Reengineering the Corporation
Reengineering 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" (Hammer & Champy 35). From this definition it is clear that Reengineering is an ongoing, iterative process itself requiring strong commitment and vision from senior management.
Reengineering involves the total creative rethinking of one or more of a company's key business processes. No business assumption or organizational structure is sacred. All to often these structures evolved during a time when consumer markets were less competitive and access to information was controlled by centralized, unresponsive IS departments using technology obsolete by today's standards. Often this rethinking is triggered by an existing or looming crisis.
In the case of Bell Atlantic (Hammer & Champy 55, 70-71), they were losing accounts left and right because it took them four times as long as MCI, Sprint and others to provide customers connect services for high speed digital circuits.
They assembled case teams that enabled the elimination of orders being passed between people across departmental lines. In the end this workflow operated ten times faster than the assembly line version it replaced.
To be successful the reengineering effort must be spearheaded by at least one senior executive with clout. The executive's authority and influence needs to cut across functional departments. Business processes such as order fulfillment, sales, service and product development often span functional departments such as purchasing, shipping, and engineering. This senior executive must be a key player in developing the business case, i.e., why there is a need for change, and finally stating the ultimate goals and vision for the company. He also plays a key role in determining which processes require reengineering. The level of dysfunction, impact on the company,