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Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

Whatever your industry, from renewable energy to IT, and construction to aviation, processes form the operational core of most organizations. As your business grows, your processes may become disorganized, inefficient, or even redundant. 

Business process reengineering (BPR) may be the solution for you. By the end of this article, you’ll understand the benefits, steps, and basic principles involved in BPR and gain an understanding of whether it may be necessary within your organization.

What Is Business Process Reengineering?

Business process reengineering is an approach to business management that focuses on analyzing and reconstructing processes within an organization. 

The idea that processes tend to become inefficient and redundant over time is central to BPR, therefore. Compared to other process improvement methodologies, BPR typically involves a relatively radical restructuring of your organization’s processes. 

This requires a bold acceptance that drastic changes may be necessary to meet your strategic business goals long into the future. 

For example, BPR may be triggered by changes in regulatory compliance requirements. In the construction industry where strict health and safety regulations are in place, an organization may need to completely reengineer its Health & Safety business processes to meet with new legislation. 

In executing this procedure, teams look for ways to simplify and streamline processes to improve efficiency and eliminate waste.

The term is most commonly associated with substantial changes to or complete replacement of processes, rather than minor tweaking.

How technicians at RWE Renewables reduce daily form completion time by 45%

The Role of IT and Data in Reengineering

BPR rose to prominence in the early 1990s, likely due to the increasing adoption of computers in business applications – information technology and data analysis play central roles in BPR.

Increased automation, particularly if your business is considering intelligent process automation, and the use of dashboards and tools may be key elements of your reengineered processes. 

Using the right tools can potentially eliminate waste and streamline business operations. While many organizations, particularly in the construction industry, rely heavily on paper-based processes. BPR should look at ways to digitize and automate time-sensitive manual processes, such as document approvals.

Differences and Similarities With Business Process Management

Business process reengineering has elements in common with business process management (BPM), another management strategy that can involve recreating processes. In some cases, the terms may even be used interchangeably. However, there are significant connotative differences between the two.

In terms of similarities, both BPR and BPM deal with improving productivity by examining business processes. Their shared goal is to improve efficiency and outcomes while cutting costs. Additionally, they both involve thorough evaluations of existing processes.

However, BPR carries a connotation of a more radical business process redesign. In fact, BPM may not involve any redesigning of processes. It can be as simple as monitoring processes for issues and fixing them as necessary. In a sense, BPM is the long-term monitoring and evaluation strategy that leads to BPR being implemented to fix issues.

The Benefits of Business Process Management

With processes being so central to business success, it is probably no surprise that reengineering processes can have substantial benefits. 

The idea is that you can improve your business outcomes by fixing your processes. Here are a few of the most significant advantages of this strategy.

Increase Revenue

Like most business methodologies, BPR is first and foremost concerned with bottom-line results. 

This is achieved by improving the effectiveness of business processes. Delivering better products and services to more customers can lead to increased revenue. Additionally, some processes may directly attract additional customers.

For example, by reengineering your employee onboarding process with automation software like Fluix, you can ensure your team has access to up-to-date training materials. This will help you provide the best quality service for your clients.

Eliminate Costs and Redundancy

Another element of BPR is reducing costs. Many processes cost more than they need to due to inefficiencies. They may include unnecessary activities or redundant functions. 

By reducing costs and increasing revenue, the strategy has the potential to substantially improve profitability.

An example of this is digitalizing and automating processes during the reengineering process, which can drastically cut labor time spent on repetitive tasks. 

Within the renewables energy industry, for example, time spent reporting field crew can be cut by up to 70% when efficient workflows and processes are in place. 

Coordinate Numerous Functions

Many business processes involve the intersection of several functions. Often these functions are brought together organically, with little thought about the future of business operations.

This can result in significant inefficiencies due to a lack of coordination. Through BPR, you can achieve a more rational collaboration between different functions with a big-picture organizational focus.

When considering BPR, part of the conversation should include how to provide a centralized platform, such as Fluix, for teams to collaborate and coordinate that integrates easily with existing tools and software

Take a Long-Term View of Processes

In a similar vein, reengineering allows you to think more in the long term about your processes. Many processes tend to grow organically, meaning that most organizations’ current states are not planned with a view to the future. 

BPR can help you take a more forward-thinking approach to how your business is run.

Better Performance Starts with Process Reengineering
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Business Process Reengineering Steps

The basic BPR steps are simple in concept. As with many process-focused techniques, success and failure tend to rest in the details. 

A data-driven approach helps to ensure that your BPR process supports your business goals.

Here are the major steps involved in reengineering your business processes:

  • Map the Current Process State: Before you begin any analysis or changes, you need to understand what processes exist and what they do, this involves business process mapping

    Start by identifying all the major processes of the business and the secondary processes that support them. Additionally, collect data from stakeholders to understand current perceptions and performance. 

    It is important to understand both the documented processes and the actual work being done on the ground (these are not always aligned).
  • Analyze Processes and Find Problems and Gaps: Using the data you have collected, start to analyze the current processes and their efficacy. 

    During this process, look for gaps in the current documented processes. Are there gaps being solved by ad hoc solutions? Are there unnecessary risks being taken? Additionally, look for redundancies and inefficiencies. 

    You may find the same task being performed twice by different teams. For example, a safety inspection was carried out twice in one day by different team members because the reports were not digitally filed and shared. 
  • Search for Opportunities for Improvement: While reviewing, you should be looking for places to improve. BPR doesn’t have to focus just on fixing issues. 

    When you take a radical approach to recreating your processes, you have an opportunity to leverage opportunities that would otherwise be missed. 

    Make sure to validate these improvements through small-scale testing before trying to go wide.
  • Design the New Process Map: Once you have analyzed the current state for problems, gaps, and opportunities, you can begin to plan the new process map. 

    In BPR, you should not be afraid to change things dramatically. If a complete restructure will help you to improve efficiency and profitability, then implement one.
  • Implement Changes and Monitor: Finally, you need to implement the new process map. 

    This should include working with all the relevant stakeholders. Everyone should be on board and educated about the new process before proceeding forward. 

    You should also establish key performance indicators to help with continuous process monitoring.
  • Use intelligent process automation: Now you have reengineered your business process(es), you may look at intelligent process automation to ensure the processes do not become outdated. 

    The term “intelligent automation” refers to setting up autonomous processes for initiation, execution, and completion. This is guided by AI and therefore does not require direct human input.

Software, such as Fluix, allows your workflows and processes to evolve with your business by leveraging technology to save time and resources. 

The Fluix platform provides visibility into resource availability, task dependencies, and workload distribution, allowing managers to make informed decisions about resource allocation. 

This ensures that resources, such as manpower, time, and equipment, are utilized optimally, leading to better resource management and cost savings.

Business Process Reengineering Principles

As you are applying the above business process redesign steps, it is helpful to keep the principles of BPR in mind to ensure that the results are fair, efficient, and transparent. 

  • Cross-Functional Thinking: Functional and information silos can cause significant issues for business processes. 

    As you implement BPR, try to think about the broader context at all times. This can help to significantly reduce redundancy because processes are cross-functional rather than insular.
  • Fearless Questioning: At the heart of BPR are questions such as “why” and “what if.” 

    By continuously asking these questions, teams can challenge many of the assumptions they are currently relying on. The goal is to challenge current boundaries.
  • Outcome-Orientation: Processes should be developed with the desired outcome in mind. 

    Work backward from this to determine which tasks need to be incorporated. Often, teams naturally are task-oriented. When applying BPR, you should challenge this natural tendency.
  • Ground-Up Decision-Making: The final decision on processes should be made by the stakeholders who are implementing it.

    In other words, BPR emphasizes ground-up thinking. While the restructuring project may be initiated by executive-level management, the people closest to the work should be involved throughout and serve as key decision-makers.
  • Collect Data From the Source: Data flows should be simplified in BPR. Rather than having redundancies with manual transference and resubmission of data, all data should be collected from the source. It should then be made available to relevant stakeholders using a digital data management platform. Good data flows are essential to effective processes.

When Should You Apply Business Process Reengineering?

You should be thinking about BPR when you want to see significant change; a business process redesign. 

For example, reengineering may be the answer if you have tried other ideas that have failed to achieve results. Similarly, if your competitors seem to be pulling ahead at a pace that you can’t match, quickly rethinking how you operate could help.

Of course, reengineering is much less expensive if you are running a small startup than if you have a major enterprise. In fact, it is not uncommon for small companies to informally reengineer their processes as they grow and reinvent their business models.

Business Process Reengineering Examples

BPR has been applied by a diverse range of organizations. This includes well-known businesses such as Ford, Airbnb, GTE, and T-Mobile. 

The following are some examples of what BPR may look like in your organization.

Reimagined Product Development

Bringing new ideas and products to market is essential for many organizations. However, coming up with and developing new ideas for products is not a simple process. Often it involves multiple functions of the business, including analysts, engineers, product designers, and others. If these groups are working in silos, the development process will be slow and inefficient.

By applying BPR, the organization could look at the steps each product took from the original idea to being market-ready. Analyzing the paths of several products may highlight that there are multiple redundant paths and that teams are working on their elements of product development almost independently.

A new process map could include cross-functional teams that undertake all the core functions of product development. Full integration would allow different divisions to come together to work on a new idea collaboratively. It also helps with the sharing of information and data from the start of product development through to the conclusion.

Taskstream automation in Fluix means you can set up workflows using our simple drag-and-drop functionality. Then create tasks, add to-do lists, and set deadlines and priorities. As well as set specific actions and steps for team members, all making collaboration seamless. 

More Satisfying Customer Service

Many businesses struggle significantly with their customer service efforts. Balancing satisfying customers with the significant costs of providing service can be very challenging.

Several organizations have used BPR to improve their customer service. In a lot of organizations, multiple teams and departments deal with different customer issues, such as billing, technical support, and complaints. 

Finding the right department often involves being on hold and may not often result in a satisfied customer.

This is the perfect set of circumstances for BPR. The model of customer service used by most organizations is fundamentally inadequate. 

Customers don’t want to have to bounce around between departments to find the right person.

The right arrangement for customer service processes depends on the business. However, BPR may result in empowering a single team of representatives to handle the majority of issues. 

This eliminates the need to pass off a caller and cuts down the number of holds necessary for a single call. Additionally, a customer can call with multiple issues and receive assistance. Many organizations are also leveraging AI-based technologies that make routing a service call easier.

Enhance Your Business Processes With Fluix

Building the right processes for your business sometimes requires radical redesigns. In some cases, however, simply finding the right tool can make all the difference. 

By simplifying information workflows and empowering cross-functional collaboration, Fluix has helped many businesses enhance their processes and make the business process redesign steps easier to manage, resulting in better outcomes.

For in-depth information, our comprehensive eBook — Can I Do This with Fluix? — has all of the answers you need. 


What is BPR and how does it work? 

This approach to business management relates to the analysis and reconstruction of processes within an organization. BPR works by rooting out inefficient and redundant processes and replacing them with proactive, effective solutions.

How do you achieve BPR success?

Being able to achieve BPR success will depend on a number of factors, such as the willingness to make the necessary changes, regardless of how drastic they first appear. It’s also essential to embrace the digital tools required to support such changes and every department within the organization must be united in implementing the new processes. 

What are the benefits of business process reengineering? 

The benefits of BPR are extensive and can affect every level of the business. These benefits include increasing revenue, reducing costs, eliminating redundant functions, improving processes, being able to better coordinate multiple functions, and being able to take a much longer-term view of the business.

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