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BPR: key components and root causes that affect the process 

Sebastián Ruiz

9 minutes of reading

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With today’s highly competitive business environment, there is no room for inefficiency and weakness. Either companies undertake a BPR reengineering process and adapt it to today’s demands, or they will be at risk of being left behind. 

In our first blog about BPR, Business Process Reengineering, we talked about what process reengineering is and how this management model requires companies to take on drastic changes in terms of culture, transformation, and adaptation to achieve results related to competitiveness improvement, time cycle, quality, and cost reduction. 

Today, we will go even deeper into the subject, highlighting some important issues regarding situations where processes need to be redesigned or replaced, because they become obsolete and inefficient since they are not delivering the expected results. Considering that BPR (Business Process Reengineering) is not only applicable at an organization-wide level, but also in individual processes and segmented groups. Why does this happen?

Undertaking drastic changes is challenging for organizations. It is undeniable that BPR is related to change, being a continuous process that encourages companies to adjust and readjust certain operations or processes that are not producing results. Therefore, companies that want to survive in today’s competitive environment should not only contemplate a BPR process, but also make moderate adjustments to their operational model every year and make a significant change every five years.

But now, when should a company assume BPR? Without a prior analysis and diagnosis, it is difficult to know it for sure. However, it is true that common reasons have been identified among different companies in different sectors, such as: 

  • When financial results don’t show up
  • Competitors are taking market share 
  • There are new market opportunities 
  • There is a low level of competition against international companies

If you feel yourself identified, or you perceive that your company shows some of the mentioned symptoms, it is important that you consider how to deal with this process. But keep in mind that, before taking it on, you must know and accept that there will be drastic changes in five main components of your company: strategy, process, tools (enabled technologies), organization and culture.

BPR Management components

Let’s take a closer look at each of the components designed to achieve a significant improvement in the company’s performance areas, in terms of quality, cost and time:

1. Strategy: related to your business model and company projection. The organization’s strategies must be clear and strong because they provide the groundwork for initiating a reengineering process. It also helps to select the appropriate process and establish how much to deepen it to obtain results.

2. Process: processes are the focus of BPR relating tasks that collectively create value for customers. The model should be focused on involving processes throughout, from the conceptual stage to the final product design.

3. Tools (enabling technologies): technology is a fundamental part of BPR, but it is not everything. It is an essential enabler, but when its use is correct. A wrong use can completely block the reengineering process by steering it back to old patterns of behavior, resulting in rework. But when it is used correctly and to the best advantage, it facilitates the flow of information and improves integration of areas involved. 

4. Organization: a reengineering effort means changes in multiple aspects of the organization, for example, job design, organizational structures, management systems and, in particular, everything related to processes, must be remodeled to maintain a coherent business system.

5. Culture: this component is one of the most important. It is not enough to implement new processes, without people’s motivation, they will not work. Those in charge of making this happen are managers, they must lead and pay attention to people’s thoughts about change, to their mindset, to implement motivational actions, training, and education, especially when there is lack of interest.

It is important to emphasize that the company must direct its efforts towards the achievement of goals, but also know that it is possible that, along the way, focus get lost. Sometimes there are common situations in which processes are deficient and do not produce the desired results.

Which are the main causes of failures or inefficiencies in BPR?

1. Not being prepared for change

The main one is not being willing to change, not having an open mind and being free of paradigms. Believing that you must follow a single formula or that the process must work “just the way you want it to” is erroneous. It is very likely that refinements will occur as you go along. It will undergo certain changes and adaptations as experience is gained, but these will be constructive evolutions to achieve the objective.

2. Ambiguity in responsibilities

Another cause is when ambiguities in responsibility and authority begin to occur. Redundancy of procedures becomes commonplace. This is because the process crosses too many organizational boundaries or/and is defined by too many procedures and protocols. The most delicate part is that the process keeps evolving, but in an unproductive way.

3. Higher investment of time than necessary

We can also talk about time. When it takes too long there is an increment in the transfer of information between people that no one solves. This is caused by the numerous approval requirements, checks and rework due to lack of clarity. More time and anergy than necessary is spent because the objective for which the process was originally designed is not taken in consideration.

4. Committed relationships

Another cause is when the relationship of those involved or with the client is compromised. When there is a rupture in the people involved, the engagement is lost, resulting in the process ceasing to deliver value because there is no motivation at all. 

There are many others causes related to BPR such as extensive information exchange, data redundancy, duplication of efforts, repeated delays in product or service delivery, lack of internal controls, and others that we highlight in the image below.

Causes of inefficiency in BPR

Never lose focus of the objective. This can blur your company’s vision. Remember that if the causes are not identified on time, the further the process progresses, problems become more complex and serious. They begin to affect the maturity and effectiveness of the process. If the problems are not attended on time, it is possible that the process get out of control and finally end in the breakdown of the process. A chaotic situation.

BPR is not about technologies. It is not about adopting a process because others are adopting it. It is about worrying about how to choose the right processes, to prioritize them, to apply an adequate model, and to have an implementation strategy in a conscious and coherent way, aligned to what is planned for the future of your organization.

The future of reengineering as the concept evolves is difficult to assess, but without considering your organization’s current business objectives, it is impossible to deliver the expected results. 

Looking to turn your ideas into business opportunities? At Interfaz we have a full stack of technology services to maximize the value of your company. To know more about us, click here.

Referentes:
Serbian Journal of Management
BPR: A process-based management tool
Hammer, M., & Champy, J: Manifesto for Business Revolution 

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