Business Process Reengineering
An Introductory Guide
by Peter Carter
Business process reengineering (often referred to by the acronym BPR) is the main way in which organizations become more efficient and modernize. Business process reengineering transforms an organization in ways that directly affect performance.
The impact of BPR on organizational performance
The two cornerstones of any organization are the people and the processes. If individuals are motivated and working hard, yet the business processes are cumbersome and non-essential activities remain, organizational performance will be poor.
Business Process Reengineering is the key to transforming how people work. What appear to be minor changes in processes can have dramatic effects on cash flow, service delivery and customer satisfaction. Even the act of documenting business processes alone will typically improve organizational efficiency by 10%.
How to implement a BPR project
The best way to map and improve the organization's procedures is to take a top down approach, and not undertake a project in isolation. That means:
- Starting with mission statements that define the purpose of the organization and describe what sets it apart from others in its sector or industry.
- Producing vision statements which define where the organization is going, to provide a clear picture of the desired future position.
- Build these into a clear business strategy thereby deriving the project objectives.
- Defining behaviours that will enable the organization to achieve its' aims.
- Producing key performance measures to track progress.
- Relating efficiency improvements to the culture of the organization
- Identifying initiatives that will improve performance.
Once these building blocks are in place, the BPR exercise can begin.
Tools to support BPR
When a BPR project is undertaken across the organization, it can require managing a massive amount of information about the processes, data and systems. If you don't have an excellent tool to support BPR, the management of this information can become an impossible task. The use of a good BPR/documentation tool is vital in any BPR project.
The types of attributes you should look for in BPR software are:
- Graphical interface for fast documentation
- "Object oriented" technology, so that changes to data (eg: job titles) only need to be made in one place, and the change automatically appears throughout all the organization's procedures and documentation.
- Drag and drop facility so you can easily relate organizational and data objects to each step in the process
- Customizable meta data fields, so that you can include information relating to your industry, business sector or organization in your documentation
- Analysis, such as swim-lanes to show visually how responsibilities in a process are transferred between different roles, or where data items or computer applications are used.
- Support for Value Stream mapping.
- CRUD or RACI reports, to provide evidence for process improvement.
- The ability to assess the processes against agreed international standards
- Simulation software to support 'what-if' analyses during the design phase of the project to develop LEAN processes
- The production of word documents or web site versions of the procedures at the touch of a single button, so that the information can be easily maintained and updated.
The software we use by choice is 2c8
, a very comprehensive Swedish system that has been translated into English. 2c8
meets all the above requirements, and many more, and is better than any system originated in English that we have seen.
To be successful, business process reengineering projects need to be top down, taking in the complete organization, and the full end to end processes. It needs to be supported by tools that make processes easy to track and analyze.
(c)2005 Peter Carter
©2013 Team Technology. Further articles/resources that may be of interest include: Personality Test, Personality Type Descriptions, Myers Briggs overview, The Basics of Team Building, What Career is Right for Me?, and Career ideas.