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Business process reengineering (BPR) examples

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Business process reengineering (BPR) is the radical redesign of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in performance, efficiency and effectiveness. BPR examples are not one-time projects, but rather examples of a continuous journey of innovation and change focused on optimizing end-to-end processes and eliminating redundancies. The purpose of BPR is to streamline workflows, eliminate unnecessary steps and improve resource utilization.

BPR involves business process redesign that challenges norms and methods within an organization. It typically focuses on achieving dramatic, transformative changes to existing processes. It should not be confused with business process management (BPM), a more incremental approach to optimizing processes, or business process improvement (BPI), a broader term that encompasses any systematic effort to improve current processes. This blog outlines some BPR examples that benefit from a BPM methodology.

Background of business process reengineering

BPR emerged in the early 1990s as a management approach aimed at radically redesigning business operations to achieve business transformation. The methodology gained prominence with the publication of a 1990 article in the Harvard Business Review, “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate,” by Michael Hammer, and the 1993 book by Hammer and James Champy, Reengineering the Corporation. An early case study of BPR was Ford Motor Company, which successfully implemented reengineering efforts in the 1990s to streamline its manufacturing processes and improve competitiveness.

Organizations of all sizes and industries implement business process reengineering. Step 1 is to define the goals of BPR, and subsequent steps include assessing the current state, identifying gaps and opportunities, and process mapping.

Successful implementation of BPR requires strong leadership, effective change management and a commitment to continuous improvement. Leaders, senior management, team members and stakeholders must champion the BPR initiative and provide the necessary resources, support and direction to enable new processes and meaningful change.

BPR examples: Use cases

Streamlining supply chain management

Using BPR for supply chain optimization involves a meticulous reassessment and redesign of every step, including logistics, inventory management and procurement. A comprehensive supply chain overhaul might involve rethinking procurement strategies, implementing just-in-time inventory systems, optimizing production schedules or redesigning transportation and distribution networks. Technologies such as supply chain management software (SCM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and advanced analytics tools can be used to automate and optimize processes. For example, predictive analytics can be used to forecast demand and optimize inventory levels, while blockchain technology can enhance transparency and traceability in the supply chain.

Benefits:

  • Improved efficiency
  • Reduced cost
  • Enhanced transparency

Customer relationship management (CRM)

BPR is a pivotal strategy for organizations that want to overhaul their customer relationship management (CRM) processes. Steps of business process reengineering for CRM include integrating customer data from disparate sources, using advanced analytics for insights, and optimizing service workflows to provide personalized experiences and shorter wait times.

BPR use cases for CRM might include:

  • Implementing integrated CRM software to centralize customer data and enable real-time insights
  • Adopting omnichannel communication strategies to provide seamless and consistent experiences across touchpoints
  • Empowering frontline staff with training and resources to deliver exceptional service

Using BPR, companies can establish a comprehensive view of each customer, enabling anticipation of their needs, personalization of interactions and prompt issue resolution.

Benefits:

  • 360-degree customer view
  • Increased sales and retention
  • Faster problem resolution

Digitizing administrative processes

Organizations are increasingly turning to BPR to digitize and automate administrative processes to reduce human errors. This transformation entails replacing manual, paper-based workflows with digital systems that use technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for routine tasks.

This might include streamlining payroll processes, digitizing HR operations or automating invoicing procedures. This can lead to can significant improvements in efficiency, accuracy and scalability and enable the organization to operate more effectively.

Benefits:

  • Reduced processing times
  • Reduced errors
  • Increased adaptability

Improving product development processes

BPR plays a crucial role in optimizing product development processes, from ideation to market launch. This comprehensive overhaul involves evaluating and redesigning workflows, fostering cross-functional collaboration and innovating by using advanced technologies. This can involve implementing cross-functional teams to encourage communication and knowledge sharing, adopting agile methodologies to promote iterative development and rapid prototyping, and by using technology such as product lifecycle management (PLM) software to streamline documentation and version control.

BPR initiatives such as these enable organizations to reduce product development cycle times, respond more quickly to market demands, and deliver innovative products that meet customer needs.

Benefits:

  • Faster time-to-market
  • Enhanced innovation
  • Higher product quality

Updating technology infrastructure

In an era of rapid technological advancement, BPR serves as a vital strategy for organizations that need to update and modernize their technology infrastructure. This transformation involves migrating to cloud-based solutions, adopting emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and integrating disparate systems for improved data management and analysis, which enables more informed decision making. Embracing new technologies helps organizations improve performance, cybersecurity and scalability and positioning themselves for long-term success.

Benefits:

  • Enhanced performance
  • Improved security
  • Increased innovation

Reducing staff redundancy

In response to changing market dynamics and organizational needs, many companies turn to BPR to restructure their workforce and reduce redundancy. These strategic initiatives can involve streamlining organizational hierarchies, consolidating departments and outsourcing non-core functions. Optimizing workforce allocation and eliminating redundant roles allows organizations to reduce costs, enhance operational efficiency and focus resources on key priorities.

Benefits:

  • Cost savings
  • Increased efficiency
  • Focus on core competencies

Cutting costs across operations

BPR is a powerful tool to systematically identify inefficiencies, redundancies and waste within business operations. This enables organizations to streamline processes and cut costs.

BPR focuses on redesigning processes to eliminate non-value-added activities, optimize resource allocation, and enhance operational efficiency. This might entail automating repetitive tasks, reorganizing workflows for minimizing bottlenecks, renegotiating contracts with suppliers to secure better terms, or by using technology to improve collaboration and communication. This can enable significant cost savings and improve profitability.

Benefits:

  • Improved efficiency
  • Lower costs
  • Enhanced competitiveness

Improving output quality

BPR can enhance the quality of output across various business processes, from manufacturing to service delivery. BPR initiatives generally boost key performance indicators (KPIs).

Steps for improving output quality involve implementing quality control measures, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and using customer feedback and other metrics to drive innovation.

Technology can also be used to automate processes. When employees are freed from distracting processes, they can increase their focus on consistently delivering high-quality products and services. This builds customer trust and loyalty and supports the organization’s long-term success.

Benefits:

  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Reduced errors
  • Enhanced brand image

Human resource (HR) process optimization

BPR is crucial for optimizing human resources (HR) processes. Initiatives might include automating the onboarding process with easy-to-use portals, streamlining workflows, creating self-service portals and apps, using AI for talent acquisition, and implementing a data-driven approach to performance management.

Fostering employee engagement can also help attract, develop and retain top talent. Aligning HR processes with organizational goals and values can enhance workforce productivity, satisfaction and business performance.

Benefits:

  • Faster recruitment cycles
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Strategic talent allocation

BPR examples: Case studies

The following case study examples demonstrate a mix of BPR methodologies and use cases working together to yield client benefits.

Bouygues becomes the AI standard bearer in French telecom

Bouygues Telecom, a leading French communications service provider, was plagued by legacy systems that struggled to keep up with an enormous volume of support calls. The result? Frustrated customers were left stranded in call lines and Bouygues at risk of being replaced by its competitors. Thankfully, Bouygues had partnered with IBM previously in one of our first pre- IBM watsonx™ AI deployments. This phase 1 engagement laid the groundwork perfectly for AI’s injection into the telecom’s call center during phase 2.

Today, Bouygues greets over 800,000 calls a month with IBM watsonx Assistant™, and IBM watsonx Orchestrate™ helps alleviate the repetitive tasks that agents previously had to handle manually, freeing them for higher-value work. In all, agents’ pre-and-post-call workloads were reduced by 30%.1 In addition, 8 million customer-agent conversations—which were, in the past, only partially analyzed—have now been summarized with consistent accuracy for the creation of actionable insights.

Taken together, these technologies have made Bouygues a disruptor in the world of customer care, yielding a USD 5 million projected reduction in yearly operational costs and placing them at the forefront of AI technology.1

Finance of America promotes lifetime loyalty via customer-centric transformation

By co-creating with IBM, mortgage lender Finance of America was able to recenter their operations around their customers, driving value for both them and the prospective home buyers they serve.

To accomplish this goal, FOA iterated quickly on both new strategies and features that would prioritize customer service and retention. From IBM-facilitated design thinking workshops came roadmaps for a consistent brand experience across channels, simplifying the work of their agents and streamlining the application process for their customers.

As a result of this transformation, FOA is projected to double their customer base in just three years. In the same time frame, they aim to increase revenue by over 50% and income by over 80%. Now, Finance of America is primed to deliver enhanced services—such as debt advisory—that will help promote lifetime customer loyalty.2

BPR examples and IBM

Business process reengineering (BPR) with IBM takes a critical look at core processes to spot and redesign areas that need improvement. By stepping back, strategists can analyze areas like supply chain, customer experience and finance operations. BPR services experts can embed emerging technologies and overhaul existing processes to improve the business holistically. They can help you build new processes with intelligent workflows that drive profitability, weed out redundancies, and prioritize cost saving.

Explore IBM Business Process Reengineering services

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1. IBM Wow Story: Bouygues Becomes the AI Standard-Bearer in French Telecom. Last updated 10 November 2023.

2. IBM Wow Story: Finance of America Promotes Lifetime Loyalty via Customer-Centric Transformation. Last updated 23 February 2024.

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