pretending that I am a customer did I get (most of) them to see that there wasn’t a need.

I still had some people mumbling under their breath that they didn’t think it would work and that there was going to be a lot of problems later, but luckily, the managers were all on board with the change. So far, everything has worked out, and after a couple of weeks of using the new system, even the naysayers were comfortable with the change.
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