Gone are the days when we used to hear ‘customer is the king’ as a company’s policy. While companies still have to lay emphasis on customer needs, there is even more focus on delivering value to other stakeholders (investors / management, employees, external product/service providers, society).
Technology takes over manual efforts, laws and regulations change, customers upgrade their needs, suppliers delay deliveries, competitors diversify, investors become demanding – these are some of the reasons why its time you had a look at your existing processes.
Business process reengineering (or BPR) entails revising your existing systems and processes to achieve improvements in productivity and quality, reduced processing times (or cycle times) and increase in value addition to stakeholders overall.
Depending on size, business activities and market scenarios, a BPR might be an intense change initiative or a simple implementation. It normally covers:
- de-layering your hierarchical organization structure into cross functional teams, or having a mix of both;
- using improved technologies;
- inclusion of dashboard-type-MIS reporting;
- taking into account internal and external issues;
- inclusion of risk management methodologies;
- realigning company values to all-stakeholder needs and expectations;
- partnering for mutual benefit, forward and backward in your value chain;
- linking performance (employee / supplier) more vividly to sustainability or devising methodologies for continual growth
A myth buster here is that BPR is not just for manufacturing or product oriented or B2C centric companies. BPR can be useful for service oriented or B2B centric companies as well. For any organization, cost reductions, productivity, improved processing / cycle times, repeat / retained customers are important. BPR helps achieve all of this.
A lack of re-evaluation of your processes, leads to stagnation or inability to keep up with changing market / customer needs and economic scenarios. Take the examples of Blackberry, Nokia, Kodak, Orkut. While some of these names are back in their game or somehow surviving, however, they lost on crucial time!
When going for BPR, companies could outsource this as a project to expert consultants. The benefit of outsourcing (over assigning an internal team or hiring a new executive), is the richness of their experience and bringing industry wide practical best practices to the table. This is besides the savings in costs of recruitment and retention of focus on core activities.
Key considerations when deciding to take on process revisions:
- Review the feasibility of a BPR project & return on investment
- Plan the implementation in phases & give each milestone time to sustain
- Have a strong test plan, back-out / exit plan – before & during implementation
- BPR is not for software developers alone, you need a management or business consultant on board who are an integration of finance, marketing, HR, IT, procurement and operations processes.