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Workflower streamlines internal ordering for one-off purchases at AZ Nikolaas


Your laptop is breaking down and you urgently need a new one. The supply of insulin pumps is almost depleted. The medication refrigerator is due for replacement. Toys are needed for the Saint Nicolas celebration. The list of items a hospital needs to order is virtually endless…

And the ordering procedures can be quite complex, especially when they are paper-based.  First, it takes a long time to complete the approval flow so the product can actually be ordered. Plus, the forms themselves can get lost or misplaced. And if a request gets stuck, you can’t see where the bottleneck is, or follow up on the status of approvals.




But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Nikolaas Hospital (AZ Nikolaas), in Sint-Niklaas, together with Amaron, found a solution to automate the ordering process for less-common products and services, using Workflower. In the first year since the system was deployed, the hospital processed some 2200 purchase applications with this new tool.

What do the users think?

“With Workflower, we can manage our one-off purchases – i.e. items that are not covered by our regular stocking system – much more efficiently. Through a series of mail-triggered tasks these items are ordered more quickly; the end users are very happy with the improved lead times.”

Geert Meganck, head of logistics, AZ Nikolaas



How it works

  • A hospital employee creates an order request using a specially designed Workflower form; the following steps in the process are triggered automatically.
  • Depending on the product category, the order is assigned to a product administrator who can give feedback on the technical details of the order, choose a supplier and – for more costly items – request a quotation.
  • Depending on the total amount, the order then follows a specific route.
  • For orders totalling 1,000+ euros, the purchasing department is consulted. Smaller orders skip this step.
  • Next, four different supporting services are consulted. This happens in parallel so that no valuable time is lost. A decision table ensures that, depending on the selected product group, only those services involved need to give their opinions. This also makes it possible to follow up on who has given what feedback.
  • Next the approval phase starts: the product administrator looks into the opinions provided and handles the final approval or rejection. For relatively small orders, only the approval of the head of department is needed. Larger orders must also be validated by the general manager and the managing director. Very large orders must be approved by the Board of Directors. The amounts of the orders and the associated approvals required can be parameterised.
  • Once approved, the order goes to the accounting department, and an employee creates an external order form in the SAP system, based on the data in the Workflower form.
  • As a final step – if applicable – a task is created to register the ordered device in the inventory application, so that the technical service can maintain an accurate overview of the devices in use.