There are times in a business where everything seems to be going alright and when the time comes to make some changes and optimize processes, the fear of failure inhibits you from moving forward. This is how most businesses become stunted after a while or eventually fold with changing times.
The concept of Business process re-engineering (BPR) was introduced to avoid this downward spiral. It came about in the 1990s; it basically refers to the process of analyzing and redesigning existing workflows to draw further optimization. A successful BPR strategy results in cost-effective, highly productive, and scalable businesses.
BPR & BPM
Most time business process re-engineering is confused with business process management. However, they are fundamentally different. BPM deals with managing the existing workflows without completely changing their behavior or utility.
However, BPR gets to the root of the issue. It causes core changes in the processes. It might even render some processes obsolete and create new ones.
BPM affects the internal workforce and flow of the business while BPR is an endeavor to reinvent the customer experience in a much better way than what was possible before.
BPR & BPI
Business process Improvement might seem the same as business process re-engineering, however, their basic principality differs significantly. BPI accepts the existing conventions or procedures, it only attempts to tweak a few screws here and there in order to ‘improve’ the existing system.
BPR, on the other hand, accepts that it is now time to reject the convention and come up with a brand new way of running the system; thus the term ‘re-engineering. It scraps the old and builds it anew.
BPR & CI
CI, continuous improvement, this is something that subsumes the concept of BPR. BPR is a process of making your business better and relevant to the dynamics of the market and the consumer base. This is a never-ending process and that is effectively the premise of continuous improvement or CI.
Both these terms reflect an effort to constantly improve products, services, and processes. They could lead to an overnight explosion of profits or a gradual climbing curve of success.
Now that we’ve established clarity regarding the basic principality of BPR, let us skim through some examples of a successful BPR strategy.
#1 Using business automation tools to automate operations and reduce turnaround time while increasing efficiency.
#2 Streamlining processes of recruitment, employee on-boarding, and off-boarding. This also helps in coordinating multiple departments effectively.
#3 Adopting optimal communication modes like automatic email triggers to fast track approvals and procedures.
#4 Inculcating the use of intelligent systems and smart digital practices. Investing in the latest tech to stay relevant in this digital era.
#5 Leveraging ‘no-code apps’ technology to boost customer experience and retainment.
These are some real-time examples of BPR techniques that companies followed in their quest for better businesses. There are many steps involved in the re-engineering process, however, they can be broadly grouped into four stages.
The first step is to identify the loopholes or any process downtimes that can be optimized. Everything from software, hardware, employees, customers, data, acquisitions, partnerships, and all aspects must be studied and observed scrupulously. The key is to gather information from all the stakeholders and to leave no stone unturned.
Upon procuring the necessary information, the next step is to analyze it. The idea is to validate the issues and look for solutions to address them. After reaching a conclusion regarding the processes that need to be re-engineered, you need to develop test cases and hypotheses to resolve them.
The next step is to bring the hypothesis to life. This is where re-engineering is revealed in actuality. Designing new systems to better the performance and identifying KPIs to enable assessment of the process are the key steps in the design stage.
Once, the system is designed and satisfies all the aspects of ‘re-engineering’, the next step is to implement it. This stage might pose some architectural and expertise challenges. However, such glitches can be avoided by educating all the stakeholders about the new process and constantly monitoring the KPIs.
After the final stage, timely evaluation is indispensable to continue the streak of re-engineering. As we can see, BPR is not a linear process, rather it is a loop, so, it is more than necessary that you evaluate and assess downtimes in your business even as you keep re-engineering.
However, the success of BPR doesn’t solely depend on the process. In fact, there are few factors for the process to be executed effectively. They are:
#1 A committed BPR team who possess the right expertise, understand the importance of re-engineering and are familiar with the intricacies of the process.
#2 Accurate Analysis of business needs. One cannot make bricks without clay, similarly, to be able to build new systems, proper analysis of the current ones is required.
#3 Availability of necessary infrastructure. The entire BPR process will be for naught if the infrastructure to run the re-engineered processes is absent.
#4 Effective change management. There are many drivers of ‘change’ like the evolution of tech, processes, the occurrence of unprepared crises, etc. which affect the employees as much as they do the business. So, effective change management deals with managing the cultural effect on the workforce due to the structural changes in the corporate landscape.
#5 Continuous Improvement. Lately, improvement is irrelevant if it is not consistent.
To wrap it up, BPR is confused with many things, the worst of all is downsizing, which is nowhere near what it stands for. BPR has led many organizations to the peak of their progress, however, it is also true that there are some that failed miserably. Owing to the complexity of the process, it is necessary to bear the factors and steps in mind as you scrupulously shape your business for the better.