What value can business process re-engineering bring to your business?
Business process re-engineering (BPR) is the remodelling of business procedures for scaling up. Before a company uses BPR, they should align expectations for the process and acknowledge the risks.
What companies try to achieve with BPR
Clarity and transparency
Business processes determine how resources are connected with the chain of actions that delivers value to customers. The probability of success in a variety of business areas increases if companies have a clear view of their processes and how they are aligned.
Having a transparent outline of processes allows the pinpointing of bottlenecks, redundant steps, and alignment mishaps. Moreover, a clear understanding of how things work enables the faster application of new resources into the process, resulting in quicker outcomes.
Efficiency of business process reengineering
All companies are constantly looking for opportunities to save costs, which can translate to ways to use resources more efficiently. Business processes reengineering is where a company identifies cost optimization possibilities without harming the quality of the result.
Optimization possibilities might bring in the potential launch of new initiatives. The core benefit is that if your people have time and opportunity to deal with more valuable activities and sophisticated problem solving, this will take your business further.
In times of economic turbulence, market needs change quickly, and customers require better products and services with high levels of reliability. This adds significant pressure for companies to adapt new ways of working quickly. Clarity of business processes and a defined understanding of customer demands enables quick fixes and speeds up the delivery of customer value.
In the modern business environment, there are very few companies whose businesses are not required to meet industry standards and follow legislation or internal compliance regulations. Fulfilling these requirements in business operations, in a way that doesn’t affect efficiency or agility, is the subject of reviewing business processes that need to apply or deliver in accordance with the compliance rules.
The perception of product or service quality comes from design and customer experience. Quality standards stand at the core of the delivery process of products or services and are under constant quality assurance monitoring and are the subject of ongoing improvements. Continuous improvements are to sustain and/or evolve performance standards requirements necessary to better respond to customer expectations and market or technology changes.
Where to start with BPR?
The very first step is to define what you want to achieve:
- Do you want to reduce the cost of production?
- Do you want to pay extra attention to quality?
- Do you need to apply regulatory requirements to your business?
The second step is to determine whether what you want to achieve is something that is primarily dependent on your business processes? Probably it is, since processes define how a business operates.
Take the core process attached to this need and don’t forget the dependencies with connected processes.
Is BPR risky?
BPR is also a complex and risky undertaking that requires careful planning, execution, and monitoring. Many BPR initiatives fail to achieve their desired outcomes or encounter serious challenges. From my experience, the following apply:
Lack of clear vision and goals
An initial step in a BPR project is establishing a clear vision and objectives that align with the organization’s strategy, customer demands, and competitive edge. The absence of such clarity could result in a loss of direction and stakeholder support. To mitigate this, the vision and objectives should be transparently and regularly communicated to all parties, serving as a compass for decision-making and assessment.
Resistance to change
BPR entails drastic alterations to an organization’s existing processes, roles, and culture, potentially triggering fear and resistance among stakeholders. Such opposition can compromise the project by causing delays and conflicts. To circumvent this, stakeholder involvement in design and implementation is crucial, as is providing proper training and addressing concerns. Additionally, articulating the advantages of the new processes and commemorating milestones can facilitate acceptance and success.
Insufficient resources and capabilities
BPR demands substantial resources, including time, funds, technology, and expertise. Such projects often grapple with resource limitations, affecting pace and quality. For instance, the BPR team might lack adequate time for a comprehensive analysis of the essential skills for problem-solving. A thorough pre-assessment of resources and capabilities is advisable to mitigate these issues. The team should also focus on critical tasks, allocate resources judiciously, and seek external assistance when necessary.
Poor communication and coordination
BPR engages diverse stakeholders—employees, managers, customers, suppliers, and partners—each with unique viewpoints and expectations. It also necessitates cross-functional collaboration and systems integration. Effective communication and coordination are thus critical for BPR success. Inadequate communication can result in misunderstandings, errors, and conflicts, endangering the project. The BPR team should establish transparent, regular communication channels using consistent language and terms to counter this. Clearly defining stakeholder roles and monitoring project performance are also essential.
Unrealistic expectations and assumptions
BPR is a complex venture fraught with assumptions and uncertainties. For instance, the BPR team might presume immediate benefits, customer acceptance, or flawless execution of new processes. These assumptions may prove unfounded, causing disappointment and dissatisfaction. The team should rigorously validate assumptions and employ data-backed decision-making to mitigate such risks. Additionally, setting and clearly communicating realistic objectives to stakeholders is imperative.
Inadequate monitoring and evaluation
BPR is an ongoing, dynamic activity demanding consistent scrutiny to assure effectiveness, efficiency, and quality. Often, BPR initiatives fall short in establishing sufficient monitoring and evaluation, limiting feedback and opportunities for refinement. Without such oversight, the BPR team may fail to spot and rectify emerging issues, risks, or gaps. To counter this, the team should employ relevant metrics and indicators for performance tracking. They should also gather and examine stakeholder feedback for subsequent process adjustments.
Things to acknowledge before beginning BPR
Risks of business process reengineering
When implementing BPR, a company should consider the possible impact of changing current processes. A redesign means that something will change, something or somebody will act differently in the process, and the impact chain may also affect other dependent processes and actors. Work through the entire process chain and use change management throughout the project.
Costs of business process reengineering
Every change companies make is an investment into a better future of the organization. Buying in services and technology is one kind of cost which is clear and visible. But another cost, sometimes is not considered, is your own people’s time. Your people will be involved in analyzing the current state, planning the future, and implementing the changes.
Usually, the costs will be already estimated in the beginning of the project.
- What is the total cost of the change?
- Is this change worth pursuing?
- Can you afford it?
It’s obvious that time is money. Very often we recognize the need for change when it’s too late. For that there are high expectations already before the BPR project starts and outcomes are expected and desired to take place ASAP.
- How big is the change we are striving for? Is it complex?
- Does it involve many people in the organization?
- Does it depend on any external factors?
- Is it one process or does it involve several processes?
- Is this a realistic expectation?
BPR is complex and requires time and resources.
From our experience working with clients from various industries over 27 years, we have solved challenges that re-engineering processes bring. We have analyzed and designed more efficient business processes that took various companies further. We can do the same for you. Share your challenge with us.
Receive our weeky newsletter! Inspiring ideas that are worth your time