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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Operational Efficiency Re-engineering in European Life Sciences Sector


There are countless scenarios that require Business Process Re-engineering. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Business Process Re-engineering to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: A European biotechnology firm is grappling with escalating operational costs and elongated time-to-market for new drug developments.

Despite a robust product pipeline and a surge in market demand, their existing processes are outdated and not scalable. The organization's leadership recognizes the need to overhaul their core business processes to maintain competitive edge and ensure regulatory compliance, while also promoting innovation and reducing time-to-market.



In light of the biotechnology firm's challenges, the initial hypotheses might revolve around the lack of process automation, suboptimal resource allocation, and ineffective cross-functional collaboration. These factors could be contributing to the organization's inefficiencies and extended drug development cycles, ultimately impacting its market responsiveness and profitability.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

The proven methodology to address Business Process Re-engineering involves a 4-phase approach that can systematically identify inefficiencies, redesign processes, and implement changes to achieve Operational Excellence. This methodology enhances agility, compliance, and cost-effectiveness.

  1. Assessment and Benchmarking: Begin with a thorough assessment of current processes against industry benchmarks. Key questions include: What are the existing workflow bottlenecks? How does the organization's performance compare to industry leaders? Activities include mapping out all current processes, identifying pain points, and conducting a gap analysis. Insights from this phase often reveal quick wins and areas requiring deep transformation.
  2. Process Redesign: Focus on redesigning the processes that are most critical to the organization's value chain. Questions to address include: Which processes can be streamlined or automated? What are the best practices in the industry? Activities involve brainstorming sessions, applying best practice frameworks, and designing future-state processes. The challenge is to ensure buy-in from all stakeholders and to minimize disruption to ongoing operations.
  3. Implementation Planning: Develop a detailed implementation plan. Key considerations include: What resources are required for the transformation? How will changes be communicated and managed? Activities include developing a change management plan, resource planning, and setting up a governance structure. A common challenge is aligning the transformation with the organization's strategic objectives.
  4. Execution and Continuous Improvement: Execute the redesigned processes and establish mechanisms for ongoing optimization. Important questions include: How will process performance be monitored? What continuous improvement methodologies will be employed? Activities involve training, monitoring KPIs, and iterating on processes. Challenges often include maintaining momentum and embedding a culture of continuous improvement.

Learn more about Operational Excellence Change Management Business Process Re-engineering

For effective implementation, take a look at these Business Process Re-engineering best practices:

Kaizen (254-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting PDF)
Business Process Improvement (BPI 7) (139-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting Word)
Process Automation & Digitalization Assessment (41-slide PowerPoint deck)
Strategic Process Improvement (180-slide PowerPoint deck)
Business Process Reengineering (BPR) (157-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting PDF)
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Business Process Re-engineering Implementation Challenges & Considerations

To ensure the methodology's success, executives will need to foster a culture of change, ensuring that teams are motivated and equipped to adapt to new processes. It's vital to manage the human aspect of Business Process Re-engineering, as resistance to change can derail even the most well-planned initiatives.

Upon full implementation, the organization can expect to see a reduction in operational costs by up to 20%, according to McKinsey. Additionally, process cycle times should decrease, leading to faster time-to-market for new drugs and therapies, which is critical in the life sciences industry.

Implementation challenges may include data migration issues, integration of new technology with legacy systems, and ensuring regulatory compliance throughout the transformation process.

Learn more about Life Sciences

Business Process Re-engineering KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.
     – H. James Harrington

  • Process Cycle Time: measures the efficiency gains in critical processes.
  • Cost Reduction Percentage: quantifies the financial impact of the re-engineering efforts.
  • Compliance Rate: ensures all processes meet industry and regulatory standards.
  • Employee Adoption Rate: indicates the success of change management initiatives.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

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Implementation Insights

Throughout the implementation, it’s been observed that organizations which establish a dedicated Business Process Re-engineering team, including cross-functional experts, tend to achieve more sustainable results. This team's focus on monitoring, analysis, and continuous improvement helps in embedding the new processes into the organizational culture.

Learn more about Continuous Improvement Organizational Culture

Business Process Re-engineering Deliverables

  • Operational Assessment Report (PDF)
  • Best Practice Framework (PowerPoint)
  • Redesigned Process Documentation (MS Word)
  • Implementation Roadmap (Excel)
  • Performance Management Dashboard (Excel)

Explore more Business Process Re-engineering deliverables

Business Process Re-engineering Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Business Process Re-engineering. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Business Process Re-engineering subject matter experts.

Business Process Re-engineering Case Studies

A global pharmaceutical company implemented a Business Process Re-engineering initiative that resulted in a 30% reduction in their drug development cycle, leading to an expedited time-to-market for critical medications. The initiative involved streamlining R&D processes, adopting agile methodologies, and enhancing cross-functional collaboration.

Another case involved a medical device manufacturer that re-engineered its supply chain processes, leading to a 25% improvement in inventory turnover. The organization utilized lean management principles and advanced analytics to optimize its inventory levels and distribution strategies.

Explore additional related case studies

Ensuring Alignment with Strategic Objectives

During Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), it is crucial to align the redesigned processes with the organization's strategic objectives. This alignment ensures that the re-engineering efforts contribute to the overall direction and goals of the company. According to Bain & Company, companies that closely align their improvement initiatives with their strategy can see profit margins improve by 3 to 4 percentage points more than their competitors.

To achieve this alignment, a detailed strategic review should precede any BPR initiative. This review will help identify the critical processes that directly impact the achievement of strategic goals. Subsequently, the BPR efforts should focus on these processes to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness, thus propelling the organization towards its strategic objectives.

Change Management and Employee Adoption

Change management is an integral part of any BPR initiative. It addresses how employees adapt to new processes and technologies. Deloitte insights reveal that projects with excellent change management programs meet or exceed objectives 95% of the time, compared to 15% of projects with poor change management. A robust change management strategy involves clear communication, training, and involvement of employees in the redesign process to foster a sense of ownership and minimize resistance.

Moreover, measuring employee adoption rates is essential to gauge the success of the change management efforts. Regular feedback sessions and the establishment of a support structure can assist employees in adapting to new workflows, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the re-engineered processes.

Technology Integration and Data Migration

The integration of new technology systems and the migration of data are often complex aspects of BPR. A study by Gartner indicates that nearly 83% of data migration projects either fail or exceed their budgets and timelines. To mitigate these risks, a phased approach to technology integration and data migration should be adopted. This approach allows for the resolution of issues on a smaller scale before a full-scale roll-out.

Furthermore, it's advisable to involve IT specialists early in the BPR project to plan for the technical requirements of the new processes. This proactive involvement can ensure that the technology solutions are fit for purpose and capable of supporting the re-engineered processes without causing significant disruptions.

Regulatory Compliance in Re-engineering

In the life sciences industry, regulatory compliance is non-negotiable. The re-engineering of business processes must be conducted with a clear understanding of the regulatory landscape. According to a report by PwC, regulatory compliance issues are among the top risks facing life sciences companies, with non-compliance leading to significant financial and reputational damage.

Therefore, it is essential to involve compliance experts during the BPR initiative to ensure that all redesigned processes adhere to the necessary regulations. Additionally, embedding compliance checks within the new processes can ensure ongoing adherence and reduce the risk of future compliance breaches.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Reduced operational costs by 20% through the systematic redesign and automation of key processes.
  • Decreased process cycle times by 30%, enabling faster time-to-market for new drug developments.
  • Achieved a 95% compliance rate with industry and regulatory standards post-implementation.
  • Employee adoption rate of new processes reached 85%, indicating successful change management efforts.
  • Integration of new technology systems with legacy systems completed with minimal disruptions.
  • Strategic alignment of re-engineered processes resulted in a projected profit margin improvement of 3-4%.

The business initiative to overhaul core processes at the European biotechnology firm has been markedly successful. The significant reduction in operational costs and process cycle times directly addresses the initial challenges of high operational expenses and prolonged time-to-market. The high compliance and employee adoption rates further underscore the effectiveness of the change management and regulatory adherence strategies employed. However, the initiative faced challenges in technology integration and data migration, indicating that a more gradual, phased approach might have mitigated some of these issues. Additionally, while employee adoption was high, there's room for improvement to reach closer to 100% adoption through enhanced training and engagement strategies.

Given the success and learnings from the initiative, the recommended next steps include focusing on continuous improvement and optimization of the newly implemented processes. This could involve establishing a dedicated team for continuous monitoring and improvement, leveraging advanced analytics to identify further efficiency gains, and enhancing employee training programs to increase adoption rates. Additionally, exploring opportunities for further automation and digital transformation, especially in areas that were not the primary focus of the initial project, could yield additional operational efficiencies and competitive advantages.

Source: Operational Efficiency Re-engineering in European Life Sciences Sector, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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