CPR on BPR: Long Live Business Process Reengineering
1: A Primer
All management and technology paradigms seem to come and go. Some make
hay in the sun and retire in the shade, and some live on in other forms.
On the technology side, we've had mainframe/dumb terminal computing give
way to client/server computing, and now, in a back to the future way but
with more color, to web-browser-based computing.
the management side, we've had, in random order, Just In Time (JIT) inventory
Deming's 14 Points documented in his book, Out of the
Crisis and taught in Japan and in the U.S., Total Quality Management
(TQM), Knowledge Management lead by Peter Senge of MIT and documented
in his book The Fifth Discipline, Continuous Quality
Improvement (CQI), Six Sigma, ISO Quality Certification guidelines, and,
of course, Business Process Reengineering (BPR), that 90's management
fad fostered and enamored by Hammer and Champy in Reengineering
what lives on? For certain, BPR (Business Process Reengineering), in some
form, is still a relevant, nay, crucial, element in today's business world,
especially as it pertains to successful implementations of CRM, ERP, and
other modern technologies. We could coin yet another acronym or phrase
to re-label BPR for the 2000's, but let's not add to the already bloated
business acronym lexicon. So 'BPR' is alive and well.
There are many definitions of Business Process Reengineering, but the
one I like most is the one proposed by Ray Manganelli and Mark Klein in
their book, The Reengineering Handbook:
- The rapid and radical redesign of strategic, value-added business processes
- and the systems, policies, and organizational structures that support
them - to optimize the work flows and productivity in an organization.
some definitions need to be put in place for us to be able to swallow
this statement whole:
processes - those activities that are essential to satisfying a customer's
wants and needs and for which a customer is willing to pay. Value-adding
activities deliver or produce something that the customer cares about
as part of the product or service being offered.
- an interrelated series of activities that convert business inputs into
business outputs. They are composed of three primary types of activities:
value-adding activities (see above); hand-off activities
- activities that move work flow across boundaries that are primarily
functional, departmental, or organizational, and; control activities
- activities that for the most part, are created to control the hand-offs
across the boundaries previously described.
if we come back to our definition of Reengineering, Manganelli and Klein
are saying that we need to rapidly examine and redesign those processes
which add value to the customer, in order to optimize the delivery of
business outputs, to the happiness of the customer and financial success
of the business
Pave Cow Paths": Linking BPR to CRM
Pave Cow Paths;" "If you always do what you've always done (but a little
bit faster), you'll always get what you've always gotten (but a little
faster);" "Automating broken processes with technology means that you'll
do the bad things faster." The phrases all mean the same thing: Don't
lead with technology when you believe that your company's workflows
are broken. I have had first-hand experience one too many times with Vice
President's calling down from on high and telling the worker bees to "get
some technology in here to fix the problems." Without sound business process
analysis, design, and possible re-design or full-blown reengineering in
place before you bring in technology, your CRM (or any IT) efforts are
doomed to fail.
Ideas in BPR for the 2000's
There are many key, sound ideas that originated in the foundation of the
BPR movement of the 90's and resonate with us in business today. Some
of the key tenets include:
on Processes first, not People or Technology.
the company's processes around value-adding processes (as previously
as many non-value-adding activities as possible, including bureaucracy.
Non-value adding steps that cannot be eliminated should be automated,
and separated from the main sequence of value-adding activities.
the people who do the work, since they have the best ideas for fixing
the problems. Involving them will help you not only find the best solutions,
but will guarantee that they will support the implementation, since
the design came from them.
duplication of work or effort.
a single point of contact for customers whenever possible.
information once, at the source.
- Put information
in one place only, and provide access for all who need it.
checks, controls, and reconciliation.
and apply the O.H.I.O. principle - Only Handle It Once.
processes in parallel whenever possible.
and cluster those processes that fit together naturally. Design separate
processes for logical distinctions. One process does NOT fit all. Establish
processes for like groups of tasks.
sure that as few people as possible are involved in the performance
of a process.
about co-location of employees who perform work in a given workflow.
an OWNER for each process or program.
- Use information
technology appropriately. Information technology can help to dramatically
change and improve business processes, but be sure that technology supports
an intelligent process design instead
of driving the design process.
in mind the value equation: Value = (Quality + Service) / (Cost + Time)
concrete, measurable goals - establish challenging, specific targets.
"Reduce process time by 40%" is specific; "improve this process" is
get results in 90 days or less, to show progress, and to keep change
down to bite-size nuggets that the company as a whole can swallow.
from CRM, ERP, and Other Modern Technologies
As mentioned, never lead with technology. Review your business
goals and objectives. Understand how your business is organized. Examine
your business processes, which are supposed to support the corporate goals
and strategies, and redefine or reengineer them as needed. Use the above
list as a guide to change. Then and only then, find the technology
that matches your business goals, objectives, and processes.
This is the first of a series of Tutorials discussing Business Process