Business Process Re-Engineering…Improves - CiteHR
Vice President - Human Resources
Human Resource
Seema Singh
Hr-education Industry

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Business Process Re-Engineering…Improves Communications And Fosters Teamwork

What is business process re-engineering?

Business must constantly improve, and improvement requires change. How the change is to be brought in is the question, and not whether to change. Again there is very little choice.

Cutting costs by cutting budgets and trying to reduce work force has been attempted. Introducing quality programmes to existing business processes has also been tried. These methods have failed to provide more than very short-term solutions. The new approach is RE-ENGINEERING. You look at the current business as if the business is being started afresh. REVIEW the past AND RELOOK into the present REPOSITION for the future. Everything is RE. This entire new approach is now known as Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

What does BPR do?

REASSESSES – your business purpose

REPOSITION -- for greater market penetration

RECONFIGURE – for smoother workflow

RESTRUCTURE – so that jobs match reality

REVITALISE – for ongoing competitiveness

Like all new activities, it has been given wide variety of names, including streamlining, transformation, and restructuring. However, regardless of the name, the goal is almost, always the same: increased ability to compete through cost reduction. The recent surge of BPR efforts is not based on invention of new management techniques. Industrial engineering, time and motion studies, managerial economics, operations research and systems analysis have all been

concerned with business process for several decades. The new emphasis is due almost entirely to the recent recognition of an increasing need to compete in order for a business to succeed or even survive. The most visible result of these changes is the decline of long established businesses.

Some actually have failed completely, and it is probable that more will do so. Examples come to mind are General Motors and IBM. The pressure to change is real. It is recognised, and it is taken seriously.

The term “re-engineering” may be a misnomer. It implies that the business processes were engineered in the first place. However most business processes are products of complex series of deliberate decisions and informal evolution. They are not engineered in the sense of a design being created by professionals and the process being built to the designers specifications.


It has been found that seven capabilities must be part of re-engineering to make it succeed.

1. The ability to conduct re-engineering in accordance with a comprehensive, systematic methodology

2. Coordinated management of change for all the affected business functions

3. The ability to assess, plan and implement change on a continuing basis

4. The ability to analyse the full impact of proposed changes

5. The ability to model and stimulate the proposed changes

6. The ability to use these models on continuing basis

7. The ability to associate all of the management parameters of the company with each other

Without all seven of these capabilities, re-engineering becomes difficult to manage and unpredictable, as well as being restricted to delivering only a small fraction of its potential benefits.

Both positioning and re-engineering are flexible enough to be used for either an entire enterprise or part of one. There is no upper limit on the size of business to which BPR can be applied.

Re-engineering requires expertise in HR, industrial engineering and economic

marketing, finance, technologies and of course, the specific work being performed.

An insight into the efforts of a leading company to improve continuously

One of the important ways of improving quality in organisations is the use of systematic quality programmes. After achieving benefits from one quality programme, companies move on and adopt others to improve continuously. This article focuses on the efforts of Boots Company Limited (BTC) to improve continuously by using tools like benchmarking and then moving on to Business Process Re-engineering (BPR).

Benchmarking is defined as a systematic and continuous measurement process of measuring and comparing an organisation’s business processes against those of business process leaders. Through this, the organisation learns about best practices and takes action to improve its own performance. Benchmarking can be in the form of internal benchmarking, competitive benchmarking, generic or strategic benchmarking.

BPR involves the fundamental re-thinking and radical re-design of business processes along with radical operational changes through the application of enabling technology to achieve significant improvements in the critical measures of performance like cost, quality, service, productivity and speed. Studies reveal that most companies adopt BPR for two basic reasons.

External pressure on the organisation from fast changing customer demands, competitors, changing industry and market conditions and governmental regulations.

Internal factors like the need to improve technology or automate, to reduce costs and increase efficiency and the need to redefine strategic re-focus of the organisation.

The main philosophy of BPR is that by redesigning the critical core processes of an organisation, it can achieve breakthrough improvements in performance to gain the competitive edge in the global market place.

The Boots Company, (BTC) is a leading retailing company based in the UK for over 100 years. Its other business areas include manufacturing and marketing of health and personal care products and management of retail property. BTC has further diversified into insurance and home shopping in recent years. The company continuously strives to understand changing markets and accommodate changes in its business processes to succeed since it has overseas branches in many countries.

BTC took up an internal benchmarking study between 1200 stores to identify and transfer best practices and ensure efficient and effective operation of all its stores. BTC gave its store managers the autonomy to judge and decide whether the ideas gathered during the process of benchmarking were applicable to their regional practices. Some of the internal best practices circulated among the stores after the benchmarking project were well received and used. Implementing some of the best practices from others helped many stores to improve their customer service.

The next approach: BPR

BTC next took up BPR to review its internal operations and determine how it could improve its operations. It aimed to bring people together and break down barriers. Tremendous efforts were made in team building. Workshops were conducted and employees from various functional departments were involved.

Work groups were formed to analyse every retail process and look for improvement opportunities. Some of the activities were identified as non-value added and were stopped. Other processes were simplified or automated. Through all these activities, BTC improved in-store space utilisation to gain the most profitable effects, improved relationships with suppliers, improved the operations of in-house warehouses and also the management of its promotional campaigns. This was in addition to increased efficiency and customer service.

Factors that led to successful BPR at BTC were:

1. Commitment and support of top management towards the project

2. The acceptance of BPR principles throughout the organisation and involvement of all processes.

The implementation of BPR at BTC helped it to make wide-ranging and dramatic changes in its culture and attitudes. Keeping pace with the fast changing market and technological revolutions is a challenging task. Organisations must learn to carefully adopt improvement techniques that help them to succeed in this race to be the best.

Good article! Just to relate more to this aspect, could you also give examples of how this concept or parts of this concept are being practiced in the Indian scenario? Regards seema singh
Hi Seema Singh
You want to know success stories or failure stories??
There are more failure stories ( and I have been part of one such failure) than success . The reason for these failures is nothing to do with the concept itself. Mostly the reasons could be attributed to misunderstanding this concept.
BPR involves , invariably, high capital.
And this has to be implemented very fast.
If you are ready with your plans for reengineering a process and if you could not mobilise funds immediately, the entire exercise is a waste. You can not implement the same plan after one year.
With all the abilities listed in the article, you must also add the most important ability::: the ability to mobilise funds for reengineering.

well thats a good article....
just to quote an example of it...the article reminds me of my summer training at hutch digilink(now vodafone) in rajasthan.
the topic of our summer training was " micro process reengineering ", a group of 10-12 students were given some 40-50 small projects for example projects related to network coverage, quality of value added services and customer response etc. The response were analysed and were given to the quality head and yes many of the small processes got reengineered.

Dear Ankur That could be Kaizen You must differentiate between Kaizen and Reengineering Siva
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