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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

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(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:


  • Originally conceptualized by Michael Hammer in 1990 in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • Processes consist of both, value adding activities and non-value adding activities. There is no point in automating such a process by using any technology. All you will end up doing is: doing the non-value adding activities of the process faster, which is no improvement. Rather, it will be detrimental to the organization.
  • Therefore, think of the processes without any non-value adding activities before automating them by using technologies.
  • This would necessitate giving a fresh look to how you design your processes (technical processes, business processes etc) and substituting the exiting processes with brand new processes. In doing so, do not just tinker with the existing process and try to improve it incrementally but design an entirely different highly effective process with no non-value adding components.

Definitions of BPR

BPR- in General Sense

  • Business as process (the way you pay, the way you sell)
  • How it works
  • How it should work
  • What is wrong with it
  • Improve upon it
  • Move around that loop

BPR- Technical Definition

  • Fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of processes with dramatic improvements.
  • Dramatic improvements, particularly in critical success factors (CSFs) like quality enhancement, cost reduction, service improvement and lead time/cycle time reduction.
  • Key words are : Radical (going back to the roots or heart of the things), Dramatic (quantum leap improvements) and Process (not tasks, not clusters but end to end work like developing a product, fulfilling a customer order).

BPR - The Plain Definition

  • Forgetting how you worked in the past.
  • Start with a clean slate, green field.
  • Inventing new ways of working to meet the day’s realities rather than yesterday’s.

Main Issues

  • Focus on process: Reengineering involves looking at the whole of a process; customers, competitors, environment, human resources.
  • Radical change: Reengineering means radical and often painful change.
  • Commitment and leadership: Reengineering must come from the top. The leaders must inspire a commitment to change throughout the organization.
  • Focus on the customers: Reengineering is not just about changing internal processes; it means focusing externally on the customer.
  • Human resources: Human resources are the most vital aspects of reengineering.

BPR & Human Resources

  • Preparedness and commitment of the leadership.
  • Preparedness and involvement of all the people.
  • Create awareness : lot of training.
  • Communication : intense and extensive.
  • HRD in new technology and skills.
  • HRD in change management skills

HR Implications of BPR

  • Managing resistance to change.
  • Restructuring and reorganization.
  • Delayering; flat organization.
  • Downsizing; redeploying people.
  • New technologies
  • New skills.
  • Non-value adding areas exposed.
  • Power shifts.

Required Leadership

  • Leader of reengineering: committed, has authority.
  • Understanding of nature and magnitude of change by the leader.
  • Leader’s vision: what kind of organization he wishes to create.
  • Ready to exercise leadership.
  • Leader ready to commit resources and personal attention.
  • Entire senior management team shares leader’s enthusiasm for BPR.

Organizational Readiness

  • People of the organization recognize the need for BPR.
  • They have customer orientation.
  • They understand multidimensional change in processes, jobs, structure, responsibilities etc due to BPR.
  • People don’t have arrogance and complacency due to the past successes.
  • Free of skepticism, mistrust and ambivalence that follow BPR.
  • Has human resources to implement and presence of receptive environment.


  • Are people comfortable with the way BPR proceeds: risk-taking, learning and ambiguity?
  • Will they feel empowered to break the rules and to challenge long-standing assumptions in company?
  • Reengineering effort is directed at key business processes rather than organizational units/departments (process orientation).


  1. Envision new processes: reengineering opportunities, management support, enabling technologies, alignment with company strategies.
  2. Initiate change: form reengineering team, decide performance goals.
  3. Study existing process: to uncover and diagnose problems.
  4. Redesign the process: think of alternative processes, select the most appropriate one, develop it, select technologies (including IT), consider HR issues, get feedback.
  5. Reconstruct the process: Finalize the process design and associated IT solution.
  6. Implement: Before implementation get an explicit buy-in from all the concerned.
  7. Monitor the process: keep a tract of performance of the process against it's performance goals and integrate a built-in continuous improvement mechanism.

Role of Reengineering Consultants

  • Consultants are the key people who create the right ambiance to generate ideas, raise fundamental questions and finally focus on what process to choose for reengineering and how to go about doing it. In achieving this focus exercise, they bring in their experience with them.
  • Reengineering involves questioning fundamentals. It is often difficult and embarrassing for an inside man to do it freely and objectively. On the contrary, the reengineering consultants, by virtue of their expertise and experience manage to win a special licence to ask naive sounding questions which will make senior managers of the organization reflect and think.
  • Since the consultants are keen on successful outcome of the project and benefits to the organization as a whole, their deliberations enable participants to place the interest of the organization ahead of their own personal interest. This is how the group is synergized and views get focused.
  • The consultants will be accepted as better and more effective trainers of reengineering concepts and practice.

Training Needed

Before implementing BPR interventions, it is utmost important to train organization's critical mass in BPR. The types of training organization's BPR consultants can provide are:

  • BPR awareness training to critical mass of the organization
  • Top management workshops
  • BPR training on its implementation stages/process to all the related persons
  • Focusing workshops of top/senior management

For Further Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Also refer: (Prodcons Group)
(Training Programs by Prodcons Group)
(Productivity Consultants)

Other Topics of Interest

All Management Topics (General Management, Marketing and Sales, Service, Operations/Manufacturing, Quality, Maintenance, Human Resources, Finance and Accounts, Information Technology, Life Management)

The topics are listed in alphabetic order:

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