Turnaround Time Improvement

Looking for ways to improve turnaround times in your processes? Workflow automation could be the answer.


turnaround time improvement illustration

"Turnaround time" can mean different things to different people based on industry, role, and situation. Let's look at the concept broadly:

What is Turnaround Time?

Turnaround time is the duration of a process from initiation to completion.

Within a process, there may also be multiple measured sub-processes, which we'll discuss below.

Turnaround Time Improvement Examples

Every industry and department has specific processes that are measured for efficiency and effectiveness. In many cases, the time it takes for a process to complete represents real dollars and can present risk. Some examples of critical processes that focus on turnaround time are

  • Healthcare patient turnaround time
  • New product development
  • Consumer loan approvals
  • Approval of capital requests
  • Laboratory turnaround time

In each of these scenarios, the difference between a slow and rapid resolution is significant and can result in poor outcomes and lost opportunities.

Where is the Problem?

Why does a process yield poor turnaround times to begin with? There could be a number of reasons:

  • Workflow is undocumented and not transparent.
  • Processes are manual and require a great deal of human intervention.
  • Task hand-offs are ill-defined or poorly handled.
  • Communication during the process is lacking.
  • Systems are disconnected and passed their prime.
  • Efficiency is never measured or measured incorrectly, hiding the problems.

A process improvement project can reveal these kinds of issues and becomes the start of an effort to not just reduce process duration but improve accuracy, productivity, efficiency, and customer/employee experience.

Learn more about process improvement.

How Can Turnaround Times Be Improved?

When the reasons for bottlenecks or mistakes are identified, one of the first places to look is in the manual parts of your workflow. This could mean paper-based forms or documents, emails sent for approval, shared files, spreadsheets used for tracking, etc. These are all signs of manual information handling and decision making.

Turnaround times can be improved quickly when these manual steps are moved into a workflow automation system. Any step that is predictable or can be directed via business rules is ripe for automation.

Workflow Automation Overview

Building an automated process can be done via drag-and-drop where each task is represented by a shape and can be connected to other tasks in the proper sequence (or branch off to another part of the process) to simulate the real-world workflow. The simple act of laying out the entire process this way immediately makes it transparent in a way that can be discussed and critiqued by all stakeholders.

Once stakeholders agree the process is correct, it can be employed in real-time and tested. Once tests are successful and iterations complete, the process can be rolled out to teams for use in the field.

Now, instead of paper, phone calls, emails, spreadsheets, and meetings, the workflow is managed by the system, and tasks are assigned to the right people along with alerts, reminders, and escalations when needed. As tasks are completed, the system initiates the next task, on and on, until the process is complete.

Interested in Automating Your Workflow?

We have a variety of resources to help you on your journey to an automated workflow. 


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