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Steps in Business Process Reengineering
Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is a management approach put forward by Michael Hammer, former professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to him, reengineering is the fundamental rethinking that initiates a radical change in overall business processes with a view to achieve drastic enhancement in performance, quality, delivery time and revenue. It aims at structurally changing the work flows targeting the entire organization. The reengineering approach concentrated on business out comes than the tasks involved. Involvement of information technology is crucial in designing and developing process flows and automating tasks to make it free of human errors. As the entire reengineering effort is complex with a heavy budget allocation, structured and systematic execution of the process is highly critical for the successful completion of the project. Such organised and disciplined steps or process flow of reengineering are discussed here.
Steps Involved in BPR
Business Process Reengineering needs clarity in long term business vision, creative and determined leaders to take it ahead. It requires tremendous effort and the cost involved in its implementation is huge. Each phase needs to be accurately carried out under a reengineering activity. The steps involved in reengineering process are explained below −
STEP 1: Identify the need for change
The entire reengineering efforts are directed towards change and this makes it crucial to identify the purpose of initiating change.
Gathering information on the purpose of business, the existing process rules and systems, business vision and goals will give a clear picture of the current situation of the company. This will help to find the areas that are lacking behind the expected performance.
Determine the outcome anticipated as a result of the BPR efforts
An exhaustive identification of work rules and existing culture within the process lines will help to better understand the operational structure, requirements and the work cycle.
All these information can lead to confirming the actual need for change and this serves as a vital part prior to initiation of BPR activities.
STEP 2: BPR Team
The next step is to organize a competent team for leading and executing the BPR project. Dynamic, creative and determined people from across the functional units together with the management representatives ideally make a well balanced BPR team.
Having an efficient BPR team with the right skills to communicate, convince the need for redesigning and drive the activities towards revamping is of utmost importance.
Michael Hammer, who propounded the concept of BPR puts forward four roles to be part of the team. A leader who has authority, people to take ownership of changing processes, dedicated team members from each process units to give inputs, suggestions and facilitate reengineering, a steering committee with top management representatives to formulate strategic decisions and supervise the redesign efforts and an advisor who is expert in techniques and tools to link cross-functional units.
The team does not necessarily need independent resource to cater to each roles, but the team together should have the said skills, responsibilities and accountability.
This step will help to simplify and eliminate time delays and errors during the course of BPR action plan.
STEP 3: Isolation and Selection
Once the first two steps are in place, the next task is to isolate the gaps and analyse process flaws in the existing system of operations.
The actual expected outcome of a process need to be recognized before selecting it for redesign.
Workflow bottlenecks captured, delivery time gaps, avoidable complexity in procedures, assets and resources that are not optimally utilised are recorded.
Inefficient processes that have scope of drastic improvement needs to be chosen for reengineering only after strict scrutiny.
STEP 4: Process mapping and blueprint for redesign
The business process that are found and selected for redesign needs to be precisely planned for fundamental revamping.
Activities for restructuring the operations can be productively planned through process mapping. Existing complex procedures that cause time delays and excess costs can be simplified to develop a clear process flow chart.
Blueprinting enables the aid of technology to develop workflow models and data needs of proposed business processes.
Brainstorming and benchmarking activities should be carried out with vigor, taking into consideration human resources, performance, incentives and technology infrastructure.
Another activity that needs to be carried out in this step is to develop performance indicators to measure the reengineering tasks on implementation. Ensuring performance measurements help improve the process efficiency.
This will in turn help to set realistic organizational goals
While drafting the plan for redesigning the focus should be on the resultant outcome and not on the functional unit tasks
Clarity in ownership of operational functions will facilitate easy decision making and reduce turn around time.
Activities isolated as redundant or non-essential should be discarded though it may lead to cancellation of a job role.
Collection of information should be at the source point and should be easily accessible in real time with the help of communication networks.
STEP 5: Implementation and Change management
This is the stage where all the prior efforts towards reengineering are put to action.
Implementation of planned activities requires careful and diligent execution.
As a radical change is practically introduced in this stage, techniques for change management too become a necessity. Change management can be viewed as the first step of transformation of a business.
People are the basic resources of any organization that is responsible for driving tasks towards business outcome. Change in work culture and process flows can bring in resistance. Innovative ways to tackle this issue including effective communication, reallocation of work force and providing proper training on the new processes should be carried out in parallel to implementation. Employees should be informed and convinced of the benefits of carrying out an overhaul.
Harnessing dedicated technology and systems to discard irrelevant task cycles and automations can make the business more productive.
Information technology can be leveraged to incorporate systems including software for managing business process, project management and time tracking.
STEP 6: Feedback and Monitoring
Reengineering activities does not end with implementation. Continuous monitoring, assessment, identification of errors and prompting quick action to rectify is needed to make business revamping a success.
Proper governance should be in place and performance indicators need to be modified based on customer preferences and dynamic market conditions.
Collecting feedback both from the employees and end customers is crucial to analyse the result of the reengineering process critically. This helps to improve processes as well as add customer value.
Constant improvement activities will help to sustain the benefits of reengineering and reap maximum revenue.
Business process reengineering brings a radical change to the entire business process and improves business performance substantially by discarding redundant procedures. It motivates employees by incorporating tools and technology to simplify and make task easier. BPR also significantly improves quality and customer value by reducing costs and turn over times.
In short, the reengineering activity serves as a strategic tool to bring competitive advantage in the respective business domains. All the steps discussed above play a significant role is carefully planning and implementing this crucial project of reengineering. Structured plan of BPR enables successful redesigning eliminating errors or pitfalls.
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