Business Process Re-Engineering

Organizations in today’s context are fighting to survive and excel in the present business environment. Globalization of business has created a situation where only those firms can remain in business which keep pace with the changing business environment. The pressure of competition is such great that if the companies do not take hard decisions to improve the performance, they will be out from the market scene. Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) commonly known as BPR is intended to achieve dramatic improvement in the performance of the firm by systematic and extensive examining the cross-functional business processes, organization structure, and human resource utilization. The focus is on the performance and information technology adopted by the firm. BPO is not a piece meal approach but tries to tackle all the areas together in an integrated manner.

Many people think that mere restructuring the organization or reducing the manpower is re-engineering. Similarly, computerization or automating certain functions is not re-engineering. Re-engineering is much more than this, in which initiatives are taken at the top most level of the organization. One of the important strategies in re-engineering is to realign the information system of the organization by incorporating the latest development in information technology. One such example is video conferencing. Managers and executives working at different locations and in different parts of the world get together for video conferencing on a fixed time for discussing important organizational issues, strategies, problem solving or alternative options to achieve business goals. Video conferencing has become very popular in most of the global, multi-national and even in multi-unit organizations and has changed the pace of decision making in the organizations. It has enabled organizations to save on their logistics costs as the executives need not physically travel from one place to another and yet achieve the best results with timely support from peers, superiors and subordinates.

BPR looks for the drastic improvements rather than inching improvements and tries to redesign the core business processes. Speed in achieving the results is an important consideration in re-engineering the business processes. All efforts are made to incorporate value added business process, policies and the changes in the organizational structure which helps in optimizing the flow of work and add to productivity of the organization.  BPR concurrently attempts significant improvements in quality, speed, service and cost. BPR focusses on organizational strategies and vision for the desired change. The important tools for doing all this is the use of new methods and developments in the information technology. In the past management was satisfied with incremental improvements in performance and was very happy if it is able to achieve 20-30% gains. BPR has raised the bar and management looks for far more gains which can result in 5 to 10 times in comparison to earlier targets of 20-30% only.

For achieving such exciting results, management critically review the competitive business environment and the strategies of its competitors both existing competitors as well as new emerging competitors, who can pose serious threats to the business strategies of the organization. Organization analyses and targets its past, present and the potential new customers. It tries to understand what has been responsible for satisfying the needs of customers and what has been responsible for losing some of its customer base. Strategies are developed to gain the customers who have gone to others, retain the existing customers and attract the new customers. Management looks for the changes required in the organization, processes and policies to achieve the results. All this cannot be achieved without the support, commitment and involvement of the stakeholders of the organization. Re-engineering is one of the most sought for management tools to improve the performance.

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