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Business Process Reengineering - Its Relevance and Role to the 21st Century Companies

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Business Process Reengineering - Its Relevance and Role to the 21st Century Companies 1. Overview of the Current Business Environment The three Cs - Customer, Competition, and Change - have created a new world for business. It is increasingly apparent that organization designed to operate in one environment can't operate too well in another. The environment that organizations are facing now involves "Mass Customisation", which is totally different from the previous "Mass Production" age. According to Turban and McLean (1992), "Mass Production was the age that company produced a large quantity of identical, standard product for future distribution to the customer." The philosophy of mass production is to produce low cost and inexpensive product for the customers by utilizing economies-of-scale. Now, the trend has moved to Mass Customisation. The basic concept of mass customization is to enable a company producing large volumes, to customize the product to the specification of individual customer (Pine, 1993). Mass customisation drives the company to be lean, nimble, flexible, responsive, competitive, innovative, effective, customer-focused, and profitable. In order to fit with the current environment, the company has to think of ways to adapt to the change. That means, the company must transform from "Mass Production" to "Mass Customisation". A solution to this is Business Process Reengineering (BPR). According to Hammer and Champy (1993), BPR is "the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed." ...read more.


In this research, the author adopts this definition of re-engineering. And use the existing case studies to illustrate the right understanding of BPR definition will contribute the successful of BPR. There are five steps to implement BPR according to Henry and Patrick (1993) Step 1: Discover: what are the company's strategic aims? Step 2: Assess: which processes are to be improved? Step 3: Analyze: the current process Step 4: Redesign-design new process Step 5:Implementation- of the new design The implementation of BPR in the several existing case studies will be discussed according to the above five steps. The role of IT plays an important function. According to Hammer (1990), " we should re-engineer our business: use the power of modern information technology to radically redesign our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in our performance." IT is the key enabler to achieve BPR success. Similarly, the role of IT will be assessed in the chosen case studies to see how the theory meets the practice. That is, the ability of IT to break the rules that makes it critical to companies looking for competitive advantage. 4. Research methodology 4. 1 Data collection method There are two types of data to be collected: secondary data and primary data. The main method of gathering secondary data for the purpose of this research is through books, journals and articles available. Using secondary data may have fewer resource requirements; may be unobtrusive; longitudinal studies may be feasible; could provide comparative and contextual data; and could result in unforeseen discoveries and performance of data. ...read more.


5. Limitation of research There are quite a few limitations that will be expected to be encountered on this research. First, due to the topic of the project, there is limitation of research methodologies. It is quite difficult to conduct interview. Finding a company who had successfully performed reengineering and is willing to be interviewed is difficult. People in the business world all are busy, it is not easy to make appointment to interview them. For one, time is limited. The company may also not agree to release vital information which is sensitive to the company's future direction. And also it is impossible to use other methodologies, like experiment, ethnography, and etcs. Second is the limitation of secondary data (book, internet, journal). The book is written by someone for his or her own purpose. So collected data may not be consistent with the particular objective. The author should decide which data to use to addressing the objectives of the project. Books and journals were published several years ago. Some concept might no longer match the current situation of the present days. Some of the information gathered might be outdated. Third involves the existing case studies. Due to limited time and resource, the author can only choose a limited number of case study to serve the purpose of the report. It can't represent all companies in all fields. Therefore, conclusions drawn are limited to companies studied or companies closely related to case companies. Fourth, due to the limited time and resource, this report just focuses on process management, and IT development. ...read more.

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