Workflows

Have you ever wondered how you could automate your quality operations – like for instance how to automatically send lab test results to shop floor operators as soon as the lab technician enters them? Workflows enable you to achieve this seamless continuity. They trigger messages or actions in response to predefined events in an analysis set or selection list. And, while the above example is just one of the many use cases, workflows are the easy way to automatically inform your organization or trigger follow-up processes.

This article teaches you everything you need to know about workflows and ends with some example applications that might inspire you.

The workflow feature relates to analysis sets and selection lists. That bounds this feature to Quality Control and QESH Management processes. If you are looking for the flow in the Document Management context, take a look at the Document Modification Procedures flowchart.

In this article

Creating a new workflow

In a workflow you specify when a message should be sent to whom, how it will be sent and what the content of the message should be.

The starting point for a new workflow is the results overview of the analysis set or selection list that the workflow applies to.
Click More » Workflows to start creating a new workflow.

Let's go through the properties of a workflow step by step.

Actions

Workflows can be triggered by various actions: new result  entry, result modification, result deletion or when a particular date is reached. With the help of the Action buttons (see screenshot below), you have control over all of these. And you can select multiple actions for a single workflow.

The workflow depicted above would only be triggered when the specified filter condition is met (1), and only if the result has been either modified (2) or deleted (3).

Sometimes you want to tailor your workflows even more. Say you do not want to trigger a message after any result modification, but only when a particular field is updated. That can be configured in the Field dropdown menu next to Modification.

Filter

To further tailor when a worklow is triggered, you can apply a filter defining the specific scenario for the workflow to trigger.

Example: Imagine that you want to inform your organization about lab test results. But you only want to do so when the sample status is set to released. This can be configured by setting the workflow filter to  Status = Released. Then this workflow will only trigger once, immediately after the sample status has been changed to match this very condition.

In order to use a filter in a workflow, start by choosing constraints to define the trigger scenario in the Results overview. After the filter has been applied, click More » Workflows to navigate to the workflow management screen. You will see that the filter is assigned to the new workflow. Updating the filter of an existing workflows works identically.

Recipients

Now that we defined when the workflow will be triggered, we can define who will receive the message and by what means. As shown in the screenshot below, you can select AlisQI user accounts from the Users list, specify e-mail addresses or select a user selection list.

This last option deserves some explaining. Imagine you have an analysis-set with a select element to pick the submitter of a customer complaint. Checking this particular field, you’ll be able to message the selected submitter of an individual complaint. The image below clarifies this scenario:

Signals

Workflows can not only send messages, they can inform the organization by various signals.

Message

The default signal type is a plain message. Use the subject line and message fields to specify what you’d like to communicate and you're all set. The message is delivered through the internal message system and via email if the user is configured to receive messages by email.

Right below the message text field there is a checkbox that lets you manage whether a table with all result values is added to the message. This way you have full control over which data the recipients will receive.

Popup

This type of signal will appear as a popup in the screen to the user who triggered a workflow. This can be useful to give specific instructions on how to deal with the particular scenario.

Alarm

Workflows can raise alarms. These can either be built-in alarms or custom alarms. Any type of alarm raised by a workflow will alert all users assigned to the selected alarm type.

Webhook

Calling webhooks from a workflow enables you to trigger processes in external systems. This is considered an expert feature to be used by developers with experience in system integration.
Read more about webhooks in AlisQI.

Result transfers

A result transfer responds to a workflow trigger by creating or updating a result in another analysis set or selection list.

Read all about result transfers here.

Depiction of the New workflow dialog, where you can set all the properties.

Use result values in message

If you want to refer to particular fields of the result in your subject line or message, you can use variables. This allows you for instance to include a number or a selected user.

In the upper right corner you have a full list of all variables to your avail. Simply place a {{variable}} placeholder in your subject or message, and this will be replaced by the actual value when sending the message.

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Updating an existing workflow

All existing workflows can be found via More » Workflows in the Results Overview.

Simply open a stored workflow, edit and save your changes.

Changing the filter is a little bit trickier.

To update the filter of an existing workflow, you first need to apply new filter settings in Result overview. Then, navigate to More » Workflows and click the pencil edit button (see screenshot below). Make sure that you are in the filter section of the workflow that you wish to change. By clicking the edit button, you update the filter and can enjoy the new changes.

Blog alert!

Workflows: the easy way to boost clarity and make QESH actionable

As we highlighted time and time again, to achieve great quality, we need to make this an organization-wide effort. With more and more people getting involved, manual processes become a bigger burden that requires some smart tooling.

Designing their own workflows, AlisQI users save time, prevent double work, and manage to stay action oriented. Let’s find out more!

Example applications and configuration

Workflows prove to be a very powerful building block in our platform. They enable you to automate your quality operations. The list of use cases is endless. We are often suprised by the creativity of our users in creating process automations.

Here you find a step by step tutorial on how to automate the process in the context of a QESH process. The tutorial creates a process to follow-up near miss safety incidents, but the principles are valid for all quality processes.

Below you find a list of example applications and their configurations.

The list of example applications below is by no means intended to be complete. It is only intended to provide some inspiration on how workflows can help you in making your quality management smart and omnipresent.

  • Inform shop floor the minute laboratory test results are available

    Create a workflow that sends a message to certain users whenever a field changes.

    Trigger: Modification of any field
    Filter: none

  • Inform quality department on the day a sample needs to be retested to validate shelf life

    Create a workflow that sends a message when a certain date is reached

    Trigger: On date + select retest date field in your result
    Filter: none

  • Trigger a deviation process when a QC result is marked as deviated

    Create a workflow with a Result transfer that is triggered when the result is marked as deviated, either on result entry or modification

    Trigger: Entry or modification
    Filter: status = "deviated"
    Result transfer: Configured to create a result in your process deviation form, including all relevant parameters from your QC result (product, batch, remarks, ...)

  • Send all quality data to ERP on batch release

    Create a workflow with a webhook call that is triggered when the batch release state is reached

    Trigger: Entry or modification
    Filter: status = "released"
    Webhook: Configured to call an endpoint of your ERP's API. The full result will be sent to this endpoint in JSON format. See our API documentation for the full specification of the payload.

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