How Twinings Saved Two Days on Finance Processes with Formstack’s Approval Workflow Feature

Written by Abby Nieten on May 3, 2016

Posted in Case Studies, Workflow Automation

Twinings is a well-known commercial tea company that produces more than 50 varieties of black, green, herbal, and chai tea. The company got its start in 1706 as a small shop in the United Kingdom, but Twinings® tea can now be found in more than 115 countries worldwide. The company’s North American base was established in 1982 in Clifton, New Jersey.

Twinings North America came across Formstack in 2009 while looking for a way to streamline its process requests. The company first used Formstack to create a Twinings® tea order form for foodservice customers. Since then, Twinings has found many uses for Formstack.

One of the biggest successes Twinings has had with Formstack comes from the Approval Workflow feature, which assists with workflow management by allowing account users to approve or deny submissions. Twinings created a new customer request form for its sales team and added Approval Workflow to standardize the approval process for adding new foodservice customers to the Twinings database. Using Formstack, Twinings has cut an average of two days off this internal process.

Here’s the full story:

The Challenge

Several team members are required to sign off on a Twinings prospect before that prospect can officially become a Twinings customer. Prospective foodservice customers must make their way through a process of sales approvals, background checks, and financial approvals.

Before using Formstack, the workflow process started with a PDF form that was filled out, digitally signed, and then manually emailed to the appropriate approvers. Each approver would sign off and then pass the PDF file to the next approver via email. This was time-consuming and left room for error because approvers had to wait for a file attachment and keep track of multiple email threads. Additionally, if an approver wasn’t at his or her computer or missed an email, the process would be delayed.

The Formstack Fix

To expedite the workflow process for new customer requests, Twinings used Formstack to create a new customer request form with Approval Workflow and Email Logic. Now, the approval process is more standardized and efficient. Sales reps fill out the Formstack form, and approvers are automatically notified upon submission. Approvers get an email with the submission details, and they can approve or deny a submission right from the email without having to log in to Formstack.

Using Formstack, the new customer request process boils down to a handful of quick steps:

Step 1
When a sales team member wants to add a new Twinings account or foodservice customer, that salesperson fills in the necessary prospect information on the new customer request form and attaches any important documents, such as the prospective customer’s bank information. The request form uses required fields to ensure the salesperson gathers all necessary information before submitting the request.

Step 2
After the request form is submitted, sales management gets an email with a notification that a submission is ready for approval. The form is marked as approved if management is satisfied with the information provided.

Step 3
If approved, the submission then moves on to a finance team member. Finance runs credit checks and supplements the submission details, if necessary, with information about the credit checks. The submission is approved if finance is satisfied with the prospective customer’s financial information.

Step 4
If approved, the submission may go on to one or two additional approvers for a final review. The form uses approver logic, which means certain approvers will only be notified to approve the submission under preset circumstances, depending on a variety of risk factors.

Enhancing Workflow Management with Approver Logic

Step 5
After the final approval is given, an email is generated by the Formstack system to inform everyone of the new account.
 

This systematic process created through Formstack has cut off at least two days from the workflow for each new customer approval. It has eliminated a lot of downtime from an approver being away on vacation or not seeing the email. Each approver gets a very direct email with a custom subject line, and all approvers can sign off on the request from anywhere.

The Workflow Management Star

Since implementing Formstack’s Approval Workflow feature for new customer requests, Twinings has put the feature to use for other notable workflow processes:

New Vendor Requests
Twinings created a form and a process for new vendor requests that is similar to the new customer request process. A vendor is a person or company Twinings pays for products or services used by Twinings, such as its overnight courier mail service provider. Any Twinings employee can request a new vendor, so the approvals are a little more intricate than those used for new customer requests. Upon submission of a new vendor request form, the first approval stop is with the requester’s immediate reporting manager. From there, it flows through a specific line of approvers based on the initial approving manager.

Pricing Change Requests
Twinings created a product pricing change request form before Approval Workflow was available with Formstack. After that feature was released, Twinings went back to the pricing change request form and added Approval Workflow. Now, all necessary people are informed of one-off price changes and must approve before the price change is set.

Product Samples Requests
Twinings has plans to add Approval Workflow to an existing samples request form, which is essentially the entire Twinings catalog of products. Currently, sales reps can order any samples, and the Twinings product warehouse has to follow-up if anything in a request looks off. With Approval Workflow, the warehouse employees will know the request has already been approved when it gets to them, so they won’t need to waste time following up.

“We don’t have any other tools that do anything like Formstack,” said Mike Reilly, Information Systems Administrator at Twinings North America. “Now everyone internally knows we have Formstack, so I’ll get specific requests like ‘Can we make a Formstack form for X?’ Everyone is educated on it and what it can do.”

The Takeaway

To effectively manage a workflow process, you need a tool that can bring standardization and efficiency to the process. If you’re interested in seeing how Formstack can help you streamline workflow management at your organization, sign up for a free trial below.