Learn how to improve business performance through rethinking your work processes.
Published 23 Nov 2022
Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) involves identifying inefficient or ineffective processes and improving them. BPR aims to help businesses achieve higher measures of performance by streamlining processes and eliminating wasteful steps. In many cases, BPR can involve radical redesigns of a company's core operations, such as its manufacturing, sales, or customer service processes. BPR projects can be complex and challenging but can significantly improve productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction. BPR can be a powerful tool for achieving competitive advantage when implemented correctly.
Below are some of the most well-known use cases of BPR:
By creating an online database that followed the process from purchase order to delivery and then automatically made a payment, Ford revolutionized accounts payable (AP) management. The transition to paperless bills eliminated the need for employees to spend time matching paper purchase orders with incoming documents and invoices.
The auto company decreased its AP department’s headcount by 75% by rethinking the purchase process to take advantage of technology.
Duke Power Co. reengineered its client operations procedures in the 1990s to minimize expenses and enhance customer service in preparation for power deregulation. Despite this, Duke discovered numerous bottlenecks and anomalies after it began BPR. Staff followed standard procedures for all customer service, and “scorecards” were adopted so that staff could assess how their efforts affected Duke’s financial targets of higher earnings and improved service.
IBM reduced the time it takes to approve credit from a week or more to hours and even minutes by establishing a team of executives who would follow the company’s credit approval procedure from application to approval. They discovered that the real job took 90 minutes. The rest of the more than seven days passed from one department specialist to the next.
IBM replaced its specialists with “deal structures” who, aided by expert systems, handled the procedure from beginning to end.
BPR significantly impacts business performance by lowering operational costs, improving quality, increasing delivery speed, and boosting employee productivity. The main benefits of BPR are:
There are various BPR methodologies that businesses can use to streamline their processes. Some of the most popular BPR methodologies include:
Michael Hammer developed the Hammer and Champy methodology and James Champy in their 1993 book, “Reengineering the Corporation.” This methodology focuses on identifying and eliminating wasteful steps in a business process. The goal of this methodology is to help businesses achieve dramatic improvements in performance by streamlining their business operations.
As discussed in his book, “Process Innovation: Reengineering Work Through Information Technology,” Thomas Davenport developed the Davenport methodology. It focuses on using information technology to improve business process efficiency. This methodology aims to help businesses achieve better process performance by leveraging the power of technology.
The Manganelli and Klein methodology is a top-down approach that involves identifying core business processes, redesigning these processes, and implementing new process designs.
The Kodak method is a process used in all Kodak factories throughout the world.
It is common to use the terms Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) and Business Process Improvement (BPI) synonymously, but they have significant differences. BPR is a more radical approach that seeks to identify and redesign core business processes from scratch. At the same time, BPI takes a more incremental approach, seeking to improve existing processes step-by-step.
In most cases, BPR occurs in response to significant changes or challenges, such as a shift in the competitive landscape or an introduction of new technology. By contrast, BPI is possible at any time.
BPR can be costly and disruptive, but it can also lead to dramatic improvements in performance. On the other hand, BPI is typically less expensive and less disruptive, but the improvements tend to be more incremental. As a result, businesses must carefully consider their needs and objectives before deciding which approach to take.
There are several situations in which BPR may be the best course of action:
As mentioned earlier, BPR can cost time and money and disrupt your operations. Thus, businesses must carefully consider their needs and objectives before deciding whether or not to pursue BPR.
To make business process reengineering fair, open, and efficient, stakeholders must thoroughly understand the major phases. Although the procedure might differ from one firm to the next, these points below provide a good overview of how it works:
Gather data from all possible sources, both software tools, and stakeholders. Get a sense of how the process is working now.
Examine all the obstructions and delays in the process to identify them. Ensure stakeholders can make rapid judgments by including all necessary details at each stage.
Check to see whether any of the stages are truly necessary. Take a step only meant to inform the individual if it’s not essential and add an automated email trigger if needed.
Create a new procedure to handle all of your issues. Don’t be scared to create an entirely new method that will succeed. For each step in the process, set KPIs.
Make sure everyone is aware of the new procedure. Only execute the new method once all stakeholders agree and know how it works. Keep a close eye on the metrics.
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
There are a few key features you should look for when choosing a business process reengineering tool:
Look for a platform that has mapping capabilities to obtain a visual representation of your workflow’s stages. You may also want to identify the people involved and any other circumstances that might arise.
Look for a tool that’s simple to learn and gives your team clear training resources. A basic program should be simple to navigate so everyone can get started as soon as it’s in place.
BPR tools should automate as much of the process as possible to make it easier and faster. A no-code platform is ideal because it doesn’t require any coding knowledge or specialized skills.
Look for a tool that makes it simple to generate digital forms, records, and requests that can be routed to the correct departments and approvers automatically. Automatic alerts will also help you avoid delays, while automated record-keeping functions guarantee that all records are up to date.
Find a tool with an analytics dashboard that shows process performance in an easy-to-understand format so you can track progress over time.
The principles of business process reengineering are:
BPR aims to enhance product output, quality, and cost. It usually entails the study of business processes and the identification of procedures that are sub-par or inefficient, as well as methods for eliminating them or changing them.
The primary purpose of business process reengineering is to simplify a company’s workflow by removing unnecessary steps, automating repetitive tasks, and improving communication between departments.
BPR involves identifying company procedures that could be improved or eliminated and implementing new methods to streamline the workflow. A business must map out its current processes and find ways to optimize them to achieve this.
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is a multi-platform software that helps you plan, track, and manage your BPR projects. It offers various features, including:
Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.
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