You may have little or no choice when it comes to facing the morning traffic bottleneck on your way to work. But when it comes to transactional bottlenecks in your organization you can do something! Here are some helpful definitions:
A business transaction is an activity or event that can be measured in terms of money and which affects the financial position or operations of the business entity. A business transaction has an effect on any of the accounting elements – assets, liabilities, capital, income, and expense.
Business transactions are generated via documents that contain vital content regarding the transaction. Transactional bottlenecks occur when inefficient processes create points of congestion because documents are not processed quickly enough.
Types of Transactional Content
Nearly all companies and organizations have inbound transactional content. You just may not think of this content in those terms. Basically, inbound transactional content is data that comes from any inbound document (paper or electronic) that initiates a business transaction in the back office.
Inbound transactional content includes documents such as:
- Enrollment Forms
- Purchase orders
- Application Forms
- Insurance Claims
- Change of Address Forms
- Requests for Information
- Warranty Registration Forms
Letters of Inquiry or complaint
While each of these examples requires a unique transaction on the back-end (paying the invoice, updating the address, answering the inquiry, etc.) they all have one thing in common: The information must be routed to the right department, the right person within the department; and it must be successfully processed to complete the back-office transaction.
The information must not be lost or unintentionally altered. If it is sensitive information, it must be protected; and any risks associated with the transactions must be minimized or eliminated.
Inbound transactional transactions are often the costliest transactions an organization undertakes, yet, they are usually the most important in satisfying clients and vendors.
A Typical Paper-Based Inbound Transactional Process
Even in our digital world, the bulk of inbound transactional processes usually begin when a piece of paper arrives in your mailroom. Consider this typical manual process:
- The document arrives in the mailroom
- A mailroom clerk opens the envelope, reads and classifies the document
- The document is physically transferred to the department that will handle it
- Once in the department, it may require review or approval or some other action and may pass through several employees before action on it are complete
- Once all actions in the process are compete, the document and all accompanying documents that have been generated (receipts, check stubs, correspondence, etc., are sent to the file room
- A file clerk reviews the document and files it according to the established paper filing system
A typical Paper to Digital Inbound Transactional Process
Larger organizations, who handle more than 25,000 pieces of mail daily have often instituted some form of electronic scanning in their mailrooms, eliminating the paper early in the process and resorting to digital delivery. But even scanning requires extensive manual labor:
- The document still has to be opened
- The document is prepared for scanning (unfolded, staples removed, etc.)
- It is scanned
- The digital file is OCR’d
- It is checked for errors, classified, emailed to the correct department
- Often at this point, it is printed out again and sent around as a paper document for signatures, approvals and action.
- Then it is scanned again, along with all accompanying information and archived.
A Fully Automated Inbound Transactional Process
In order to stop the bottlenecks that form around inbound transaction processes, it is necessary to turn to full automation. While the company that eliminates paper by scanning in the mailroom has made progress in this direction, there is still much manual labor involved, and manual labor, after all, is what makes processes both more expensive and less efficient.
The best solution is a fully centralized process, often best outsourced to an organization which creates your unique workflow from start to finish, eliminating the paper before it even gets to your mailroom. This approach cuts costs, increases efficiency and usually brings a fast ROI. Start by looking at your business processes and see how they can be improved.