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What is business process redesign (BPR)?

By Payel Bera

Reviewed by Vanessa Kintu

Fact checked by Jane Cahane

3 young people are standing

In order to keep a business up to date and cater to demands, it has to go through a fix-up or in several cases a total rebuild. However, the process can be costly and time-consuming, leading to disruption of day-to-day work, causing layoffs and even unsuccessful. Hence, to make it a success, the management not only has to use profitability metrics but should also follow a business process reengineering methodology.

To define business process redesign (BPR), it is a form of radical change through a complete overhaul of the key business process. BPR’s objective is to increase productivity, reduce cycle times, improve product quality, implement new technology or automation, and streamline teams and their functionality. It often gives a company the push to get a higher return on investment (ROI), reduce its costs and increase its quality of service.

BPR aims to redesign every critical process, from manufacturing to sales and customer service. The process has become popular since the dawn of automation in the 1990s; with management or leaders geared up to adapt to the tech revolution, this has brought change to their business processes. Several companies prefer to call in a consultant to assist them not only in designing but also in implementing changes.

While BPR is mostly undergone due to changes in the industry that require new infrastructure (machinery or upgrade on the existing production line), some companies review their operations and other key components to determine how they can deliver value in the current scenario. For instance, given the current focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices, and the transition to clean energy, several oil and gas companies are trying to make changes to their procedures. BPR includes mergers with smaller clean-energy producers, remodelling production lines to cut down emissions and more.

It is important for companies to review their operations, mission statements, value propositions and strategic positioning regularly. If the review suggests a redesign is in order, it should go through the following business process redesign steps:

  • chalking out clear goals; 

  • identifying core business processes with a clear vision and mission; 

  • identifying  gaps or areas that require improvement;

  • designing and developing changes, and setting out strategical points to complete them; and

  • implementing the changes and monitoring these using profitability metrics.                  

Example of a business process redesign (BPR)

Though BPR aims to eliminate unproductive segments/departments and any redundancies in operation, the process is expensive and will disrupt workflow. It may eliminate certain aspects of the business, causing layoffs and realigning or consolidating divisions.

For example, say a fast-food company went through BPR. The generic process starts when the customer orders. The order then goes to the kitchen, where the meal is prepared and delivered to the customer. However, if the BPR analysts realise making meal portions beforehand in a separate centre and delivering it to the restaurant daily will be more beneficial when the customers place their orders, the staff will then need to put everything together and deliver it to the customer. 

This represents a complete change of process, which is intended to give the company greater quality control, reduce accidents, provide greater employee satisfaction and, most importantly, increase the focus on the customers’ needs. 

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