A myriad of books and articles refer to the idea of business process reengineering (BPR). The purpose of this website is not to comprehensively treat the idea of BPR, since BPR is a single project undertaken by a firm and not an approach of managing a firm based on its processes on an ongoing basis. Therefore this website should only roughly outline the concept of BPR.
Business Process Reengineering is defined by Hammer and Champy (1993) as “…the fundamental rethinking and the radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service and speed.”
BPR has a lot of different interpretations. Coulson-Thomas (1995) differentiates between two types of business process redesign. He calls the first type “process simplification” which refers to incremental improvement of processes. This approach can yield incremental improvements through documentation, analysis and then redesign of current processes. By contrast, the second type of process redesign is about the fundamental “process re-engineering” which involves radical change. Radical change means a fundamental transformation, e.g. implementing completely new processes or rebuilding the whole organization. Similarly, Childe et al. (1994) differentiate between incremental and radical types of BPR. In practice, both types of business process redesign are labeled as BPR (Armistead and Machin, 1998). In this website, the definition of Coulson-Thomas is followed, i.e. BPR is not considered to be an incremental change or improvement of a business process but a fundamental and radical redesign of business processes.