Business Process Re-engineering – rethinking your “reality”
Business Process Re-engineering is the practice of rethinking and redesigning the way work is done to better support an organization’s mission and reduce costs. Reengineering starts with a high-level assessment of the organization’s mission, strategic goals, and customer needs. Basic questions are asked, such as “Does our mission need to be redefined? Are our strategic goals aligned with our mission? Who are our customers?” An organization may find that it is operating on questionable assumptions, particularly in terms of the wants and needs of its customers. Only after the organization rethinks what it should be doing, does it go on to decide how best to do it.
Within the framework of this basic assessment of mission and goals, re-engineering focuses on the organization’s business processes—the steps and procedures that govern how resources are used to create products and services that meet the needs of particular customers or markets. As a structured ordering of work steps across time and place, a business process can be decomposed into specific activities, measured, modeled, and improved. It can also be completely redesigned or eliminated altogether. Re-engineering identifies, analyzes, and re-designs an organization’s core business processes with the aim of achieving dramatic improvements in critical performance measures, such as cost, quality, service, and speed.
Re-engineering recognizes that an organization’s business processes are usually fragmented into sub-processes and tasks that are carried out by several specialized functional areas within the organization. Often, no one is responsible for the overall performance of the entire process. Re-engineering maintains that optimizing the performance of sub-processes can result in some benefits, but cannot yield dramatic improvements if the process itself is fundamentally inefficient and outmoded. For that reason, re-engineering focuses on re-designing the process as a whole in order to achieve the greatest possible benefits to the organization and their customers. This drive for realizing dramatic improvements by fundamentally re-thinking how the organization’s work should be done distinguishes the re-engineering from process improvement efforts that focus on functional or incremental improvement.