Is your business in the middle of a Business Process Re-engineering programme? Or are you considering embarking on a BPR journey in the future?
In this episode, Casseo consultant Lorna Tuohy and Casseo director Liz Doyle, discuss some of the risks and benefits associated with Business Process Re-engineering and its impact on organisations today.
We at Casseo, see Business Process Re-engineering as being a fundamental part of business strategy for organsiations of all sizes, in all industries and at all development stages, right through from high growth start-ups to mature corporations.
Business Process Re-Engineering or BPR as it is more commonly known, aims to redesign your core processes in order to enhance the service/product you deliver or to create efficiencies and benefits to the business. Organisations are constantly changing, adapting, looking for ways to improve, whether it is to increase sales, reduce unit costs, develop new markets or to improve their service models. The way in which to approach these changes differs depending on the industry sector, the scale and culture of the organisation.
We have all heard of terms like Six Sigma, Lean methodologies, CPI methodologies and many organisations are investing heavily in developing skillsets within the organisation to help facilitate process re-engineering work. No matter which methodology an organisation decides on, they all have a similar approach to understanding the core processes and building them out to achieve the ultimate customer-centric model for service delivery.
Like any transformation programme or project, the basic change management principles apply. Buy-in and leadership from the top on the vision and the approach to achieving it, are both critical. These may sound like basic things, but they are key to success. When you start to drive change through process re-engineering, you challenge the way in which things are done, why things are done and the way in which companies are structured to deliver. This can lead to pushback and ultimately it may stagnate the delivery. Depending on the change culture in the organisation, answering these questions can be challenging, as it can lead to changes in people’s roles and responsibilities and the work that is performed on a daily basis. Managing this and getting buy-in on the approach is key.
We at Casseo believe, that it is vital that those managing the BPR programme in your organisation have practical experience delivering similar progammes of work. Knowing the methodology and how it works is obviously very important but having the experience and knowledge to avoid being a slave to it is where you achieve real success.
Ultimately an organisation has to be willing to change in order to be successful with BPR. Once you have established that need for change, the four main areas to consider when optimising a BPR programme for success are;
- Customer Focus – Businesses must always focus on their end customer. To do that you must understand your customer’s and potential customer’s needs and be clear about what it is you are trying to deliver. This should be the key driver of the process.
- Alignment – Most businesses are hierarchical in structure, which makes it complex when adapting a customer centric model. You need to align resources and build a structure to support the process.
- People – As we know they are any businesses greatest asset. To quote Zig Ziglar, ‘You don’t build a business. You build people and then people build the business’. This is a relevant approach to take when engaging in any BPR programme. Trust the business knowledge within the business to deliver the solutions.
- Technology – Is often thought of first and viewed as being the optimal solution in any Business Process Re-engineering programme. In reality, however, it can only be as good as what you define as the need.
It is worth noting here that bringing BPR and Agile together can lead to true transformation in how we do things and what we deliver. It can show real business benefits in a relatively short period of time.
BPR Risk Factors
Like everything in business, BPR is not without its risks. One of the most significant risk factors occurs when firms do not have sufficient buy-in on the approach and full agreement on what they are trying to achieve, hence they are not willing to truly change the way things are done. While BPR methodologies and approaches can provide you with proposed recommendations and solutions on how to do things better, it really is the implementation that is critical to success.
Casseo’s lead consultant in this area, Lorna Tuohy, believes that BPR is critical in today’s business change landscape as it helps organisations to remain competitive and meet changing and ever-increasing customer requirements. As customers ourselves, we know how high our expectations are and speed, flexibility, service and price are all key considerations in a competitive global market. To compete you need stable, reliable processes to allow businesses to adapt quickly to changing customer needs
All businesses are unique with different cultures and different stages of maturity and development. Whether we are working with a start-up, or an established business looking to improve productivity or diversify by building out a strategy for a specific line of business, we need a deep understanding of the engine in order to achieve our goals.
For mature businesses, often once we lift the bonnet, legacy systems and processes are often so intertwined that the knowledge of how it all works together is either unknown or known by a select few. Gaining that deep understanding of the internal workings of the business is important in order to build any customer-facing platforms. Similarly, if you are starting a new venture, diversifying or merging business, the key to driving efficiencies and service delivery is through process.
BPR Summary for Success
By way of a summary, our core points of consideration for any business either embarking on a BPR journey for the first time is to ensure that you secure buy-in to the approach from the outset and that you have clarity around what you want to achieve. In tandem, we suggest making sure that you engage experienced resources or consultants to drive this through. BPR itself is a process, you have to trust and support the process.