Steps to Business Process Reengineering Success
It’s a problem that can face any business of any size—poor processes and time-wasting methods. Because things aren’t disruptive at first, they are ignored until they become too big to handle. This kind of business process neglect often ends in disaster. The solution? Business process reengineering (BPR).
BPR is a total examination and reworking of key processes and production lines in your business. No system should be immune to a BPR project—whether it’s your back office or front facing workflows between your sales team and potential clients. Organizational roles, culture and work structure are all possible places of attack. The purpose of the BPR process is a radical change—so employees and executives alike should be properly prepared for the adjustment and well aware of the necessity of the process. Most of the time, employees are already aware of the holes and leaks that business process reengineering is designed to fix, but simply ignore it in favor of the status quo. BPR seeks to totally destroy this notion, rebuilding processes from the ground up to meet revitalized goals and cut costs across the business.
The end result should be a streamlined, cost-cutting organization. Modern technology like ERP software is now the key to a successful business process reengineering project. With the support of a good ERP system and a rework of old processes that are holding your business back, you can lower expenses while still improving your product or services. The key touch points you should have in mind when restructuring each system within your company are below, so read on and learn more about how to complete a successful business process reengineering project within your company!
Too often, systems within a company are simply in place because they have "always been that way," and no one is really sure why they exist or what the original purpose was for a process or a certain task. One of the most critical components of business process reengineering is the total reworking of the way your organization pursues company goals. Thus, project leaders need to identify the goals of every single process and workflow within the business and set them out before you even begin with reengineering any system. They must redefine your mission for the business on every level—from broad goals to specific end results and benchmarks for every process and employee, and then you can get to work building out systems that will be able to reach those goals. Statistically-backed and specific proposals are necessary; business process reengineering cannot be a matter of guesswork. Defined processes must end in defined goals, and setting down the goals you need to meet first will ensure the new processes you put in place work.
Document Your Process
It’s hard to avoid—business process reengineering takes significant time. You will have to take apart and break down your organization like a machine so that you can oil the cogs and everything can run smoothly again. However, it will make every single task easier to complete, and workflows will be running and reaching goals faster than expected. As reengineering requires you to rebuild entire processes rather than just optimizing them, make sure to thoroughly document the new processes, and the reasons your organization has arrived at them. That way you will always have a golden standard to revisit if you find that the organization is drifting away again or have new employees that need to slot into the workflow. Documentation as you go ensures that the success you find after business process reengineering will last for a long time.
Crucial to any successful reengineering process is a second look at prioritization within the business. List all the systems and workflows within your business (we never said this would be easy work, did we?) and order them by importance. Usually in the span of this process, leaders will also find redundant functions and tasks within their organization. Perhaps two employees from different departments are entering leads into a system, or inventory is being tracked in two ways when only one is necessary. You will then have a list that you can begin consolidating and cutting, thereby freeing up time, money and employees for opportunities that can drive revenue and innovations within your company.
Similar and parallel workflows need to be rearranged to happen close to each other. If a decision is being made that directly affects the customers or potential clients, ensure that it is located among your front-facing office. If two employees work within a specific system entering data, consider uniting the two together on a team project, or reassigning the task to one employee. Map out workflows visually and try to figure out where the awkward cross overs and pain points are located.
These are the tangles that you need to unpack, and are even more important in processes that are happening across multiple locations or global offices. Even if employees must carry out the same task in different offices, make sure that similar processes are considered and modified in the same way, no matter where they are carried out. With Epicor ERP, you can use sophisticated multi-site and global management tools that enforce visibility and streamline operations no matter where you do business.
Consolidate Data Collection and Storage
How does your business currently collect its key data and production information? Whether it’s an aging legacy system that has been administered by multiple employees with widely varying practices over time or a haphazard collection of spreadsheets, the key to improving your data collection process is consolidation.
Make sure every task within your company is only carried out once, and the results are recorded in one place—which can be easily accessed through that same workflow. This not only makes errors and double entries during data process much less likely—some teams might have different best practices—but it will also speed up the job of every single employee when they need to access critical data. Instead of searching around multiple folders and messaging coworkers who might have last seen a file, they can simply go to a main data hub in your ERP instance and cut the time it took to do their job in half. Cutting costs and freeing up employee time for innovation is one of the crucial reasons business process reengineering is so critical for a business that finds itself lagging.
ERP software can lead a radical, and successful, business process reorganization within your company, but only if your workforce is fully committed to the change. Utilize change management best practices and the help of super users to ease employees into the new processes, but don’t let hesitation or pushback slow down the process. You’re restructuring everything for a reason—don’t let broken processes survive simply because they are convenient or they are simply the way things have been done for as long as employees remember. While some systems may stick around because they truly work, others may just be slowing you down and getting more inefficient as they get older. By realigning expectations for how workflows should be run within your business, you can kick start the change your business needs.
Most Important of All…
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to such a huge organizational change? Business process reengineering should always come before any kind of enterprise software implementation. Contrary to what many sales reps might have you believe, ERP is not a silver bullet that can magically fix all of a business’ problems. Certainly, it can help streamline workflows and vastly improve data collection and reporting, but implementing and integrating software into broken processes is an invitation for disaster. Because enterprise software is often so involved and all-encompassing, it can exaggerate communicative problems and amplify the effects of silos within your company. You need to connect your business through process engineering before you then go on to solidify those connections with software.
Looking for more advice on business process reengineering, or wondering if your business needs a refresh before an ERP implementation? Get in touch with an expert consultant at Datix today! An Epicor Platinum Partner with 20 years of ERP consulting experience, we have the software solutions and services manufacturers and distributors require to transform their business.