Business Process Reengineering
(BPR)

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Fundamentally reconsidering and radically redesigning of organizational processes. Explanation of Business Process Reengineering of Hammer and Champy.

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Business Process ReengineeringThe Business Process Reengineering method (BPR) is described by Hammer and Champy as 'the fundamental reconsideration and the radical redesign of organizational processes, in order to achieve drastic improvement of current performance in cost, services and speed'.


Rather than organizing a firm into functional specialties (like production, accounting, marketing, etc.) and to look at the tasks that each function performs, Hammer and Champy recommend that we should look at complete processes. From materials acquisition, towards production, towards marketing and distribution. One should rebuild the firm into a series of processes.
 

Value creation for the customer is the leading factor for BPR and information technology often plays an important enabling role. Compare: Relationship Marketing

 

Michael Hammer and James Champy

The main proponents of re-engineering were Michael Hammer and James Champy. In a series of books including Reengineering the Corporation, Reengineering Management, and The Agenda, they argue that far too much time is wasted, passing on tasks from one department to another. They claim that it is far more efficient to appoint a team who perform all the tasks in the process.


A five step approach to Business Process Reengineering

Davenport (1992) prescribes a five-step approach to the Business Process Reengineering model:

  1. Develop the business vision and process objectives: The BPR method is driven by a business vision which implies specific business objectives such as cost reduction, time reduction, output quality improvement.
  2. Identify the business processes to be redesigned: most firms use the 'high-impact' approach which focuses on the most important processes or those that conflict most with the business vision. A lesser number of firms use the 'exhaustive approach' that attempts to identify all the processes within an organization and then prioritize them in order of redesign urgency.
  3. Understand and measure the existing processes: to avoid the repeating of old mistakes and to provide a baseline for future improvements. Compare: Scientific Management
  4. Identify IT levers: awareness of IT capabilities can and should influence BPR.
  5. Design and build a prototype of the new process: the actual design should not be viewed as the end of the BPR process. Rather, it should be viewed as a prototype, with successive iterations. The metaphor of prototype aligns the Business Process Reengineering approach with quick delivery of results, and the involvement and satisfaction of customers.

As an additional 6th step of the BPR method, sometimes you find: to adapt the organizational structure, and the governance model, towards the newly designed primary process.


Generic Circumstances that influence whether BPR is advisable

Although it is difficult to give generic advice about this, some factors that can be considered are:

  • Does the competition clearly outperform the company? Compare: Turnaround Management
  • Are there many conflicts in the organization?
  • Is there an extremely high frequency of meetings?
  • Excessive use of non-structured communication? (memos, emails, etc)
  • Is it possible to consider a more continuous approach of gradual, incremental improvements? (see: Kaizen).

Critics of the BPR approach

Reengineering has earned a bad reputation because such projects have often resulted in massive layoffs. In spite of the hype that surrounded the introduction of Business Process Reengineering, partially due to the fact that the authors of Reengineering the Corporation reportedly bought huge numbers of copies to reach the top of the bestseller lists, the method has not entirely lived up to its expectations. The main reasons seem to be that:

  • BPR assumes that the factor that limits organization's performance is the ineffectiveness of its processes. This may or may not always be true. Also BPR offers no means to validate this assumption.
  • BPR assumes the need to start the process of performance improvement with a "clean slate", i.e. totally disregard the status quo.
  • BPR does not provide an effective way to focus the improvement efforts on the organization's constraints. (As done by Goldratt in the Theory of Constraints).
  • Sometimes, or maybe quite often, a gradual and incremental change (such as Kaizen) may be a better approach.
  • BPR is culturally biased towards the US way of thinking. (see: Cultural Dimensions)

BPR compared to Kaizen

When Kaizen is compared with the BPR method is it clear the Kaizen philosophy is more people-oriented, more easy to implement, but requires long-term discipline and provides only a small pace of change. The Business Process Reengineering approach on the other hand is harder, technology-oriented, it enables radical change but it requires considerable change management skills.


Book: Hammer and Champy - Reengineering the Corporation -

Book: Davenport - Process Innovation -


Business Process Reengineering Forum
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  BPR - Time Reduction versus Cost
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  Deterministic Machines Concept in BPR
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  Developing a Standard Framework for BPR
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  Is BPR Helping ERP or is ERP Helping BPR?
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  Cases and Causes of BPR Failure / BPR Disasters
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  Alignment of BPR and IT Solution Approach
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  BPR Works only Top-Down
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  Cases of Successful BPR Implementation / BPR Success Stories
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  Maintaining the Quality of a BPR Programme
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  Personal Business Process Reengineering?
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  Business Process Reengineering = People
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  BPR Through E-Governance Initiatives
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  Business Process Reengineering in Agriculture
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  BPR is Like A Pipeline Through Pour Water
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  BPR is not an End, but a Means
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Best Practices - Business Process Reengineering Premium
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Expert Tips - Business Process Reengineering Premium
 

Comparison Kaizen vs. Innovation

In 1992, A. Meckel made this useful comparison of ...
Usage (application): Appreciate the Differences...
 
 
 

List of Reasons for Business Process Reengineering Failure

Re-engineering usually fails due to 15 main rea...
Usage (application): BPR Implementation, BPR Pitfalls
 
 
 

Success Factors of BPR

Abdolvand et al. (2008) mention five factors that ...
Usage (application): BPR Best Practices, BPR Implementation
 
 
 

Comprehensive Step by Step BPR Approach

In their article “Business Process Reengineering: ...
Usage (application): Generic Business Process Reengineering Methodology
 
 
 

BPR Guidelines by Hammer

MIT Professor Michael Hammer has been identified a...
Usage (application): BPR Implementation Best Practices
 
 
 

How to Re-engineer the Process Flow?

The process flow re-engineering phase in BPR canno...
Usage (application): Guidelines and Ideas for Process Redesign
 
 
 

Leadership Strategies for Change

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Usage (application): Initiate, implement, develop and sustain change
 
 
 

Using Appreciative Inquiry to Improve Business Processes

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Usage (application): Alternate Approach
 
 
 

Innovating Bottom-up or Top-down

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Business Processes by Goal

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Usage (application): BPM Categories, BPM Types, BPM Classification
 
 
 

BPR Key Success Factors

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Usage (application): BPR, Best Practices
 
 
 

Morris & Brandon's BPR View

Among the most recent scholars who added authorita...
Usage (application): Organizational Change
 
 
 

Harrington's Business Process Redesign

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Business Processes by the Way they Develop

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Usage (application): BPM Categories, BPM Types, BPM Classification
 
 
 

Comparison TQM and BPR | Comparing Total Quality Management versus Business Process Reengineering

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Similarities in TQM a...
Usage (application): Learn form the Differences...
 
 
 

Supply Chain Processes to Consider

Critical value chain activities where various proc...
Usage (application): Business Process Redesign, Supply Chain Management
 
 
 

Business Processes by Focus Area

Depending on their focus, we can distinguish 4 typ...
Usage (application): BPM Categories, BPM Types, BPM Classification
 
 
 

Types of Change. Classification

Organizational change varies along at least to dim...
Usage (application): Change Management, Organizational Change, Expected/Unexpected Change, Incremental/Radical Change
 
 
 

Davenport's BPR Approach

Hammer's and Champy's original BPR concept, testif...
Usage (application): BPR Implementation
 
 
 

How to Lead an Innovation Team

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Usage (application): Best Practices, Innovation Team Management
 
 
 

Process Analysis and Diagnosis Techniques and Tools

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Remember to Focus your Improvement Efforts?

Very often organizations consider continuous impro...
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The Role of IT in Business Process Reengineering

Information technology (IT) plays an important rol...
Usage (application): BPR, IT
 
 
 

The Process Vision

A business process is a set of interrelated activi...
Usage (application): Process Approaches, Organizational Development, Organizational Change
 
 
 

Typical Improvements by Leveraging Information Technology

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The Human Factor in BPR and Continuous Improvement

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Resources - Business Process Reengineering Premium

In-depth Overview of Business Process Reengineering

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How Businesses can Use Information Technology (IT) in Strategic Ways

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22 Best Practices in Change Management

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BPR Implementation in Europe

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The Importance of Noncustomers

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Interview Hammer: Why Business Process Redesign?

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BPR Diagram

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3-Minute Summary of BPR

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Compare BPR with:  Outsourcing  |  Change Phases  |  Catastrophe Theory  |  Organic Organization  |  Core Group Theory  |  Appreciative Inquiry  |  Positive Deviance  |  Forget Borrow Learn  |  Planned Behavior  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Kaizen  |  Value Engineering  |  Value Stream Mapping  |  Change Management  |  Six Change Approaches  |  Managing for Value  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Eight Attributes of Management Excellence  |  Five Disciplines  |  Ten Principles of Reinvention  |  Fourteen Points of Management  |  Blue Ocean Strategy  |  Bottom of the Pyramid


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