Workflow Really Does Matter

If you're already embedding clear-stamp signatures to sign-and-email your documents - skip this post.
I was talking with a client a few weeks ago about how to improve common workflows hoping to find ways to reduce costs. We were working through my standard survey and came to the topic of signing documents. Not the paper kind - but the electronic kind.

For the purpose of emailing a signed copy of a document - here's what they were doing:
1) Finish the document in Word and
2) Print the Word document to paper and
3) carry the printed document to the attorney for signature and
4) carry the signed document to the scanner and
5) scan the signed document to PDF with auto-email to the attorney who
6) would forward it to his recipient.

This method violates several rules of workflow and at least one international treaty on conservation of paper products... Here's what I suggested:

1) Finish the document in Word and
2) File-Print-to-PDF with a PDF application to convert the source Word document to PDF and
3) Add a clear-stamp of scanned signature to the signature block in the PDF document and
4) email the PDF document to recipient.

All of this takes place at the user desktop, in much less time, and with significantly less resources. And its easy to implement.

The client asked about how secure the signature stamp was, how it was created, and where it is stored. "Well... its scanned and its stored in the PDF application". "What if someone stole it?" they asked. "Aren't you sending your signature out anyway?" I asked?

The client is happily converting output documents to PDF format at their desktop and adding a nice signature stamp to the PDF document and then emailing. All done with a few clicks.

Moral of the story - workflow does matter and it adds up in a hurry. Look around - the workflow bottlenecks are usually easy to spot.

PS: When creating signature stamps - use a graphics program (free public domain program like GIMP) to create a "CLEAR" stamp. This is a signature stamp which does Not have a white background - so when you apply it, the lines of the signature flow over the signature block in a natural way.

The Editor