Business process re-engineering (BPR) is a business management strategy, originally pioneered in the early 1990s, focusing on the analysis and design of workflows and business processes within an organization. BPR aimed to help organizations fundamentally rethink how they do their work in order to improve customer service, cut operational costs, and become world-class competitors. BPR seeks to help companies radically restructure their organizations by focusing on the ground-up design of their business processes.
According to early BPR proponent Thomas H. Davenport (1990), a business process is a set of logically related tasks performed to achieve a defined business outcome. Re-engineering emphasized a holistic focus on business objectives and how processes related to them, encouraging full-scale recreation of processes rather than iterative optimization of sub-processes. BPR is influenced by technological innovations as industry players replace old methods of business operations with cost-saving innovative technologies such as automation that can radically transform business operations.
Business process reengineering is also known as business process redesign, business transformation, or business process change management. Business process reengineering (BPR) is the practice of rethinking and redesigning the way work is done to better support an organization’s mission and reduce costs. Organizations reengineer two key areas of their businesses. First, they use modern technology to enhance data dissemination and decision-making processes. Then, they alter functional organizations to form functional teams.
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 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 subprocesses and tasks that are carried out by several specialized functional areas within the organization.