Best practices

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Omega 33 (2005) 283 – 306 www.elsevier.com/locate/dsw

Best practices in business process redesign: an overview and qualitative evaluation of successful redesign heuristics
H.A. Reijersa;∗ , S. Liman Mansarb
of Information and Technology, Faculty of Technology and Management, Eindhoven University of Technology (PAV D14,) P.O. Box 513, Eindhoven,5600 MB, Netherlands b Department of Computing, Communications Technology and Mathematics, London Metropolitan University, 2-16 Eden Grove, London N7 8EA, UK Received 25 April 2002; accepted 23 April 2004
a Department

Abstract To implement business process redesign several best practices can be distinguished. This paper gives an overview of heuristic rules that can support practitioners todevelop a business process design that is a radical improvement of a current design. The emphasis is on the mechanics of the process, rather than on behavioral or change management aspects. The various best practices are derived from a wide literature survey and supplemented with experiences of the authors. To evaluate the impact of each best practice along the dimensions of cost, exibility, time andquality, a conceptual framework is presented that synthesizes views from areas such as information systems development, enterprise modeling and work ow management. The best practices are thought to have a wide applicability across various industries and business processes. They can be used as a “check list” for process redesign under the umbrella of diverse management approaches such as Total CycleTime compression, the Lean Enterprise and Constraints Management. ? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Business process redesign; Operations management; MIS; Heuristics

1. Introduction A business process redesign (BPR) initiative is commonly seen as a twofold challenge (e.g. [1–3]): • a technical challenge, which is due to the di culty of developing a process design that is aradical improvement of the current design, • and a socio-cultural challenge, resulting from the severe organizational e ects on the involved people, which may lead them to react against those changes. Apart from these challenges, project management of a BPR initiative itself is also often named as a separate BPR challenge (e.g. [4]).


Tel.: +31-40-247-2290; fax: +31-40-243-2612. E-mailaddress: jreijers@win.tue.nl (H.A. Reijers).

Many methodologies, techniques, and tools have been proposed that face one or more of the mentioned challenges in a more or less integrated approach (for an overview see [5]). Prescriptive literature in the ÿeld is sometimes advertised as “a step-by-step guide to business transformation” (e.g. [1]) suggesting a complete treatment of the organizational andtechnical issues involved with BPR. However, work like this seems to be primarily aimed at impressing a business audience. At best it gives some directions to manage organizational risk, but commonly lacks actual technical direction to (re)design a business process. Even the classic work of Hammer and Champy [6] devotes only 14 out of a total of over 250 pages to this issue, of which 11 pages areused for the description of a case. Gerrits [7] mentions: “In the literature on BPR, examples of successful BPR implementations are given. Unfortunately, the literature restricts itself to descriptions of the ’situation before’ and the ’situation after’, giving very little information on the

0305-0483/$ - see front matter ? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.omega.2004.04.012 284

H.A. Reijers, S. Liman Mansar / Omega 33 (2005) 283 – 306

redesign process itself”. According to Motwani et al. [8], in the meanwhile, research in BPR progressed slightly to also include the development of conceptual models for assessing and executing BPR. However, the main criticism to these models/steps is that there has been little e ort to use the existing theory to develop a...
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