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What is 'Business Process Re-engineering' (BPR)?


Frequently Asked Questions

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) is an approach to re-structuring the value creating processes in an organisation. The idea is to gain significant benefits in productivity, profitability, service, and quality through maximising the potential of individuals and teams. However, instead of trying to improve on existing processes and organisational forms, BPR suggests that it is better to abandon it all away and start again.

BPR takes the customer as the starting point. It aims to develop organisations which provide value, service and quality to all customers, external and internal to the organisation. Focusing on the business processes is the same as focusing on the activities in the organisation which turn inputs into outputs by adding value. The aim is to fundamentally question and change the way this is done in the organisation. This includes both looking at how people work in the organisation and what technology they use.

The move away from functional specialisation and towards teams is important within BPR. The idea is to be customer focused by letting a small sub-part of the organisation handle one customer instead of having a huge number of people perform the various functions. Other important aspects of Business Process Re-engineering are: the technology to support a team-based, customer-focused organisation (especially information technology); a reduction of hierarchy; a rewards system; plus strategy and culture.

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The European Handbook of Management Consultancy, Oak Tree Press, Dublin, Ireland, 1995 (ISBN 1-86076-010-4)

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