Workflows - Key Concepts
Workflows are a key part of the Supplios platform.
We often use the term "workflow" (small 'w') in a generic sense to refer to a business process. But "Workflows" (big 'W') are also a concrete thing in Supplios, with specific features, settings, and capabilities.
Unsurprisingly, our Workflow feature is intended to help you automate all of your supplier-related workflows. You probably figured that out on your own. :)
Throughout the documentation, we attempt to always refer to the technical feature as Workflows (big 'W').
There are a number of key concepts to understand about Workflows. This article does not go into the specifics of each one, but rather just provides an overview of the top-level concepts.
A Workflow itself is a single "run" of some business process, automated in Supplios.
This could be something as simple as a single vendor filling out a single information form, or a more complex process such as a long-running supplier quality issue process (like an 8D process), with a series of internal and external steps in the process, various approval steps, follow-up actions, and more.
A Workflow represents a "run" of the overall process.
A Task is a single unit of work within a Workflow.
A Task is usually a small bit of work performed by a person (a user) such as filling out some form, documenting some information, approving something, or similar work. Tasks can also be done by the Supplios platform (Auto-Tasks), such as preparing a report, generating a PDF, sending emails, or others.
Generally (but not always), Tasks have deadlines, assigned users to perform them (Task Assignees), rules for when they do or do not need to be completed, and other settings related to who can see them, who can complete them, and who can configure them.
Tasks are the "building blocks" of a Workflow.
A Step is a grouping of Tasks in a generally linear Workflow. Steps contain tasks (sometimes only one), and are part of a Workflow.
The majority of Workflows you will manage in Supplios are linear (do step 1, then step 2, then step 3), and it is often useful to think of these Workflows as a sequence of Steps, even if there are multiple Tasks to be complete in one Step, such as 3 different people approving something in parallel.
Steps themselves are more of a logical construct used to group things in an overall Workflow -- but the Tasks they contain are where most of the configuration actually happens.
Each Workflow has a Workflow Owner. The Workflow Owner is generally the person in your company who would otherwise be responsible for the process you are automating with Supplios.
For example: If you are automating a supplier-quality related process (ie: completing an 8D report) then the Workflow Owner would likely be one of your Supplier Quality Engineers or Supplier Quality Managers. Or if you are automating some Supplier Onboarding process, the Workflow Owner may be someone from your Sourcing, Procurement, or Supplier Development teams.
Each Workflow can currently only have one Workflow Owner, but this may change in the future.
Each Task within the Workflow that requires user-input (ie: not an Auto-Task), must be assigned to a person, or multiple people -- the Task Assignee(s).
These people can be either your Internal Users, or External Users (suppliers/vendors). The visibility and assignment rules are managed on a task-by-task basis, and we go into more detail in a separate article -- see "Related Articles" below.
Task Assignee(s) must have a Supplios account with your company, but any type of user / user license can be a Task Assignee, depending on the task settings.
Have questions about Workflows?
Contact the Supplios support team, and we'll be happy to show you examples of various Workflows and help configure them exactly how you want.