A business is not a static being. Your company is constantly evolving as the market you serve changes from day to day and year to year. There’s also the constant competition to worry about. If you’re not keeping up with the market, you’re falling behind while losing money and customers along the way. How you choose to tackle might come down to if you want to re engineer your business process.
You may have an excellent product, but how do you ensure that your marketing is reaching customers? Do you know if your target customer base has changed? Have there been shifts in the marketing styles of your industry? Is it time to modernize some of your business practices? Are there elements of your work procedures that could be streamlined or automated? How do you consistently make sure you’re standing out from the competition in the ever-changing market?
These are common questions to ask yourself about your business. They can be answered by using a proven process. A re-engineer can make your business more effective. This article will define business re-engineering and describe how you can use it in your company.
What Is Business Process Re-engineering?
The bottom line of business is the same, no matter the industry. Your goal as a profit or non-profit organization is to sell value to customers. Anything your business invests time or money in should add value to the final outcome and reduce costs. That is, your company should always be striving to make its product or service more valuable.
So, what is business process re-engineering, and how do these elements apply to that definition? When you choose to use a process to re-engineer your business, you’re doing it to add value to your product, to become more efficient, and reduce costs. By looking at your business through the lens of business process reengineering (BPR), you’re taking stock of four elements of successful outcome delivery. These elements are the customer, competition, cost, and change. A good BPR will effectively address the constantly changing market and help maintain business practices that will help you become more profitable while standing up against the competition.
Misconceptions About BPR
Business process re-engineering is a fairly new concept in company management. Popularized by Michael Hammer in 1990 with his article for Harvard Business Review “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate” business re-engineering has been used by nearly every Fortune 500 company to improve their work systems.
Although the title of Hammer’s article may make most assume that BPR is about downsizing your company, this is not true. There are situations where there is no need to downsize or automate your workplace. However, what Hammer argues in this article is that many employee positions and even automated tasks at your business may not be adding any value to the final product. Thus, they don’t offer value to the customer. The idea with BPR is to identify all the aspects of your business and uncover what is not serving your bottom line.
The Techniques of BPR
If you’re still interested in using a process re-engineer to improve your businesses, there are some perspective techniques you’ll need to use as you analyze your business going forward.
Make sure you organize your business going forward with outcomes as your focus, not the tasks that make the outcomes.
As you begin thinking about a work process re-engineer, make sure to redesign your system with the most urgent tasks as the highest priority tasks. This will help ensure that your outcomes become the highest priority in your business structure.
Ensure that all information you learn while identifying work processes becomes information you can use later in the execution of that work.
Even if you have resources dispersed across a wide area, act as if they were all centralized for better planning and effective use of those resources.
Isolating work processes and only incorporating results can mean that your work processes are redundant or inefficient. Tie together similar kinds of work and improve communication and increase efficiency.
Performance Is Key
When it comes to making decisions about work processes and employees, let the performance speak for itself. Always prioritize performance when building new workflows as well.
The most accurate information will come from the source. Get the truth and get it the first time by identifying areas you need to address and getting your information from the data and employees who work directly with that area.
These techniques help you examine your business with a critical eye. It helps you learn how to prioritize production and outcomes while making your workplace more effective. These techniques will also help you identify unnecessary elements of production, help you remove useless systems, and help you make a company-wide information resource that may replace some management for software.
How to Do a Process Re-engineer Effectively
Now, it’s a little overwhelming to go over all the techniques. This is especially true if you’re not already familiar with the practices of a BPR-trained manager and the methods they use to identify and fix problems in your business. While procedures in each business will vary slightly from company to company and in different industries, there are some basic strategies anyone can use to employ the BPR mindset in your business. This comes in four stages of management.
The Four Basic Steps of BPR
There are four steps that should be followed in each BPR process.
Step 1: Identify the Problem
The first step to solving any problem is admitting there is one. And the first step to solving a problem in a business is figuring out where the issues are occurring. Depending on the business and the goals, this task may need to address early or late production issues.
The second phase of step one is communicating the need for change to others. Often, production problems are stopping your business from being more productive or are causing unnecessary losses for the company. This should be communicated to the leaders or be understood by the owner so that change can be enacted.
Sometimes market research or an investigation into the company processes may be necessary to ensure that addressing this problem will make the business more profitable.
Step 2: Select a Team
After identifying a problem and communicating why it needs to be solved, you need to gather qualified individuals who will help address and solve these problems.
Oftentimes, you’ll need to tie in senior management to lead or supervise the project to ensure that an effective solution for your problems is discovered. This person will understand the value of pursuing this problem, and help with managing the budget.
The operations manager is also a useful addition to a team looking to solve the problem. The operations manager understands the day-to-day workings of the business. They can help a BPR manager delve into the root cause of problems while also identifying innovative solutions that fit the unique needs of your workplace.
You may need other managers or employees to truly understand where the workflow issues are coming from and how they can be addressed using the BPR techniques. Putting the right team together is as important as identifying the right problem. A good team will be innovative and willing to cooperate and offer unbiased opinions about the situation. However, they should also be enthusiastic and willing to help improve operations.
Step 3: Discover the Inefficient Processes and Outline Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Finding a process—or making a solution for an identified process—won’t do your business any good if you are not aware of the cross-department effects the new system may have. By keeping your KPI in mind while you make solutions, you’ll avoid costly mistakes that may cause even more disruption to the business than the original problem.
In this stage, figure out how long it will take to employ the solution your team has come up with. Understand if your IT department will be able to effectively handle any software you may wish to use as a solution. In manufacturing, you may have to identify how your new process may affect change over time.
Keeping these issues in mind will help you ensure that your solution will be effective.
Step 4: Perform Solutions
In this step, you take all the knowledge you’ve uncovered in the previous phases. You’ve addressed issues with your team of professionals and understood the problem you’re trying to fix. You’ve had to develop several strategies for fixing these inefficient or costly processes and now you have to put them to test.
Try out solutions on a small scale first. Monitor your experiment to ensure you see the right results before applying them to an entire department or company.
Using a Business Prosses Re-engineer System for Your Business
Learning how to use a business process to re-engineer your business is essential to staying on top of the market. The most successful business doesn’t keep the same policies and procedures if they no longer serve the company and give value to the customer. Using the business process re-engineering cycle can help keep your business constantly evolving and make it even more profitable in the long term.