Process Reengineering Your Business

Process Reengineering does NOT mean, ‘lay people off’ nor is it only appropriate for Fotune 500 size businesses. It is a useful tool for all businesses that want to enhance their competitiveness. 

This article dicusses Process Reengineering strategies and tactics that will facilitate, as well as, increase the probability of success of your Process Rengineering effort.

Process Reengineering Deliverables

Process Reengineering deliverables must be twofold:

1)      Process Improvement

2)      Business Information System Improvement

Process Improvement

Process Improvements must address the following areas:

1)      Eliminate redundant tasks and positions, with an emphasis on eliminating unnecessary costs and reallocating resources to more productive endeavors

2)      Improving current process efficiencies

3)      Creating processes that enhance organizational efficiencies and competitive strength 

4)      Enhancing awareness of the competitive arena

5)      Enhancing strategic focus

6)      Improving organizational maturity

7)      Implementing metrics to track performance

8)      Documenting processes

Business Information System Improvement

Business Information System Improvement must address the following areas:

1)      Evaluate current business reporting and eliminate reports that just provide data

2)      Implement a system of true information reporting

3)      Elimination of redundant reporting

4)      Enhancement of information gathering processes


Process Reengineering Processes

Review – Evaluate – Recommend – Implement

1)      Review of current organization goals

2)      Review of desired future organization goals

3)      Interviewing current management and line employees to determine their perception of organization goals and attitudes toward change

4)      Evaluation of organization culture

5)      Evaluation of organization maturity

6)      Evaluation of current organization processes

7)      Evaluation of organization metrics

8)      Evaluation of organization process documentation

9)      Evaluation of organization competitive strategy and tactics

10)   Recommendations for competitive strategy and tactics improvement

11)   Recommendations for organization maturity progression

12)   Recommendations for specific process changes

13)   Recommendations for improved business information systems

14)   Recommendations for ongoing metrics

15)   Recommendations for initial and ongoing process documentation

16)   Recommendations for culture change process

17)   Plans and timelines for Implementing recommendations


Organization Maturity Model

Organizations go through maturity stages, just as individuals do. It is important to recognize what stage an organization currently occupies before reengineering can occur. Although organizations can be at different levels for specific processes (i.e. marketing maturity Vs production maturity Vs distribution maturity etc) maturity levels cannot be skipped. In other words, an organization cannot progress from a level 1 scenario to a level 4 scenario just because a desire and plan exists to do so. There must be a successful physical and cultural progression from one maturity level to the next before advancement to higher level can be accomplished.

The following is an Organizational Maturity Model:

  • Level 1 – The organization succeeds or fails based on individual heroics
  • Level 2 – The organization has documented processes, but no one believes they need to follow the processes to be successful in the organization
  • Level 3 – The organization has documented processes, and individuals follow the processes unless there is an emergency, then they do what they have to do to be successful
  • Level 4 – The organization employees are ranked and receive promotions and merit raises based on their willingness to follow documented processes that yield consistent successes
  • Level 5 – The organization enjoys consistent successes through proven processes and continuous improvement


Implications of an Organization’s Maturity on Process Reengineering


Maturity Level Re-Engineering Challenges Re-Engineering Expectations
Level 1 Cultural bias against documenting processes; fear of recriminations if metrics are established; expectation is higher costs with no benefits At this level there is much ‘low hanging fruit’, the strategy is to attack a limited number of processes where largest return to bottom line can be obtained from process and metrics implementation.A successful implementation of a limited number of deliverables in a short timeframe will energize the organization to move up the maturity curve.
Level 2 Cynicism with documented processes and metrics. Culture is one of ‘been there, done that and it hasn’t worked.’Reactions to Reengineering range from polite cynicism to explicit hostility. Key at this level is upper management support of program with an emphasis on the past is over. Going forward allegiance to these documented procedures and metrics will have a explicit impact on future advancement within the organization.Documented processes and metrics must be evaluated and changed as needed to reflect competitive and organizational realities.

Overcoming cynicism through realistic processes that clearly address day to day organizational needs will have a positive impact on culture and increase employee acceptance of the need to move up the maturity curve.


Implications of an Organization’s Maturity on Process Reengineering


Level 3 Overcoming the bias toward ‘making the mission at all costs’ is the main challenge at this level.An organization at level 3 has an appreciation of the benefits of documented process and metrics, but the culture is convinced that the most important issue is making dates, and employees truly believe that this is their job, even if processes are temporarily abandoned.

‘The end justifies the Means’ in a level 3 organization.

Again, the key at this level is upper management support for movement up the maturity curve. The message from above must be that from now on the organization is going to value consistent success over meeting published dates for task/project completion.There must be an explicit commitment to the idea that by following agreed to processes, over time, the dates will be met while complying with established processes, and if they are not met, a post-mortem analysis of the project/task will lead to an improved process.

Once this culture is established there will be a desire for improving process over going around bad processes.

Level 4 At this level the biggest challenge is getting people to accept that they may not have the best processes already.They are committed to doing projects and tasks by established processes that they believe work well.

The issue to overcome is complacency, with a process that works.

An organization at this level is already convinced of the need for processes. The key is to change the culture from process driven to improvement driven.This is accomplished through an aggressive evaluation of current processes and metrics.

As employees see that they can improve upon good processes and metrics, they strive to be ‘best of the best’

Level 5 Organizations at this level are focused on Process Improvement. There are no challenges per se, just a need for reengineering facilitation For organizations at this level the Process Reengineering consultant simply provides an objective set of eyes to facilitate an already accepted process


Of course the bottom line to all Process Reengineering is upper management support of the process and a willingness on the part of the organization as a whole to change to be better!

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