Business Process Redesign (BPR) or Reengineering is "the

fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve

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dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance,

such as cost, quality, service, and speed" (Hammer and Champy,

Reengineering). Since the BPR idea has surfaced it has been under constant

ridicule by the popular press. They say it takes far too long, creates

management headaches, fails 70% of the time, and it's only for big

companies with big checkbooks (Hydrel...). However, I feel that with the

right plan, the right people, and total commitment from those involved, BPR

or Reengineering can work for any company.

The Hydrel Experience

A good example of this is Hydrel, a manufacturer of in-ground and

underwater lighting equipment. They were about to begin selling their

products in the international market, and were afraid their current systems

could handle the rapid increase in volume. So the company president, Craig

Jennings, hired the D. Appleton Company (DACOM) to help reengineer the

company's plans to handle its growth rate. After DACOM reviewed Hydrel's

functional areas and the desires of the top-level management, they concluded

that the order management and inventory control process had to be

redesigned to meet the demands.

Then they comprised three teams: process, quality, and information.

But before the three teams could work separately, they had to go through a

process to determine if the team members were on the right team, and if they

could work together. So each of the three teams reviewed employee

personalities using the Pearson Personality Inventory (Hydrel...). After using

the PPI system they found that all the teams were compatible, and began

working on the job at hand.

The process team attacked the reengineering of the "Manage Customer

Order" process which included all contact with prospects, customers, and

sales agents the moment a question came up. Then they invited customers

and suppliers to air their own issues and ideas about their company. All of

them had something to say about the company and were impressed with the

reengineering effort. The Hydrel process team concluded its redesign work

with a delivery process that removes 37% of the order management activities

(Hydrel...). And also designed a new computer system to carry out the new

process. The new computer system will also be used by the quality team to

update their new metrics system. The quality team developed a completely

new system for the reengineering process. This new metrics system

continually updates them on changes in the market that deal with quality.

This is important so they can deal with the changes right away and stay

competitive. And finally the information team came in to wrap up the whole

process and implement the new computer system. They design a system that

fit the current demands but is able to grow and expand a the same rate as the

company.

Due to total commitment from the right people, using the right

methods Hydrel has successfully reengineered the process of order

management and positioned the company for dramatic profitable growth.

And they have proved my statement that reengineering can work for every

company no matter what their size.

The Texas Commerce Bank Experience

In early 1994, Texas Commerce Bank (TCB) launched a reengineering

process called Process Improvement, which included every organizational

process and all 9,000 employees (Betting...). TCB's goals for their program

were: remove all employee frustrations associated with policies, processes,

services, or products; change processes to improve quality, deliver improved

service to customers, and eliminate unnecessary expenses (Betting...).

However, TBC took a different approach towards their business process

redesign. They decided to approach this as a whole inorder to get maximum

involvement from their employees. TBC had several reasons for this one

being; there were already strong relationships present between bank

employees and they didn't want those relationships damaged.

However, this idea didn't last long due to the overwhelming number of

replies from the "Ideas To Bank On," which was a suggestion box. And

TCB was forced to create about 180 process teams. Which included senior

managers,process managers, team leaders, and about 1,800 employees

(Betting...). This move, however, caused a bit of turmoil in the whole

process due to he fact that, many employees weren't use to works in groups.

And eventually led to the redesign phase, one that went to drastic measures

and wiped the slate clean.

This time, however, the bank knew what it had to do. So this time

TCB moved quickly through the process, and it led to quick results. They

began by redesigning the bank's lines, question certain products, eliminated

processes, and apply newer technologies. And finally a blue print emerged.

Which included narrative descriptions of processes, new flowcharts, all

projects cost/benefit analyses, and the implementation of strategies. The

benefits of this process were significant: 16,000 ideas, 1005 projects, 1,100

positions to be terminated, and $43M in reduced expenses (Betting...).

So now that a new plan is in place TCB has taken the appropriate steps

to keep them in working order. The 1,005 recommendations have been

assigned to teams within the line of business. Formal project plans for each

team are developed and gathered weekly and are loaded into a database for

tracking by other interdependencies (Betting...) This database is also

available the employees to access if they want to check on an idea or if they

want to suggest an idea. This database is also a great way for managers and

employees to keep intouch on all aspects of the business, both big and small.

Although this process didn't run as smooth the Hydrel experience it

still proves that reengineering or BPR can work for a company. Also I think

the TCB experience proved that, there are different ways to go about

reengineering a company but the bottom line is, with total commitment it can

work for all companies.