A 7-Step Approach to a Successful Business Process Re-engineering

To get ahead in today’s business world, companies cannot simply settle for mediocre performance as long as they are still making a profit. They must continuously innovate and improve to stay competitive, especially in the face of constantly evolving markets and technological capabilities.

Sometimes, this requires a willingness to forgo the status quo and to take a hard look at how their business functions operate. This is essentially what business process re-engineering (BPR) entails. It’s about going back to the drawing board and breaking down every process and procedure in a company to its very core to find more efficient and effective ways of doing things.

What is Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)?

Business process re-engineering is a strategic management approach that aims to overhaul and redesign existing processes within an organization. The goal of BPR is to identify and implement changes to streamline operations, eliminate redundant or unnecessary activities and create a more agile, flexible business.

This involves analyzing existing workflows, pinpointing bottlenecks, and deploying innovative solutions to optimize operations and increase efficiency.

What’s the Difference Between BPR and Business Process Improvement (BPI)?

BPI and BPR may seem similar, but they are fundamentally different in their methodology. BPI tends to concentrate on making minor adjustments or tweaks to existing principles, aiming to enhance processes within defined boundaries.

It’s an incremental strategy that seeks to identify obstacles within a process and suggest changes to specific functionalities — all while upholding the current process framework.

On the other hand, BPR is more about breaking the mold and implementing significant changes. It doesn’t merely tinker with existing processes; instead, it adopts an unrestricted approach that challenges the status quo.

BPR often rejects established rules and embraces unconventional methods to revamp an organization’s processes from a top-down management perspective. In this way, it can trigger seismic shifts in how a business operates and bring about transformative results.

7 Steps to a Successful Business Process Re-engineering

Whether you plan to rely on the expertise of business consultants in the UAE or intend to carry out BPR internally, the process typically follows seven essential steps:

1. Determine the Reason for Change

BPR can be a large, challenging undertaking for most businesses. That’s why, before you start, it’s crucial to identify the reason why you want to implement it and determine if the BPR process is going to be worth your time and effort.

Ask yourself two essential questions: What is the end goal, and what would you like your business to achieve with this re-engineering process? Establishing a clear and definable objective is an excellent place to start, especially if the results will impact your team and you want to elicit their support and buy-in early on.

For example, as part of your BPR, you had to integrate a new data governance framework to safeguard your company’s sensitive information. This might involve training employees on the new protocol, updating the company’s documentation process and replacing old software systems that no longer align with the new process.

In defining your main BPR objective as reducing potential data breaches and enhancing security measures, you’re acting with purpose and sparking momentum from the outset.

2. Set Benchmarks and KPIs

Benchmarking your current processes against industry standards allows you to establish a baseline for their performance. With this, you can reevaluate their efficiency and start setting key performance indicators for every function to align with your new objectives.

For instance, if you’re a car manufacturer whose production volume currently stands at 500 daily units while the industry average is 600. In that case, you can examine factors like workers’ productivity, machine downtime, material waste, automation solutions and more to optimize production and achieve your target output. After this, you can confidently set new KPIs going forward.

3. Assemble your BPR Team

Because BPR typically happens on a high-level corporate scale, the team that carries out this task must comprise a cross-section of senior management, department heads, operations specialists and project managers — those who are familiar with how your business functions and understand the ins and outs of critical processes.

This team will be responsible for relaying your goals to the rest of your organization, distributing the tasks that need to be performed, synchronizing efforts across multiple departments and managing stakeholders’ expectations.

4. Map and Design the Future State

Examine your current processes and think you can change them to achieve your BPR goal. Here, you can use mapping techniques to create a visual representation of the workflows and procedures you have in place.

This will assist you in identifying the functions that add value and those that don’t so you can decide whether to retain viable parts of an existing workflow and apply changes that effectively overcome any inefficiencies within it or eliminate the process altogether.

5. Test the Changes on a Small Scale

Much like how a software company would roll out a beta version of its app before its official release, your BPR team should test their changes on a small scale within the company first and see how these new processes perform.

This step creates a safe space where mistakes can happen and allows your team to review and refine the changes before the new workflow is deployed to the entire organization.

6. Utilize Change Management Techniques

Most people are naturally averse to change, and BPR can bring enormous changes to workflows and established processes. The best way to mitigate employee resistance and prepare your team for what’s to come is to adopt change management principles.

This might involve communicating the business strategy behind the changes, conducting extensive training for employees, outlining new roles and responsibilities, being empathic, allowing feedback and providing support to team members throughout the transition.

7. Monitor Progress

Once you’ve enacted your BPR solutions, you must monitor and measure your organization’s progress against the newly established KPIs. At this stage, it’s also important to maintain contact with key team members from your business operations to stay informed on how the new process is working and if you need to make any further adjustments.

BPR: A Catalyst for Impactful Change

BPR can be a powerful tool for organizations that want to thrive and drive meaningful change. It challenges conventional thinking and opens new possibilities for growth, efficiency and productivity. If you’re about to embark on a BPR project, know that you’ve taken the first step towards future-proofing your business and laying a solid foundation for sustainable success.