When electricity was first popularized at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a huge wave of factories that replaced their steam engines with electrical engines in an effort to increase productivity and modernize operations. However, the initial productivity gains from the electrification were barely noticeable–a phenomenon known in the economics literature as the productivity paradox and popularized by Stanford economist Paul David.

When researchers tried to find out why, they found that the electrification of factories basically involved the replacement of steam engines and pipes with dynamos and wires while everything else remained the same. It took a long time for industrial engineers to realize that the beauty of electricity didn’t rely only on the fact that it was a cheaper, more powerful and dependablesource of energy but also that it allowed them to completely rethink the manufacturing process. Industrial engineers and plant managers eventually realized that thanks to electricity they now could move machines in ways that allowed workers to work more efficiently, change the layout of the factory or create an assembly line.

And it was then and only then, through the combination of new technologies and better processes, that productivity finally increased.

We at the Integration & Trade Sector face a similar challenge. During the initial discussions about the scope and needs of a new trade modernization project, a large portion of the dialogue focuses on the infrastructure and technology without fully reflecting on the changes in processes that will be required.

(Video) BPR principles and Methodology

Just like we saw during the industrial electrification, to get the most out of your IT investment, it is imperative to also modernize theprocesses that determine how things are actuallydone.

That is precisely why our trade modernization projects usually begin with a thorough business process reengineering (BPR). Exporting and, especially, importing goods in developing countries is a feat of formidable complexity. Traders must comply with a myriad of redundant government regulations issued by different government agencies characterized by the lack of coordination and, in many occasions, subject to the discretionality of the officers.

So what have we learned from the reengineering and implementation of new processes? Although every BPR is different, here are 7 lessons learned:

  1. Very few people understand the whole process

When conducting the mapping and reengineering of processes, we have found that very few people understand the end-to-end process. Government officials may understand their own piece but not how the entire process works from beginning to end. In trade, this is particularly problematic given the multitude of government agencies involved in the export-import process. Contrary to popular belief, customs administrations are only one administration, although an important one, involved in the import-export process. As a matter of fact, data from the World Bank indicates that customs administrations are only responsible for ⅓ of the delays at the border, and United Nations estimates that the average transaction requires 40 documents and 200 data elements (60-70% of whichare re-entered at least once). Therefore, it is critically important to have a holistic approach and a clear understanding of the whole process so that the intervention can eliminate all bottlenecks and not just those on any given administration.

(Video) BPR Case Studies (HD)

  1. Blame the process, not the people

When you focus on a business process, it appears less threatening than focusing on the employees who do the work. Identifying bottlenecks and cumbersome bureaucracy and linking them to the process instead of to particular employees leads to less threatening and more palatable solutions.

  1. Regulation 2.0

The changes in processes must not be constrained by what the current regulatory framework allows, butinstead follow international best practices. This will inevitably require some sort of automation, digitalization of paper forms, data exchange, electronic payments and signatures, and thus substantial changes in the regulatory environment. Therefore, a good BPR must also indicate the changes needed in terms of legislation and regulation in each administration.

  1. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

Process reengineering affects the entire ecosystem of all administrations involved, that’s why it is of paramount importance that the whole organization embraces the BPR as their own initiative. Although there is not a magic recipe for this, a good way to help developing a sense of ownership are interactive and regular meetings across all levels of the administration. These meetings, properly executed, represent a great opportunity to gain supporters and also involve everyone in the process asking for recommendations and suggestions. Similarly, an incremental implementation of the changes and a detailed explanation of why they’re needed not only give people peace of mind but it helps minimize the possibility of rumors that may undermine the process. The employee must be an active participant in the process and not a witness of it. Real change happens from the inside and it is naive to believe that a consultant or consulting firm is going to bring about structural changes without the support of the workforce.

  1. Anticipate the impact and develop tailor made solutions

Many government agencies derive their revenue, all or in part, from paper-based processes. Therefore automation essentially kills their main source of funding (and power). A good BPR will anticipate these objections and develop a well thought out solution with all parties involved. Similarly, some government agencies are more mature than others in terms of IT use, so it is essential to identify at an early stagethe agencies that will require more financial support and training and budget accordingly.

(Video) Business Process Reengineering: A Key Component of ERP ROI

  1. The cost of inaction is key

Identifying the weaknesses and bottlenecks of the current processes and recommending new ones is not enough to prompt organizations to take action. Ideally, a good BPR should not only highlight the potential gains from the implementation of the new processes, but also estimate the cost and lost revenue that the status quo is causing. For example, in a recent BPR we detected significant loopholes in the import process of luxury vehicles, oil and dry bulk cargo that were costing the government millions in lost revenue. I cannot emphasize enough this point. Humans are hardwired to be risk averse and research has proven time and time again that we feel the pain of loss more acutely than we feel the pleasure of gain (it’s what behavioral economists and psychologists call loss aversion). Bottom line: when the cost of inaction is higher than the cost of action, people take action.

  1. Excellence is a habit, not an act

The BPR must not be seen as a one-time activity, but as a new philosophy of doing things. International trade changes constantly and that is why it is important to develop a culture of continuous improvement where employees are incentivized to constantly refine processes.

Cutting a jungle path through thousands of pages of overgrown and, in some cases, outdated government regulations is a tedious and titanic effort. If looked at individually, every inefficient process might seem benign and trivial at first sight, and therefore it is no wonder that they are frequently overlooked. Plus it is always difficult to fight against the inertia of the past. However, we must not underestimate the impact of seemingly small things as we can see in the following image:


We must not underestimate the impact of seemingly small things.

(Video) #19 Business process re-engineering in management - process, advantages & disadvantages |MS|

Furthermore, policy makers must analyze the impact of processes as a whole, and not just individually or by administration. It’s only through a careful and methodical analysis of all processes when we are actually able to appreciate the magnitude of the problem, and the cumulative effect of the process ecosystem. As the proverb goes, no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

Finally, governments and nations cannot choose their natural resources or their neighbors. But they can definitely choose how they conduct businesses and interact with the civil society, private sector and the rest of the world. Every government has a moral responsibility to design and provide the best services possible to their citizens no matter how trivialthey may seem. As John F. Kennedy once said, not everybody is in a position to do extraordinary things, but we can all do ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

(Video) What is Business Process Management? | Introduction to Process Improvement


What are the 7 phases of business process re engineering? ›

Also called Business Process Redesign, it's an approach to structurally changing your process workflows. What are the 7 steps of BPR implementation? Vision, Hypothesis, Mining, Design, Simulation, Go Live, and Monitoring.

What are the key concepts of business process reengineering? ›

The concept of business processes – interrelated activities aiming at creating a value added output to a customer – is the basic underlying idea of BPR. These processes are characterized by a number of attributes: Process ownership, customer focus, value adding, and cross-functionality.

What is the difference between business process improvement and business process reengineering? ›

Reengineering is the most advanced and holistic form of process improvement. Whereas most process improvement is incremental and focused on tweaking sub-processes, process reengineering is transformational. It involves completely changing the entire process to achieve an entirely different result.

What is the primary goal of business process reengineering? ›

Business processes are redesigned from the ground up with a renewed focus on the company's mission and the customers' needs. For most companies, the primary goal of BPR is to radically improve productivity, quality, and cost-efficiency, transforming a company that is barely competitive into a serious contender.

What is the importance of business process reengineering in performance management? ›

Business Process Reengineering reduces costs and cycle times by eliminating unproductive activities and the employees who perform them. Reorganization by teams decreases the need for management layers, accelerates information flows and eliminates the errors and rework caused by multiple handoffs. Improve quality.

What is the most important factor in BPR success? ›

According to the results, having the BPR project motivated by customer demand and competitive pressure, on the average, is considered to be more important for project success than the use of industry specialists or other outsiders.

How do you achieve successful BPR? ›

Take a look at these five key factors in making a BPR initiative successful.
  1. Agency/Leadership Commitment and Sponsorship. ...
  2. Inclusion of the Right People. ...
  3. Clear Understanding of the Business Needs. ...
  4. Crucial Change Management. ...
  5. Ongoing Continuous Improvement.
11 Feb 2020

What are the benefits of Business Process Reengineering? ›

The benefits of BPR are countless – increased revenue, improved customer service, reduced cost, higher employee retention, faster processing time. Nearly any business benefit can be gained from business process reengineering. However, the key is when to use BPR.

What is business process improvement methodology? ›

Business process improvements are methodologies in which a team evaluates their current processes and adapts them with the intent to increase productivity, streamline workflows, adapt to changing business needs, or increase profitability.

What is business process engineering example? ›

Business process engineering is a way in which organizations study their current business processes and develop new methods to improve productivity, efficiency, and operational costs.

How do you redesign your business processes? ›

If a redesign makes sense, it's essential for a business to consider going through a series of steps including:
  1. Setting up clear goals and intentions.
  2. Identifying core business processes.
  3. Determining any gaps or areas that require improvement.
  4. Designing and developing changes.
  5. Implementing and monitoring changes.

How can business process reengineering be improved? ›

Below are the 5 Business Process Re-engineering Steps:
  1. Map the current state of your business processes. ...
  2. Analyze them and find any process gaps or disconnects. ...
  3. Look for improvement opportunities and validate them. ...
  4. Design a cutting-edge future-state process map. ...
  5. Implement future state changes and be mindful of dependencies.

What is the first step in the process of business process reengineering? ›

BPR Implementation | Business Process Reengineering Steps
  1. Step 1: Set the vision and business goals. ...
  2. Step 2: Establish a competent team. ...
  3. Step 3: Understand the current process. ...
  4. Step 4: Redesign the process. ...
  5. Step 5: Implement the reengineered process.

How BPR adds value to an organization? ›

BPR is an approach to improving business processes that seeks to make revolutionary changes as opposed to small, iterative changes. BPR does this by taking a fresh look at what the organization is trying to do in all its business processes, and then eliminating non-value-added steps.

What is importance of re engineering? ›

Benefits of reengineering business processes

Through reengineering, companies can identify materials, production processes, and equipment contributing to waste in the company. Similarly, reengineering helps identify redundant roles among staff, which companies can merge or remove.

Why is it BPR important in companies and what companies does it apply? ›

BPR allows companies to redesign their processes by enabling cross-functional teams to work together to determine areas of improvement and ways to optimize them for maximum value.

What is the importance of process engineering in organization? ›

A process engineer is responsible for ensuring that projects within individual departments align with the goals and objectives of the organization. Collaboration between departments can make or break a company's success, and therefore it is crucial for department-based projects to complement one another.

What are the four basic components of process reengineering? ›

4 Components of an Organisation for Business Process...
  • Leader of BPRE Team: ...
  • Process Owners: ...
  • Reengineering Teams: ...
  • Non members (other employees) involved in the reengineered process:

What are the six critical success factors for re engineering? ›

The factors are teamwork and quality culture, quality management system and satisfactory rewards, effective change management, less bureaucratic and participative, information technology/information system, effective project management and adequate financial resources.

What are the emerging issues in business process reengineering? ›

The top challenges and factors affecting the implementation of business process reengineering includes –
  • Inadequate Knowledge.
  • Wrong Direction and Irregularity in Implementation.
  • Unsuited Team Formulation.
  • Insufficient And Incorrect Placement Of Resources.
  • Unsound analysis and lack of support.

What causes business process re engineering fail? ›

Planning Requirements

A root cause of failure amongst many BPR projects in the past has been poor planning. Planning is as necessary to BPR as air is to you and I – BPR will not work without adequate planning and preparation. Existing processes must be analyzed and measured rigorously.

What causes business process reengineering to fail? ›

BPR process may fail due to change management and factors including are; problems with communication i.e. change may not be communicated properly, failure may be due to poor communication or lack of reward and motivation, resistance to change is one of the common factor faced by most of the organization and one of the ...

What are the four main reasons for redesigning business processes? ›

All of these results come together to bring more profit to your business: Lower operational costs as a result of streamlining and eliminating some processes. Better organization and goals creating more productive (and maybe happier) employees. Better products driving more sales.

What are the benefits of process improvement? ›

The benefits of process improvement
  • Automate tedious, repetitive, or menial tasks for greater process efficiency.
  • Better allocate time, employees, or resources to save money.
  • Streamline or replace products to increase competitive advantage.

Why a process is important? ›

Why are processes important? They are important because they describe how things are done and then provides the focus for making them better and how they are done determines how successful the outcomes will be. If you focus on the right processes, in the right way, you can design your way to success.

What is the first step of the 7 step improvement process? ›

The Seven-Step Improvement Process

Let us start with the Purpose or Goal of the process. The goal is to define and manage the steps needed to identify, define, gather process, analyze, present and implement improvements.

What are the five steps in business process improvement? ›

DMAIC is an acronym for the five-step cycle used for process improvements. These five steps are: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.

What does a business process engineer do? ›

Business process engineers focus on designing and developing manufacturing procedures. They manage the processes in a company by examining systems, identifying weaknesses, and proposing possible patches. Business process engineers may also install machine upgrades or retrofit existing devices to serve new purposes.

How do you implement process improvement? ›

Here are the steps to do so.
  1. Step 1: Identify the improvement opportunity. ...
  2. Step 2: Obtain stakeholder buy-in. ...
  3. Step 3: Design the process improvement plan. ...
  4. Step 4: Test the changes. ...
  5. Step 5: Monitor and optimize.
18 May 2022

How do you review a improvement process? ›

Reviewing and improving your process management
  1. Select your process. ...
  2. Discuss the existing process with your team. ...
  3. Set metrics to measure success. ...
  4. Map out the current process. ...
  5. Get to the bottom of all variants. ...
  6. Review each individual step. ...
  7. Map a new process. ...
  8. Test the reworked process.

How can a company improve internal operations? ›

Examine communication processes & improve where needed
  1. Avoid data silos, where only a few people are informed about projects or company policies.
  2. Form cross-departmental teams on critical projects to get varying perspectives.
  3. Hold team lunches and staff retreats to build camaraderie among staff members.

Which of the following is the concept of reengineering? ›


Reengineering is most commonly defined as the redesign of business processes—and the associated systems and organizational structures—to achieve a dramatic improvement in business performance.

What are the three phases of BPR describe each? ›

Business process reengineering is implemented in 3 phases, analysis, design, and implementation phases. Implementation of all these phases should be followed by communication throughout the organization. The analysis phase of BPR starts with the analysis of the process to be reengineered.

What is process engineering in business? ›

Business process engineering refers to the study of business processes so that they can be improved and streamlined for optimum efficiency in terms of both performance and cost.

What is the purpose of business process reengineering quizlet? ›

What is the purpose of business process reengineering? Business process management integrates all of an organization's business process to make individual processes more efficient. BPM can be used to solve a single glitch or to create one unifying system to consolidate a myriad of processes.

What is the first step in the process of Business Process Reengineering? ›

BPR Implementation | Business Process Reengineering Steps
  1. Step 1: Set the vision and business goals. ...
  2. Step 2: Establish a competent team. ...
  3. Step 3: Understand the current process. ...
  4. Step 4: Redesign the process. ...
  5. Step 5: Implement the reengineered process.

What is another word for reengineering? ›

What is another word for reengineering?

What is the first phase in BPR? ›

BPR Cycle: Plan, Discover, Analyze, Re-Model and Implement are the five steps of BPR. BPR implementation completes in three phase; first phase-process consulting, second phase-change management, and third phase- project management.

How can Business Process Reengineering be improved? ›

Below are the 5 Business Process Re-engineering Steps:
  1. Map the current state of your business processes. ...
  2. Analyze them and find any process gaps or disconnects. ...
  3. Look for improvement opportunities and validate them. ...
  4. Design a cutting-edge future-state process map. ...
  5. Implement future state changes and be mindful of dependencies.

How could effective quality management processes help an organization to improve? ›

It helps an organization achieve greater consistency in tasks and activities that are involved in the production of products and services. It increases efficiency in processes, reduces wastage, and improves the use of time and other resources. It helps improve customer satisfaction.

What is business process give an example? ›

They are the processes that directly create revenue. Examples include: product manufacturing, order to cash process, and delivering products to customers.

What is business process engineering example? ›

Business process engineering is a way in which organizations study their current business processes and develop new methods to improve productivity, efficiency, and operational costs.

What strategic role can information play in Business Process Reengineering? ›

The role of information systems in business reengineering aims at major gains by lowering costs, raising quality of products, and cutting the time-to-market for new goods and services.

What is the difference between reengineering and continuous improvement? ›

continuous improvement: how do they differ? Both business process engineering and continuous improvement focus on reshaping existing processes, but BPR aims to shake things up fundamentally. BPR focuses on outcomes instead of individual tasks.

What is a business process a the analysis and redesign of workflow within and between enterprises? ›

Business process reengineering (BPR) is the analysis and redesign of workflow within and between enterprises.

What are the steps in business process reengineering quizlet? ›

Terms in this set (5)
  • define organization horse power strategy you want to adopt.
  • identify the effective process that need to be reengineered.
  • identify the goal for each process.
  • identify the process participants and a facilitator for each process.
  • mapping the "as is " process.


1. Business Process Management Course - Lecture 8: Business Process Redesign (part 1)
(Marlon Dumas)
2. Engaging Primary Care Practices in Quality Improvement
(AHRQ Primary Care)
3. The Most Common Business Process Improvements From Digital Transformations
(Eric Kimberling - Digital Transformation)
4. Five Steps to Business Process Management and Improvement [How to Begin Business Process Management]
(Eric Kimberling - Digital Transformation)
5. Business Process Improvement Tutorial for Beginners | BPI Methodologies & Tools | Invensis Learning
(Invensis Learning)
6. The Outstanding Organization - The Power of Focus
(TKMG, Inc. and TKMG Academy, Inc.)

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