Introduction to Process Reengineering
By Teresa Chiapputo
Have you ever heard the expression in your workplace, "We don't need to throw out the baby with the bath water"? I know in my company you'll hear this expression at least once a day. The context of the statement is around redesign of current processes in order to gain productivity, lower costs and to better serve the customer. It appears that most companies are comfortable with incremental change methodology however, in the current business environment, incremental change doesn't seem to be making the grade. It's time to pull out the big guns.
Competition and customer demand no longer allows the luxury of moving at a snail's pace. Companies must figure out how to become nimble and efficient to meet and exceed goals and delight their customers. This paper will explore a solution that calls for radical change to dramatically improve a company's performance. It's called Process-Reengineering.
There are many different spins on the Process Reengineering definition. Although each definition is slightly different, all have the same overarching theme: the radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and performance. The two key words are radical and dramatic. Radical redesign means getting rid of existing processes and procedures and inventing new ways. Dramatic improvement means a quantum leap in performance (Hammer, 1993). Both of these ideas are in direct conflict with the old thinking of "constant incremental improvement".
The original industrial model, that many companies still use today, rests on the basic principle that workers have fewer, non-complex tasks, which are completed within a large process line. This model allows workers to focus on single tasks that are connected to a more complex process. To reap the benefit from this approach, companies have to accept inconveniences, inefficiencies and higher costs (Hammer, 1993).
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