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Business process reengineering (BPR)

Reengineering is about radical change. Business process reengineering (BPR) differs from continuous (incremental) improvement programs that place emphasis on small, gradual changes to improve on what an organization is already doing. BPR is:

1. Not just automation, although it often uses technology in creative and innovation ways.

2. Not just reorganization, although it almost always requires organizational change.

3. Not just downsizing, although it usually improves productivity.

4. Not just quality, although it is almost always focused on customer satisfaction and processes that support it.

BPR seeks breakthroughs in important measures of performance rather than incremental improvements. It pursues multifaceted improvement goals, including quality, cost, flexibility, speed, accuracy, and customer satisfaction concurrently. It also involves a willingness to rethink how work should be done, even if it means totally discarding current practices. BPR also takes a holistic approach to business improvement, leveraging technology, and empowering people, which encompasses both the technical aspects of process (technology, standards, procedures, systems, and controls) and social aspects (organization, staffing, policies, jobs, career paths, and incentives) (adapted from Manganelli R.L. and Klein M.M., The Reengineering Handbook, 1994).

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