Business Process Re-Engineering

February 4, 2012

Business Process Re-Engineering

Let’s just quickly define business process: Business Process is a collection of activities designed to produce a specific output for a particular market or a customer. The emphasis is on how work is done within a company/industry. There is a specific a process is completed and it is broken down by activities over time. There is a beginning, an end and a clear scope of inputs, outputs and a structure for action. (1)

Whatever the goal is for your company/industry, a process must exist to achieve the effectiveness or efficiency of an organization. There are many business processes; management process, operational process and supporting processes. If you have ever worked for a large corporation then it should be understood that processes exist and must exist for a less painful transition from one project to another and the fine line of balancing the domestic market and an international market. Large corporations not only require processes and re-engineering they insist on it, or at least the once that stay in business a long time and are willing to make the changes needed. (2)

In the late 1990’s, Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR) was criticized because it advocated that old systems be discarded and replaced with new more efficient and innovative process. BPR has also been criticized because the focus is on implementation of new technologies and not improving the business process. The biggest complaint about BPR is its association with downsizing and cost-cutting with little regard for quality and long term business objective. There have been others who have defended BPR by stating that is t it was not intended as a way to simply slash labor costs, but to streamline work processes, remove bureaucratic procedures and increase efficiency. (3)

BPR starts with a vision or an idea. However, ideas come from three sources- they can be copied from other companies (benchmarking), bought from and IT or a consulting company or they can be original ideas. Benchmarking however does not allow for a competitive advantage and neither buying an idea due to the cost of the solution. Original idea seems to be the way for a solution but that also has its drawbacks as it is often looked at as downsizing. (3)

There are advantages to the BPR: large companies which take advantage of BPR by setting up new companies with new staff, new policies and new methods to the parent company. The “Re-start” per say allows companies to continue operating without the complication of organizational change. BPR can create many challenges and many advantages when an implementation is successful. (3,4). A study conducted in 1997 indicated that eighty percent of organizations that implemented BPR were satisfied with the results. When successfully implemented, BPR can give a company a competitive advantage and affect performance. Companies implementing BPR challenge employees to perform different tasks hence to understand the entire business. This not only empowers the employee to perform at a higher level and giving them more autonomy and holds the employee more accountable for their actions. BPR forces companies and employees to communicate, collaborate with people with different skills sets. (4,5)

BRP is about rethinking and redesigning organizational process in order to improve the performance; this includes cost, quality and service.

Dan Prabhu

Works Cited.

O’Neill, P. 1997, ‘Business Process Re-engineering: Application and Success in Australia’,

Department of Management Working Paper Series, Working Paper no. 43/97, Monash

University, Clayton


2 Responses to “Business Process Re-Engineering”

  1. Lakevia Bibb said

    Great article about business process re-engineering. Most employees of large corporations typically don’t understand the importance of re-engineering a business process because they don’t understand the benefits of re-engineering. There some corporations have to have educate their employees about re-engineering and explain how re-engineerings plays into their vision or strategic goals for the organization as a whole. Until corporations start doing a better job at educating their employees, they will continue to see resistance to re-engineering.

  2. Jason Cromes said

    Re-engineering within a business requires a significant commitment and often a decent amount of risk. In the past, I’ve witnessed a number of areas/processes that would benefit from an actual re-engineering. But, at the time, I’m not sure I realized the effort that would have been required to do it properly.

    It’s easy to say “we could fix a lot of problems if we redesigned this process from scratch” – it’s quite another to actually make it happen. Re-engineering definitely has its place, it just can’t be done half-heartedly.

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