Business Process Reengineering:

Topics: Business process reengineering, Process management, Business process Pages: 21 (6303 words) Published: March 12, 2008
BUSINESS PROCESS REENGINEERING: PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE^ BRIAN FITZGERALD AND CIARAN MURPHY
Executive Systems Research Centre, University College, Cork, Ireland.

ABSTRACT
Business Process Reengineering (BPR) advocates the fundamental examination and redesign of business processes, recognising tb-at the legacy of scientific management has been the excessive fragmentation of work practices in organisations today. This is reflected in the hierarchical structuring of organisations around functional departments, with individual aind departmental goals displacing overall organisational goals. This paper discusses the development of a specific methodology for BPR. The practical application of this methodology in an actual BPR project in one organisation is discussed sind some of the findings and lessons learned from the project are presented.

Keywords: Business process reengineering, business process redesign, business reengineering, methodology, manufacturing, electronics industry, case study, action research RESUME Le Reengineering d'entreprise, ou Business Process Reengineering (BPR), est fonde sur un examen systematique et une reconfiguration fondamentale des processus de l'entreprise, motives par le constat de la fragmentation excessive des taches dans les entreprises modernes. Cette fragmentation, heritage du Scientific Management, est refietee dans la structure tres hierarchique et departementale des entreprises ou, trop souvent, les objectife des departements entrent en confiit avec les objectifs de l'entreprise. Cet article presente une methodologie specialeinent aidaptee au Reengineering d entreprise et son application a un projet reel de redesign dans une entreprise. L'article conclut en presentant les legons tirees de cette application. 1. INTRODUCTION

Interest in the Business Process Reengineering (BPR) concept is quite recent, emerging in the work of writers such as Davenport and Short (1990), Hammer (1990), Hammer gmd Champy (1993), and Harrington (1991). The concept is currently very topical, however, and is ubiquitous in recent organisational, management and information technology literature. The extent of the widespread popular interest in the BPR concept can be gauged from the fact that Hammer and Champy's recent book on BPR featured at the top of the US best-seller lists. This popularity is also reflected in the fact that many organisations claim to be undertaking BPR projects and many software vendors are offering products to support BPR. However, spveral studies have recently appeared in the literature which have critically examined the BPR pihenomenon {e.g. Earl, 1994; Coulson-Thomas, 1994; Strassman, 1993). The progression of a concept from theory to sustained practice is dependent on the development of its theoretical baise, and the introduction of methodological approaches that are capable of being used by practitioners. This paper reports on a study in which a specific methodology for BPR wasi developed land applied in one organisation.

2. BPR: BASIC PRINCIPLES AND CONCEPTS
While BPR is usually portrayed as a new concept, a number of the principles and concepts underpinning BPR^ have their antecedents in other disciplines. For example, Strassman (1993) identifies the contribution of the industrial engineering discipline in which methods such as process analysis, activity costing and value-added measurement have been around for about 50 years. Earl (1994) also discusses the contribution of a number of fields, including the operations management domain {e.g. Juran, 1964), sociotechnical systems thinking (Leavitt, 1964) and systems analysis. However, BPR is now coming to the fore in a different business environment. iRecd. 1994; Revd. 1995 " INFOR vol. 34, no. 1, Feb. 1996

4 B. FITZGERALD AND C. MURPHY,
Certainly, the technological infrastructure is now very different, offering capabilities that were not feasible in the past. Also, BPR attempts to reorient the axis of the organisation away...

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