If you’ve ever needed sign-off from an approver to get a project completed, you’ve likely experienced the Productivity Problem. The Productivity Problem occurs when approvers fail to meet their deadlines and creatives lack the tools to hold them accountable.
The problem can be summed up in a single question: what the hell is everyone doing?
Creatives often respond to the Productivity Problem similarly. First, they routinely refresh their inboxes waiting for a response, and then manually follow up with each approver after little-to-no response. Then the problem begins anew until one of your approvers finally gives in. Meanwhile, no one is happy or productive.
How can you know what your approvers are doing? How do you hold their performance accountable? And, most importantly, how can you help improve their productivity?
In regards to the review and approval of digital proofs, approval process software can effectively eliminate the Productivity Problem. How? This blog will examine how approval process software can provide the tools to monitor and improve approval workflows, provide clarity and organization in approver feedback, and identify bottlenecks in the approval process.
Here’s how an approval process software eliminates the Productivity Problem:
By Keeping Your Proofs Organized
In order to identify the bottlenecks in your approval process, you must first have clear organization. If you’re using traditional means of communication for review and approval, such as email, you’re likely to become unorganized quickly. Let’s face it: it’s hard to keep your approvers accountable when you can’t track your own performance.
Organizing your proofs in one accessible place will give you the ability to efficiently manage your projects. A good approval process software will be able to tell you which proofs have been approved, which are overdue, and which are trapped somewhere in limbo, pending approval. By assigning a workflow to each proof, you can see how well that particular team of approvers performs as a whole when it comes to getting review and sign-off completed. Once you address your productivity, you can more effectively examine their productivity.
By Tracking Your Proofs
Another problem with traditional forms of communication is the ability to adequately track and record each status change in the approval process. The ability to track proofs easily can better help identify potential bottlenecks in the approval process sooner.
By using an approval process software, each step of the process can be logged automatically. By having a proof timeline, you can easily measure responsiveness and feedback. It can provide information such as the approver missing deadlines, if/when an approver has viewed a proof, and even how many reminders were required to receive review. Having the ability to track proofs will allow you to better measure the performance of approvers.
By Sending Automated Reminders
There’s nothing that slows down the proofing process more than the constant dance of manually following-up with your approvers. The proofs that require their input are resigned to the purgatory of their inbox for several days or weeks before they finally give in to your “just checking in” emails. Automating the reminder and follow-up process can ensure that approvers review proofs sooner.
The ideal approval process software should be able to take this responsibility off your hands. When it comes time for each approver to have their turn with the proof, the system should remind them as frequently or infrequently as you desire, whether that’s once every day or only on the day before the deadline. Making reminders the job of your approval process software will also keep the entire process recorded. You’ll easily be able to see how many reminders were sent out to each approver in the workflow before the reviewed the file, and this will let you know who you need to stay on top of the most.
By Centralizing Feedback
Getting actionable feedback is integral to getting a project done by deadline. Getting approvers to review the proof is one battle; getting approvers to give you high-quality feedback is another. It can be challenging to get thoughtful comments on the project when they’re unable to put their opinions into the context of the design, and it’s left up to you to decipher what they mean to say.
Being able to centralize and contextualize all of this feedback can give your team of approvers responsibility over the proofing process, and takes the onus off of you to figure out what their feedback means. It will also simplify their explanations, and when something is easier to do, people are usually much more likely to do it.
Centralizing and contextualizing feedback can be easily achieved through an approval process software that allows all of the review and proofing to happen right on the proof. You’ll be able to immediately see who is leaving actionable feedback, and in the case that you need more clarification, you can reply to comments in real-time. This also means the burden of hunting down approver responses will not rest on your shoulders – it will be all be consolidated and organized in one place.
Approval Process Software That Meets All of Your Needs
To address the Productivity Problem, you need to first understand the specifics of the problem as it relates to your approval process. Keeping your files organized and tracking their progress will give you the information you need to identify to weak links and measure approver performance. Being able to contextualize and centralize review and feedback will take the responsibility off your shoulders to understand what the intention of your approvers is and allows for more actionable and responsive feedback.
The ability to automate some of the processes of the approval process such as following workflows and sending reminders will significantly speed up the process by making it easier for everyone to understand when, where and how to give their feedback. Automating processes can free up as much as five hours per week for each employee. I’m sure you can think of a hundred different things to do when all that time is available.
If you think an approval process software can help your approvers be more productive and your approval process more efficient, Ashore has all the tools you need including project tracking capabilities, contextual commenting, and automated functions such as customizable workflows and scheduled reminders.
If you’re wondering if Ashore is the right software for you, it’s easy to find out. Request a demo today!