Business Process Re Engineering Bpr Commerce Essay

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The rapid development of information technology creates a unified global market, resulting in a world with fierce market competition. more and more unstable factors in the enterprise management factors come out along with the increasing competition, which makes enterprises face growing risks. What The traditional theories of labor division cares more about individual is the work efficiency. And they neglect the efficiency of whole process. Too detailed division of labor will inevitably lead to the number of company department increase and reduce the efficiency of information communication among them. What is more? Parochialism makes departments and employees to pay more attention to their own departments and the performance of their own work. As the market competition and customer needs increase, just focusing on the efficiency of internal enterprises' production and management and ignoring how to adapt to the fast changing market cannot meet the highly competitive market environment. The pressures Inside and outside the enterprise environment force the enterprises to re-examine the business process. There comes a worldwide wave of research and discussion about business process reengineering, many companies have tried the business processes reengineering as practice, many of whom are success stories while the failures are not uncommon. Although part of the reason for the failure is due to unrealistic vision and expectations of reengineering project. In essence, the lack of understanding and attention about the key factors that must be noted in the business processes reengineering is the key reason why the there are many failed stories. Knights and Willmott (Knights and Willmott, 2007) mentioned that 'In the majority of cases, BPR failed to deliver, principally because insufficient attention was given to the human dimension'. In order to discuss the human dimension in the BRP project, this paper will firstly try a brief review of the BPR theory. Following this the key factors which affect the success and failure of the BPR implementation will be analyzed. Among all the factors, the effect of human dimension will be carefully discussed and try to come up useful and reasonable advices for the companies.

What is BPR?

Business process re-engineering is a business management strategy focusing on the analysis and design of workflows and processes within an organization (Anon, 2012). Business processing Reengineering, short for BPR, was first raised in 1990 by Michael Hammer from Massachusetts Inst Tech USA in his paper "Reengineering Work: Don t Automate, But Obliterate" (Hammer, 1990). And three years later he and James Champy wrote a book, reengineering the Corporation - A Manifesto for Business Revolution, in which the comprehensive concept of BPR is put forward. In this book, It clearly stated the necessity of BRP and described the processes reengineering in the enterprise from a holistic view. Also it emphasized the important role information technology played in business process re-engineering and supplemented by four case to illustrate the significance of BPR benefits. What's more, the book summarized some issues in the BPR failures, which left us with a direction of thinking about the enterprise management change (Hammer and Champy, 2006). The publication of this book brought a wide implication in the enterprise management community, which also led to a wave of Business Process Reengineering. In the 1990s the USA and the leading members of developed countries carried out an enterprise management revolution around the business process re-engineering resulting in greatly reducing the cost and improving the enterprise production and benefit. At that time, BPR became management fashion. BRP is a management thought which means in order to obtain a great improvement in the existing factors which reflect the performance of enterprises such as costs, quality, service , speed and so on, there is a need to have a fundamentally rethinking and thoroughly rearrange the business processes. In the following 10 years, BPR was generally accepted by entrepreneurs and acted as a trend sweeping over the United States and other industrialized countries. As an IT-based business organization's workflow and its related activities which are aiming to better meet customer services needs with systematic improvement philosophy, business process reengineering broke the traditional division of labor theory, emphasizing "process-oriented" organizational structure instead of original "function-oriented, which offered a whole new way of thinking for business management.

Success Factors of BPR

The project of BPR implementation is very complex, for whose success is determined by a variety of factors. Successful reengineering project involves corporate positioning and responsibilities (strategy), performance metrics and incentives, enterprise organizational model, corporate culture and values, information technology, quality of staff and other factors (Al-Mashari and Zairi, 1999). Those concepts such as strategy, customer satisfaction, information technology and employees in the BRP groups have demonstrated the laws and roles of the various factors that affect the success or failure of the BPR project. Lacks of project funds and clear vision of reengineering also contribute to the BPR failure. How to accurately grasp the right using time and extent of BPR is where the BRP essence lies. Before the implementation of BPR project, the enterprise needs to have a detailed implementation plan and employees mobilization while considering all these factors. BPR is a systematic project, involving all aspects of business, in order to ensure the smooth implementation of the project, there is also need to have a realistic and reasonable plans and early warning mechanisms.

The Effects of Human Dimension in BPR

Human is the core resource in the enterprise. Only make use of the enthusiasm and creativity, the enterprise can run effectively. Without the active participation of workers, no advanced technology and management methods can achieve good economic benefits. The enterprise is constituted by the people. So their characters are determined by the sociality and purposiveness of human. The organization's operation efficiency depends largely on the quality of the managers and executives and the organization itself as well as their attitude towards the work. BPR is to be implemented by the staff at all levels of the enterprise at last. The endorsement and support of each employee is related to the success or failure of the change in the enterprise. And the attitudes and behavior of employees ensure a successful implementation business processes reengineering in the enterprise. A lot of surveys have been done to test the situation of business processes reengineering. The results mainly shows that only about 70 percent of the targeted indicators such as Shorten the production cycle, reduce the costs, increase the customers satisfaction, increase the quality of products and services and obtain more benefits have been met (Vojdani and Sloboda, 2008). Some enterprise hardly had any achievement. The reason is mainly the change of management thinking lag changes in the business process.

To some extent, business processes reengineering is a change of people which means a the comprehensive reform about the person's thought, ability, roles and relationships. Moreover it's also a systems engineering about the coordination of the activities of the main organizational structure, organization and operation mechanism and organizational culture and other aspects in the enterprises. Professor S.Mark Young defined the successful change management as the managers and all the staff of the company can be able to permanently change their original work, in order to adapt to changes in the requirements of the reengineering project (Young and Lewis, 1997). For that reason, successful managing people to attitudes and behavior the change is an important element of the BPR.

No matter what kind of change it is in the enterprises, people are involved. However it is difficult to predict people's reaction to change. An important reason for the failure of BPR is the thought of enterprise employees including the managers change lags behind Business process change. In the processes reengineering project, it is obvious for the project team members to understand the need for changes, but it is hard to predict what the reactions will be from others who are affected by the changes. Because it is human nature that does not like change, people are more inclined to defend the status quo. People affected by changes might raise objections which may cause the implementation of the entire project delay, or worse, the project can only be stranded if they refuse to change. What is more, people affected by changes are not necessarily limited to the scope of the enterprise; there may be customers or suppliers. For those people affected by the reengineering projects, they need to be given more attention to their reactions. If the original customer or supplier is lost in the process of change, even if the internal change is completed, the business has also lost his original market.

To know the risk factors of BPR and their impacts on the change project success, Grover had done a three-year investigation within United States 105 change projects. There were five main reasons that may cause the failure of the change: ⑴ do not realize the importance of change; (2) senior leaders shortsighted; ⑶ the rigid bureaucratic in the organization hierarchical structure; ⑷ front-line managers cannot accept innovation; ⑸ unexpected resistance to the organization to change (Grover, 1999) . It is obvious that four of the five reasons are related to the people. So It is necessary to analyze the role of staff at all levels in the process of implementation of BPR in the enterprise. As discussed above, BPR is implemented by the staff at all levels of the enterprise, and the endorsement and support of each employee are related to the success to the change the enterprise. Because the attitudes and behaviors towards the change in the enterprise is a key element to the success implementation of BPR, the project of business processes reengineering must be widely recognized by all the staff. Without organization wide commitment (Campbell and Kleiner, 1997), the BPR project can't achieve any success. In order To make the internal implementation of BPR widely recognized, there must conduct an effectively prior communication before the implementation of the BPR.

'The appropriate implementation of BPR requires human effort, support of leadership and motivated employees' (Habib and Wazir, 2012). In Enterprise, the attitude of managers and employees at all levels to the change is very likely to be inconsistent. For senior leadership, Change is an opportunity, changes in the strategic direction and operational mechanisms may improve the operational efficiency and effectiveness, thereby enhance the core competitiveness of enterprises. However For most employees, including Middle-level personnel, the change in the organization is a risk, because the change could mean the loss of their existing terms of reference and their individual expertise. They need to re-learn new skills and undertake the fear of being laid off . Conceptual differences between managers and Laborial Staff may lead that the company's strategic intent of the leadership cannot be achieved in the process of business processes reengineering. Eliminating such differences can be fully up and down communication through the corporate and continuous training and education so that employees are fully aware of the importance and necessity of the change. In that way the staff can become huge power when changes are to be implemented. Human behaviors are dominated by their subjective thoughts, so it needs to first reach a consensus in their thinking when the BPR is about to be implemented, in particular, to reach a consensus of the necessity and feasibility of BPR implementation within the top leadership. Secondly, the implementation so BPR must get the support of he general staff as well as the middle-level managers. It can be envisaged that if it could not reach a consensus within the top leadership, it is impossible to get broad support; if the project cannot get the support of the middle managers, it is clear to know the behaviors of their subordinates: junior staff won't support either. a strategic consensus about the implementation of BPR must be reached Up and down the organization. it is very difficult to transform strategy into actions of the employees without consensus on the strategy. Only when all the participants of the organization support the change, there is a chance for the business processes reengineering project to be successful. These participants include corporate senior leaders, middle managers and junior staff. It is going to discuss the role of those participants in detail in the process of implementation of BPR.

For senior leaders:

BPR is a top-down mobilization, involves fundamental changes in the enterprise, so it is necessary to first get the understanding and support of top decision-makers (Guimaraes, 1998). Only the advocacy and decision of the decision-makers are able to break down organizational barriers and reconfigure various resources in a most efficient way. The strategic insights and willingness to change corporate culture of leaders are huge power to the implementation of the BPR. Therefore, the support of senior leaders is a key factor to promote the success of the project, no matter how to stress its role and importance cannot be overstated.

For middle-level managers:

Middle managers play an essential role in the transformation of BPR. All along, the middle managers are regarded as the biggest obstacle in the change of business. In fact, if the change is able to get their support, they can become the greatest strength to reengineering the enterprise processes. When organizations are becoming flattened, middle managers play an important role in the intersection of horizontal and vertical becoming the organization's critical support points. Middle managers are able to find opportunities in the organization and the environment, and propose creation programs with potential value in the change. Successful communication is able to ensure the coherence in the enterprise (Nelson and Coxhead, 1998). However communication problems are ubiquitous in various aspects and levels of change. In the process of implementation of BPR, it is necessary to maintain frequent communication and information up and down the enterprise. So middle managers can be no only creators of important innovations views but also communicators of information in the project.

For junior staff:

In order to understand the impact of the changes on the junior staff, there is a need to look at these issues from the perspective of employees and understand their environment first. This requires the project team members and managers to keep a frequent communication with employees to understand their thought and to discuss their views with them. Only receive timely feedback from junior staff, it is possible to predict the problems that will emerge, and to find a solution to the problem in a timely manner.


In conclusion, the personal is a critical successful factor in the implementation of business processes reengineering. In order to have a success BPR, the human dimension needs to be treated carefully from the top leaders to junior staff. Senior leaders need to understanding the strategic value of the BPR and they must directly conduct the whole BPR project. For middle-level managers, they need to play their roles in the communication inside the enterprises. The human resource and the BRP team need to train and keep a well relationship with the junior staff to ensure the final reengineering in the project. The essence of the change in the enterprise is not only the change of processes but also the change of people. Carefully cares about the human dimension ensure the BPR a successful ending.