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This essay seeks to describe business Process Reengineering; this involves doing a revamp of a number of business processes in a bid to attain enhancements in the procedures that are performed in a given company or organization. This is important as many companies the world over are searching for solutions to their business problems. This concept has in the recent past become an incredible solution to business problems (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi, 1999).
What to Reengineer
Many experts in the business process reengineering field are of the opinion that it should actually focus on the processes and should not be confined to thinking about the organizations. This is because the effectiveness of an organization largely depends on the effectiveness of its processes. A business process refers to a sequence of stages or steps specifically formulated to create a product or service. It encompasses all actions that deliver certain results to a given customer. Many organizations these days are structured into departments. Given the numerous processes that may exist in a given organization, they might be difficult to be identified because they are more or less invisible. To counter this, it is necessary for companies avoid using the names of departments, for instance manufacturing and marketing and instead give names to the processes involved. This is important so that the beginning aswell as end states can be expressed. The names should also give an indication of what is done in between the start and finish (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi, 1999).
It is necessary for companies to have process maps; just as they have organizational charts so that the staff and anyone interested can get a clear indication in as far as the flow of work through the company is concerned. Process mapping goes a long way in providing the necessary tools as well as a methodology that is proven in a bid to identify the company’s business processes at the time. It also provides a roadmap of some kind on how to reengineer the company’s service and product business enterprise functions. It acts as the all-importantlink that the reengineering team can use so as to comprehend and improve, in a significant manner, the company’s business processes as well as the overall bottom-line performance.
After identifying and mapping the processes, the main task comes when deciding the specific processes that require to be reengineered. It is safe to say that no company out there can decide to reengineer all it process at the very same time. The company should decide the ones that need reengineering and this process is often guided by certain criteria: - the processes that are worst functioning (dysfunction), the processes that are most influential and critical when it comes to customer satisfaction (importance) and the processes that stand the best chance of being successful as a result of the reengineering process (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi 1999).
Prepare for Reengineering
Just like in any other activity, planning and preparation are of utmost importance. Before getting started on the reengineering process, the company or organization needs to determine whether it is necessary; if it is, then this marks the start of the preparation. It is necessary for there to be executive consensus on the importance of the reengineering process. A cross-functional team is then developed whose responsibility is planning the reengineering process. When forming this team, it is important to ensure that it has the ability to function even when a number of key players are absent. These projects involve some changes to the company’s status quo as well as cross-functional cooperation; for these reasons, there has to be strategic direction and more so from the top. The company should make their first priority to understand the expectations that their customers may have. The team should also identify their objectives, which should be customer driven followed by the formulation of the mission statement (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi 1999).
Map and Analyze the As-Is Process
Many organizations analyze the existing process and understand it before they can go ahead and reengineer it. The process can be improved upon so as to come up with a new process. When improvements are done, it is necessary for them to lead to dramatic results. This phase enables the team to identify any obstacles that may hinder the processes from achieving the results that were desired (disconnects) as well as value adding processes. At this stage, the team can evaluate and identify the processes that require being reengineered (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi 1999).
Design the To-Be Process
This phase is important so that the team can come up with alternatives to the existing situation; the alternatives should satisfy the company’s strategic goals. Benchmarking is the first step; this involves comparing the performance of the company’s processes and howthe processes are carried out with other companies so as to get ideas for purposes of improvement. This process cannot be carried out overnight. A number of these models that the team arrives at have to be validated. Conducting a Trade off analysis will enable the team to select the best To-Be scenarios for the purposes of implementation (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi 1999).
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Implement the Reengineered Processes
This is the phase where the whole reengineering process meets the highest level of resistance and it is suffice to say that it is infact the toughest stage. The team should be prepared to face all manner of opposition from those adversaries that are passive to those antagonists that are blatantly hostile and their sole objective is to kill the reengineering effort. The team is well advised to carry out a culture change program to run concurrently with the planning and preparation stages. It is however vital for the team to know that the success of the BPR effort largely depends on the support and input of all members of that organization; for this reason, there should be a deliberate move to include everyone in the effort (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi 1999) .
Improve the Process Continuously
For the reengineering process to be successful, it has to be improved continuously. The progress of action as well as the results has to be monitored. The feeling of the people about the whole process also needs to be gauged. Communication should be strengthened in the entire organization. Adoption of a performance tracking system together with the application of skills for the purposes of problem solving will ensure that the performance is improved continuously (Muthu, Whitman & Cheraghi 1999).
Intense focus on the customers, a great process design that is coupled with a leadership that is strong and motivated can lead to the success of any business. Every organization has to make use of reengineering for it to boost its chances of remaining competitive. BPR is not a quick fix recipe for success. It entails hard work and in addition to instigating the employees of the organization to change whatever they do, it also aims to change these people’s way of thinking. This essay has attempted to come up with an approach that is structured to the business reengineering process.