Your company is making great progress. You’re meeting goals easily, but the way you meet goals is where the problem is. Business processes play an important role in driving goals, but they are not as efficient as you’d like them to be.
Making changes to the process gets more and more difficult as your business grows because of habits and investments in old methods. But in reality, you cannot improve processes without making changes. Processes have to be reengineered carefully since experiments and mistakes bring in a lot of confusion
Business process re-engineering is the radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical aspects like quality, output, cost, service, and speed. Business process reengineering (BPR) aims at cutting down enterprise costs and process redundancies on a very huge scale.
On the surface, BPR sounds a lot like business process improvement (BPI). However, there are fundamental differences that distinguish the two. BPI might be about tweaking a few rules here and there. But reengineering is an unconstrained approach to look beyond the defined boundaries and bring in seismic changes.
While BPI is an incremental setup that focuses on tinkering with the existing processes to improve them, BPR looks at the broader picture. BPI doesn’t go against the grain. It identifies the process bottlenecks and recommends changes in specific functionalities. The process framework principally remains the same when BPI is in play. BPR, on the other hand, rejects the existing rules and often takes an unconventional route to redo processes from a high-level management perspective.
BPI is like upgrading the exhaust system on your project car. Business Process Reengineering, BPR is about rethinking the entire way the exhaust is handled.
To keep business process reengineering fair, transparent, and efficient, stakeholders need to get a better understanding of the key steps involved in it. Although the process can differ from one organization to another, these steps listed below succinctly summarize the process:
Gather data from all resources–both software tools and stakeholders. Understand how the process is performing currently.
Identify all the errors and delays that hold up a free flow of the process. Make sure if all details are available in the respective steps for the stakeholders to make quick decisions.
Check if all the steps are absolutely necessary. If a step is there to solely inform the person, remove the step, and add an automated email trigger.
Create a new process that solves all the problems you have identified. Don’t be afraid to design a totally new process that is sure to work well. Designate KPIs for every step of the process.
Inform every stakeholder of the new process. Only proceed after everyone is on board and educated about how the new process works. Constantly monitor the KPIs.
Many companies like Ford Motors, GTE, and Bell Atlantic tried out BPR during the 1990s to reshuffle their operations. The reengineering process they adopted made a substantial difference to them, dramatically cutting down their expenses and making them more effective against increasing competition.
An American telecom company that had several departments to address customer support regarding technical snags, billing, new connection requests, service termination, etc. Every time a customer had an issue, they were required to call the respective department to get their complaints resolved. The company was doling out millions of dollars to ensure customer satisfaction, but smaller companies with minimal resources were threatening their business.
The telecom giant reviewed the situation and concluded that it needed drastic measures to simplify things–a one-stop solution for all customer queries. It decided to merge the various departments into one, let go of employees to minimize multiple handoffs and form a nerve center of customer support to handle all issues.
A few months later, they set up a customer care center in Atlanta and started training their repair clerks as ‘frontend technical experts’ to do the new, comprehensive job. The company equipped the team with new software that allowed the support team to instantly access the customer database and handle almost all kinds of requests.
Now, if a customer called for billing query, they could also have that erratic dial tone fixed or have a new service request confirmed without having to call another number. While they were still on the phone, they could also make use of the push-button phone menu to connect directly with another department to make a query or input feedback about the call quality.
The redefined customer-contact process enabled the company to achieve new goals.
The problem with BPR is that the larger you are, the more expensive it is to implement. A startup, five months after launch, might undergo a pivot including business process reengineering that only has minimal costs to execute.
However, once an organization grows, it will have a harder and more expensive time to completely reengineer its processes. But they are also the ones who are forced to change due to competition and unexpected marketplace shifts.
But more than being industry-specific, the call for BPR is always based on what an organization is aiming for. BPR is effective when companies need to break the mold and turn the tables in order to accomplish ambitious goals. For such measures, adopting any other process management options will only be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Before you decide to adopt BPR for functional reshuffling, ask yourself the following questions:
If a company concludes that it is, in fact, operating on complacent grounds, it has to identify the right kind of solution to address the problem or consider BPR for a total overhaul. Done well, BPR’s radical approach yields dramatic results for a company in terms of improved cycle times, product quality, productivity, and so on.
The productivity of employees definitely takes a hit during process reengineering. Changes are difficult to manage and it saves a lot of costs on analysis, reengineering, and documentation. If processes are managed better during runtime, the need for reengineering is greatly reduced.
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