Business Process Reengineering

What is Business Process Reengineering?

Business Process Reengineering Session

Business Process Reengineering in short is called as BPR. It simply means to completely revamp and transform the way you work at present.  

For a quick example, if you may remember that airlines used to provide you the physical hard copies of the travel tickets, not very long ago. Now, you only need an e-ticket from the computer and that can be sufficient to show at the airport entrance and board the plane.

This is a typical example of BPR. Although the customers may only know it when it actually happens for them. But it would have taken several months (or years) for the organization to reach at that point of execution.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) has become a complete science of reengineering the workflows. It is also apt to call it a science; since it has a word ‘engineering’ in it. It gives a heavy importance, that you are not doing any minor changes in the workflow, rather you are going to completely reengineer the holistic workflow from the start to the end. Although it all sounds great and impressive, but it is easier said than done. Since it is almost like an engineering project, it will require a lot of planning, team collaboration, resources and budgets to achieve the final goals.

One very easy and simplistic Business Process Reengineering (BPR) framework has been offered by Bhudeb Chakravarki which is called INSPIRE.

This acronym stands for Initiate, Negotiate, Select, Plan, Investigate, Redesign, and Ensure.

Let’s try to understand each stage a bit more…

Initiate

This is the first preliminary stage, where you have to think strategically and assess the business needs and the problem areas and issues. You have to refresh what the mission of the company is and what goals they want to achieve. At this stage you will only be concerned about identifying the broader area, where business process reengineering may be required. 

Negotiate

Once you find the domain, you need to convince the top management and get the required approvals.

For this, you also have to give the detailed presentation to the main stakeholders about what you are going to achieve and how it will benefit the organization.

Select

Discussing Business Process Reengineering points

This is the stage, where, you have to select the specific work area, where the business process reengineering (BPR) needs to be applied. It may be customer services, reducing operational costs, or deploying the new technology or else to outsource the work. 

It is important to select the right work area that can actually provide you good dividends and results in the end. If you have to take more time to find it, please do so.

Plan

Whatever the area you have selected, now is the stage, where you to have to build a team based on the magnitude of the project, and you have to take into account the financial budgets you may need. You also have to jot down the BPR goals, you have to assess what new software tools and technologies you may need to deploy for any BPR. You also have to plan for the training and communications in order to ensure that all the stakeholders and process owners will truly understand it. 

This is a very detailed stage, where all the meat of the planning is involved, once it is done comprehensively, it will make it easier to follow through.

Investigate

Now at this stage, you have to investigate about the problem areas, because that was the initial reason, the Business Process Reengineering (BPR) project was needed to start, as something was not right, either customers were not happy, or it was costing too much money, or there were too many delays involved in the process. So now you need to investigate and pin point the root causes first. At this stage, you can also take the help of some other tools like Six Sigma statistics, breakthrough equation, root cause analysis, correlation and some more. This investigation will provide you the final analysis, about what is not right.

Redesign

BPR discussion session

Now at this stage, after nailing the problem you have to redesign the process. Either it can be total new process or it may have some complete makeover of the old one.

At this stage, usually there is tremendous amount of technology or IT role in Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

At present times, the concept of BPR usually goes well with the IT support. Without that, it may not be fully possible to reap the best of the rewards. But care has to be taken, since we are not interested to automate the existing process, because that will defeat the purpose of BPR.  You can’t simply input the junk and get the junk out at the end.

After carefully developing the ‘to be’ scenarios, you should be able to provide the simulated new BPR-ed process, how it will look like and how it will function with what benefits to the customer and to the bottom line. Once it is done and presented and agreed upon, you have to implement it, test it and run it.

Ensure

This is last stage of the BPR, where you have already completed the Business Process Reengineering (BPR), but now you just can’t leave it like that. You still have to follow through and ensure that it works as desired and provides you the desired benefits.

As we may know, prescribing medicines by the doctor is one part, but taking he medicines regularly and ensuring that health gets improved is the real efficacy of the part. And if not done well, the whole previous exercise may go wasted.

At this stage, it is also important to have a training plan for the concerned staff and to have regular communications with the staff about how the work needs to be done differently. 

In addition, all the stakeholders may need to be invited to share the benefits of the new Business Process Reengineering (BPR) process. If you do receive any adverse feedback, you need to address it well and ensure that things remain on the track, or else the effort, money and energy spent in reengineering the process may get sabotaged.

Summing Up

BPR Results

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is one of the most sought after methodologies to bring in the best of the efficiencies in the processes.

BPR typically helps to increase the customer satisfaction, since most of the BPR projects ae focused on improving the customer experiences. Majority of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted BPR practices in one way or the other. They have obtained huge benefits from BPR techniques resulting into much smoother, efficient and effective business processes for the end customers as well as increasing revenues and profits for the company. 

You also check out some history of Business Process Reengineering at Wiki.

About The Author

Zeerik Ahmad

I am a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) with about 25+ years of corporate experience. Now, I write, coach and mentor businesses to help improve their processes and results. I am also helping individuals to apply the Six Sigma techniques to streamline their personal and professional lives to achieve a fulfilling life.

You can contact me here

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