Thousands of Nipro associates across 26 locations are using FlowForma Process Automation to change the way they get things done, from approving marketing assets to supporting HR and sales processes.
The Pain Points:
The Next Steps:
The plan is to develop mobile access to the flows, further accelerating approvals and sign-off by making them available to stakeholders anytime, anywhere.
Nipro Europe Group Companies (Nipro) is part of a global conglomerate led by Nipro Corporation Japan, that runs a wide-range of medical-related businesses, including medical device and pharmaceutical packaging divisions. Nipro’s regional headquarters in Belgium is responsible for a global footprint that spans Europe, Africa, the Americas and Russia.
Departments like marketing and HR had a challenge when it came to sharing workflows across 26 different sites employing 3,500 people. Whether in paper form or as email attachments, there was much information shared – which inevitably ran the risk of documents getting lost or emails falling through the cracks. Even when Nipro went from paper to digital, each different site often had different approaches - an email could contain a spreadsheet, word document or PDF.
A move to Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online advanced the pursuit of standardized workflows, but there was still the need for a process automation tool, ideally a ‘no code’ solution that everybody could use, rather than an IT driven service.
“We did some benchmarking of a range of no code products,” said Dennis Mingeroet, Global Procurement Research Manager, Nipro Europe. “The look and feel of FlowForma Process Automation took it through to the final selection where we asked for a proof-of-concept and it excelled.”
Four employees were initially trained on FlowForma Process Automation and were soon putting what they learned into practice. Katherine Cox, Program and Editorial Manager, went big from the start, creating a flow around Marketing Approval, a massive quality management process applied to the development of marketing collateral, such as brochures, product data sheets and artworks.
Since the flow went ‘live’ in 2019, 416 marketing assets have passed through a process that involves 18 different steps. Nine signatories are responsible for everything from copy edits and design to clinical and regulatory approvals. A dashboard was created for stakeholders to instantly see the status of the approval process, giving the business a level of visibility it never had before.
A game-changing piece of work, it informed the many flows and forms that quickly followed as more use cases were found. This was the plan when the need for a simple-to-use solution was identified. “The no code setup means the process owners are heavily involved; they can understand what is happening without requiring any knowledge of systems or coding language,” said Dennis Mingeroet. “It motivates people to learn how to maintain their own processes and extend them beyond their own sites.”
Cox and Mingeroet were quick to realize the benefits of FlowForma Process Automation in their respective editorial and procurement roles, but they have seen adoption across the business. “It’s something that translates to different positions. Anyone who takes the training could very easily adopt it to their department,” said Cox.
Typifying the benefits FlowForma Process Automation has delivered to Nipro, the Marketing Approval flow now involves 10 emails automatically triggered compared to a potential 40 that had to be manually generated before. Not only does the process enable a fast and efficient way to fine-tune collateral, it creates a documented history and audit trail to meet regulatory requirements.
On a practical day-to-day basis, it has transformed the way people work. “By standardizing processes, providing a single source of truth, and incorporating additional tasks in a uniform fashion, FlowForma Process Automation has helped our employees reduce their workloads,” said Katherine Cox.
She described how it saves time by having all the information points indicated upfront with fields marked as “mandatory” - thus reducing hold-ups in the process or unnecessary email back-and-forth. She has been impressed by how quickly it has been adopted in other parts of the business. Dennis Mingeroet puts it down to ease of use. He likes the rule building and simplicity of the fields but had special praise for FlowForma Process Automation’s ability to carry out spreadsheet-type calculations in the flow. “It’s something that you can take to every process and it’s one of the best features,” he said.
Katherine Cox summed up the impact of FlowForma Process Automation from a marketing perspective: “As a company, the dexterity and the agility was already there; we just needed the right tool to gives us the autonomy to create digitized workflows. FlowForma Process Automation has harmonized all the different sites and helped us achieve our goal to unify, simplify and amplify.”
Dennis Mingeroet had a final word of praise for the FlowForma support team: “Whenever we have any concerns or new ideas, we just pick up the phone and they help us out. They’ve been great.”
‘‘We did some benchmarking of a range of no code products. The look and feel of FlowForma Process Automation took it through to the final selection where we asked for a proof-of-concept and it excelled.
The no code setup means the process owners are heavily involved; they can understand what is happening without requiring any knowledge of systems or coding language. It motivates people to learn how to maintain their own processes and extend them beyond their own sites.”