Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Kaizen (187-slide PowerPoint presentation). Kaizen is a powerful strategy that has played a critical role in the success of many Japanese companies, including Toyota. At its core, Kaizen is all about continuous improvement. It is a Lean methodology that involves everyone in the organization, from top management to frontline employees, in the [read more]
Business Process Reengineering (BPR): Are We Succeeding or Failing?
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Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is a practice of rethinking and redesigning the way work is done to better support an organization’s mission and reduce costs. In all too many companies, reengineering has been not only a great success but also a great failure. After months, even years, of a careful redesign, these companies achieve dramatic improvements in individual processes only to watch overall results decline.
The promise of reengineering is not empty. It can actually deliver revolutionary process improvements, and major reengineering efforts are being conducted around the world. It can even lead organizations to achieve a successful Business Transformation.
Yet, companies cannot convey these results to the bottom line.
The Strategy that is BPR
Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is a Business Management strategy focused on the analysis and design of workflows and business processes within an organization. Often, companies direct Process Reengineering initiative on 2 key areas of business. One is in the use of modern technology to enhance data dissemination and the decision- making process. The second key area is the alteration of functional organizations to form functional teams.
As a strategy, Business Process Reengineering can greatly impact on the organization. It can help organizations fundamentally rethink how work must be done to improve customer service, cut operational costs, and become world-class competitors. It can help companies radically restructure their organizations by focusing on the ground-up design of their business process. BPR, as a strategy, can direct organizations to achieve Operational Excellence.
In the process, there are 2 dimensions that are critical in translating these short-term narrow-focus process improvements into long-term profits.
Understanding the 2 Dimensions of BPR
- Breadth. Breadth is a dimension of BPR that focuses on the range of activity types within a process. It includes the identification of activities includes in the process being redesigned that are critical for value creation in the overall business unit. Breadth can reduce overall business unit costs and can even reveal unexpected opportunities for a redesign.
- Depth. This is the dimension of BPR that focuses on the abstraction levels of process logic within a process. It refers to how many and how much of the depth levers change as a result of reengineering. Depth provides the most dramatic process cost reduction and avoids the classic reengineering pitfall of focusing on fixing the status quo.
Having a good understanding of the 2 Dimensions of BPR will open a range of opportunities for organizations to achieve innovative performance and enhancements.
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Process Improvement involves analyzing and improving existing business processes in the pursuit of optimized performance. The goals are typically to continuously reduce costs, minimize errors, eliminate waste, improve productivity, and streamline activities.
As we continue to deal with COVID-19 and its economic aftermath, most organizations will prioritize Business Process Improvement initiatives. This is true for a few reasons. First, Process Improvement is one of the most common and effective ways of reducing costs. As the global economy slows down, Cost Management will jump to the forefront of most corporate agendas.
Secondly, a downturn typically unveils ineffective and broken business processes. Organizations that once seemed agile and focused during periods of growth may become sluggish and inefficient when demand drops off.
Lastly, COVID-19 has expedited Digital Transformation for most organizations. One of the quickest and most impactful forms of Digital Transformation is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Thus, we have included numerous RPA frameworks within this Stream.
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About Joseph RobinsonJoseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.
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