Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR) is the Business Process Redesign methodology that came from the seminal book, Re-Engineering the Corporation by Michael Hammer and James Champy. It swept through corporations in the 1990’s and is still relevant today. BPR addresses the crisis many companies face as they grow, and as customer expectations increase; namely, process complexity and the failure of processes to meet customers’ needs.

BPR allows companies to start with a blank sheet of paper and rethink existing processes to deliver more value to the customer. It follows some basic principles including:

  • Don’t improve work-flow, eliminate work
  • Adopt technology to eliminate work
  • Customers should have a single point of contact that can be reached quickly and easily
  • Leverage centralization to improve consistency, utilization and responsiveness of customer service

Business Process Re-Engineering Steps

  1. BPR Team: BPR requires a cross functional team of employees and if possible customers and suppliers. The team can expect to be fully committed to this project for months, which will include analysis, design and implementation.
  2. Future State Mapping: BPR involves mapping the desired process by following the principles discussed above. The cross-functional team will reach-out to subject-matter-experts (SMEs) to make sure critical steps are not overlooked.
  3. Adopt Technology: The future state design is then reviewed for technology requirements. This can involve customizations of ERP systems, adopting ERP modules that were not used, or purchasing bolt-on systems. This is also often the longest step in the implementation of BPR.
  4. Testing: Like any systems design the re-engineered process must be tested. Fortunately many ERP systems allow for testing parallel environments that don’t affect the actual process, to see if the design team has missed any critical steps.
  5. Communication and Training: The re-engineered process must be communicated to the entire company with training on process and system changes.

Business Process Re-Engineering Examples

There are many great examples of re-engineered processes from companies large and small. Below are three examples of how BPR has changed entire business functions.