What is Business Process Reengineering (BPR)?

Business Process Reengineering is the movement of improving your business processes through a radical change.

Mike Hammer is credited by many with starting the “process improvement” movement through his book “Reengineering the Corporation” (1993). His premise is one of a radical change of process throughout the organisation to bring about performance improvements. He describes it as “the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service and speed.” His methodology is broken up into seven rules or principles of re-engineering.

Principles of Re-engineering

  1. Firstly, organise around outcomes, not tasks. This helps eliminate the need for handoffs and provides a single point of contact for the customer.
  2. Have those who use the output of the process perform the process. Those who are closest to the work should do the work.
  3. Merge information-processing work into the real work that produces the information. People collecting the work should be responsible for processing the work instead of handing it over to some other individual or system.
  4. Centralise geographically dispersed resources. Technology advancements make this a reality by combining dispersed systems and teams as though they were a single team.
  5. Link parallel activities instead of the integration of their results. This helps to reduce errors at the end of the process.
  6. Give the workers, those who are acting on and controlling the process the power to make decisions.  Empower the workers to get the resources he needs to do the job efficiently.
  7. Capture information once – at the source. Eliminate ineffective, costly handoffs bypassing the same, accurate message.

More Resources

Read our guide to creating a process improvement plan

Source: Business Process Management Common Body of Knowledge (BPM CBOK, 2009), The Association of Business Process Management Professionals