Business Process Reengineering

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Fundamentally reconsidering and radically redesigning of organizational processes. Explanation of Business Process Reengineering of Hammer and Champy.


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Business Process ReengineeringThe Business Process Reengineering method (BPR) is described by Hammer and Champy as 'the fundamental reconsideration and the radical redesign of organizational processes, in order to achieve drastic improvement of current performance in cost, services and speed'.

Rather than organizing a firm into functional specialties (like production, accounting, marketing, etc.) and to look at the tasks that each function performs, Hammer and Champy recommend that we should look at complete processes. From materials acquisition, towards production, towards marketing and distribution. One should rebuild the firm into a series of processes.

Value creation for the customer is the leading factor for BPR and information technology often plays an important enabling role. Compare: Relationship Marketing


Michael Hammer and James Champy

The main proponents of re-engineering were Michael Hammer and James Champy. In a series of books including Reengineering the Corporation, Reengineering Management, and The Agenda, they argue that far too much time is wasted, passing on tasks from one department to another. They claim that it is far more efficient to appoint a team who perform all the tasks in the process.

A five step approach to Business Process Reengineering

Davenport (1992) prescribes a five-step approach to the Business Process Reengineering model:

  1. Develop the business vision and process objectives: The BPR method is driven by a business vision which implies specific business objectives such as cost reduction, time reduction, output quality improvement.
  2. Identify the business processes to be redesigned: most firms use the 'high-impact' approach which focuses on the most important processes or those that conflict most with the business vision. A lesser number of firms use the 'exhaustive approach' that attempts to identify all the processes within an organization and then prioritize them in order of redesign urgency.
  3. Understand and measure the existing processes: to avoid the repeating of old mistakes and to provide a baseline for future improvements. Compare: Scientific Management
  4. Identify IT levers: awareness of IT capabilities can and should influence BPR.
  5. Design and build a prototype of the new process: the actual design should not be viewed as the end of the BPR process. Rather, it should be viewed as a prototype, with successive iterations. The metaphor of prototype aligns the Business Process Reengineering approach with quick delivery of results, and the involvement and satisfaction of customers.

As an additional 6th step of the BPR method, sometimes you find: to adapt the organizational structure, and the governance model, towards the newly designed primary process.

Generic Circumstances that influence whether BPR is advisable

Although it is difficult to give generic advice about this, some factors that can be considered are:

  • Does the competition clearly outperform the company? Compare: Turnaround Management
  • Are there many conflicts in the organization?
  • Is there an extremely high frequency of meetings?
  • Excessive use of non-structured communication? (memos, emails, etc)
  • Is it possible to consider a more continuous approach of gradual, incremental improvements? (see: Kaizen).

Critics of the BPR approach

Reengineering has earned a bad reputation because such projects have often resulted in massive layoffs. In spite of the hype that surrounded the introduction of Business Process Reengineering, partially due to the fact that the authors of Reengineering the Corporation reportedly bought huge numbers of copies to reach the top of the bestseller lists, the method has not entirely lived up to its expectations. The main reasons seem to be that:

  • BPR assumes that the factor that limits organization's performance is the ineffectiveness of its processes. This may or may not always be true. Also BPR offers no means to validate this assumption.
  • BPR assumes the need to start the process of performance improvement with a "clean slate", i.e. totally disregard the status quo.
  • BPR does not provide an effective way to focus the improvement efforts on the organization's constraints. (As done by Goldratt in the Theory of Constraints).
  • Sometimes, or maybe quite often, a gradual and incremental change (such as Kaizen) may be a better approach.
  • BPR is culturally biased towards the US way of thinking. (see: Cultural Dimensions)

BPR compared to Kaizen

When Kaizen is compared with the BPR method is it clear the Kaizen philosophy is more people-oriented, more easy to implement, but requires long-term discipline and provides only a small pace of change. The Business Process Reengineering approach on the other hand is harder, technology-oriented, it enables radical change but it requires considerable change management skills.

Book: Hammer and Champy - Reengineering the Corporation -

Book: Davenport - Process Innovation -

Business Process Reengineering Forum (35 topics) Help
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  The Role of HR in Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
We already know BPR is not about IT only. But I'd like to find out what can or should be the role of HRM (Human Resource Management) in effective BPR implementations?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts......

BPR - Time Reduction versus Cost

Doing away the manual processes and bringing in technology and tools to make a process time efficient is one way of doing BPR.
However, technology and tools also come at a certain cost. That's why decision makers are often hesitant to invest in ...

Deterministic Machines Concept in BPR

Hi all, could anyone give me a clarification regarding deterministic machines concept in BPR please? How can BPR be viewed in the view of deterministic machine view?...

Developing a Standard Framework for BPR

After reviewing literature, I think that there exists no standard process of BPR. Every company redesigns its processes in its own way.
I believe different cultures, strategies and organizational structures are the main reasons of adapting so ma...

Is BPR Helping ERP or is ERP Helping BPR?

I am a PhD student and my area is BPR. I just want to know your expert opinion (just general) regarding the relationship of BPR and ERP.
It is a fact that BPR uses technology for efficiency however, I have come across that ERP is doing the same....

Cases and Causes of BPR Failure / BPR Disasters

I'm doing research on BPR failure cases. Unfortunately, I can't find any cases to illustrate my research. Could you please tell me where I can find this kind of cases?
Thank you in advance....

Alignment of BPR and IT Solution Approach

I am conducting research as part of a Masters degree on the combination of business process change methodologies i.e. radical and continuous improvement and IT solution approach such as Commerical Of the Shelf (COTS, package software), Business Proce...

Faster and more Flexible than BPR - Alternative Approaches?

Is there any other alternative to BPR? Something that is more flexible, faster and with less work than BPR....

Is BPR Useful for Small Companies (SMEs)?

Can BPR be used in small and middle size companies as well?...

BPR Works only Top-Down

I am a BPR envangelist and in my experience BPR is only effective if it starts from the top, i.e. when senior managers accept the challenge to first revamp their mental models of management before they engage in the process. Otherwise all BPR efforts...

Cases of Successful BPR Implementation / BPR Success Stories

Can you point out companies who were successful in BPR implementation? And what is the success rate of these projects?
I am currently doing my thesis on this topic. Any assistance would be appreciated....

Maintaining the Quality of a BPR Programme

How can quality be maintained during a BPR inititiative?...

Reward Management During Business Reengineering

More often than not, Kenyan organizations in need of adapting to changes in the competitive business environment fail to satisfy the needs of the diverse groups of employees within the company. Many employees are exiting, new ones joining in and othe...

Personal Business Process Reengineering?

Would anyone help me with one doubt here, can the concept of BPR be implemented in anyone’s personal life to have a radical change? Or is BPR specifically for business need only?...

Business Process Reengineering = People

In BPR the people are the process and they are central to the success of any innovative change....

BPR Through E-Governance Initiatives

In the public sector field of a government like India, implementing a 100% BPR would be difficult. Because the waste processes & positions identified out of such exercises would be of greater portion and the government itself would be unsure on how t...

Business Process Reengineering in Agriculture

How to start BPR from clean sheet for large and very old agri industry? Any effective guide line? Thank You!...

BPR is Like A Pipeline Through Pour Water

We know that drinking water comes through a tube for transporting clean water even when it's going through pour water. Without the pipe we do not get clean water. Similarly, to bring change in our country we need to implement BPR. Otherwise, for how ...

BPR is not an End, but a Means

BPR is not an end, it is a means to an end....

Misunderstandings around BPR

Many people misunderstand the concept of BPR as a natural phenomenon or for resisting changes to roll back from its unfavorable impact. Say downsizing. Such people are heard in quoting wrong sayings like "Blood Pressure Raising", but the truth is BP...
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Expert Tips - Business Process Reengineering Premium
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Comparison Kaizen vs. Innovation

Appreciate the Differences...

List of Reasons for Business Process Reengineering Failure

BPR Implementation, BPR Pitfalls

Success Factors of BPR

BPR Best Practices, BPR Implementation

Comprehensive Step by Step BPR Approach

Generic Business Process Reengineering Methodology

BPR Guidelines by Hammer

BPR Implementation Best Practices

How to Re-engineer the Process Flow?

Guidelines and Ideas for Process Redesign

Leadership Strategies for Change

Initiate, implement, develop and sustain change

Using Appreciative Inquiry to Improve Business Processes

Alternate Approach

Innovating Bottom-up or Top-down

Corporate Innovation Approaches

Business Processes by Goal

BPM Categories, BPM Types, BPM Classification

BPR Key Success Factors

BPR, Best Practices

Morris & Brandon's BPR View

Organizational Change

Harrington's Business Process Redesign

Lower Impact and Less Risky BPR

Business Processes by the Way they Develop

BPM Categories, BPM Types, BPM Classification

Comparison TQM and BPR | Comparing Total Quality Management versus Business Process Reengineering

Learn form the Differences...

Supply Chain Processes to Consider

Business Process Redesign, Supply Chain Management

Business Processes by Focus Area

BPM Categories, BPM Types, BPM Classification

Types of Change. Classification

Change Management, Organizational Change, Expected/Unexpected Change, Incremental/Radical Change

Davenport's BPR Approach

BPR Implementation

How to Lead an Innovation Team

Best Practices, Innovation Team Management

Process Analysis and Diagnosis Techniques and Tools

BPR, Business Process Modeling

Remember to Focus your Improvement Efforts?

Achieve More With Less, Kaizen, BPR, JIT, Lean, Value Chain

The Role of IT in Business Process Reengineering


The Process Vision

Process Approaches, Organizational Development, Organizational Change

Typical Improvements by Leveraging Information Technology


The Human Factor in BPR and Continuous Improvement

The Attitude of People is Key

Resources - Business Process Reengineering Premium
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In-depth Overview of Business Process Reengineering

BPR Introduction Business Process Reengineering

Business Process Management and Improvement: Six Sigma, BPR and (R)Evolutionary Change

Process Management, process Improvement, Business Process Reengineering, BPR, Six Sigma

22 Best Practices in Change Management

Change Management, Organizational Change

BPR Implementation in Europe

BPR, Change Management

Introduction to Service Management

Initial Understanding of the Difference Between Service Management and Systems Management

The Importance of Noncustomers

Market Research, Customer Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Customer Survey Pitfalls

Interview Hammer: Why Business Process Redesign?

Introduction. The Case / Main Reasons for BPR

BPR Diagram

Business Process Reengineering

3-Minute Summary of BPR

Initial Understanding of Business Process Reengineering


Process Reengineering


Bpr Organization


Process Reengineering


Bpr Organization


Process Reengineering


Bpr Organization


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Bpr Organization

Compare BPR with:  Outsourcing  |  Change Phases  |  Catastrophe Theory  |  Organic Organization  |  Core Group Theory  |  Appreciative Inquiry  |  Positive Deviance  |  Forget Borrow Learn  |  Planned Behavior  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Kaizen  |  Value Engineering  |  Value Stream Mapping  |  Change Management  |  Six Change Approaches  |  Managing for Value  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Eight Attributes of Management Excellence  |  Five Disciplines  |  Ten Principles of Reinvention  |  Fourteen Points of Management  |  Blue Ocean Strategy  |  Bottom of the Pyramid

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