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Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution is a book authored by Michael Hammer and James Champy. The book is about the radical restructuring of an enterprises' processes, culture, and the whole organization. The authors provide readers with insights on how there can rejuvenate their organizations by speeding them up, making them more flexible, and reach higher levels of satisfaction to customers. The book makes some concept obsolete. These concepts include managerial hierarchy, elaborate controls, and division of labor. It encourages leaders in corporations to put more emphasis on rethinking sets of end-to-end processes which are focused on increasing value to customers. The focus of this paper is to provide observations in the form of a summary after reading the book.
The main idea of the book is re-engineering a corporation. According to Hammer and Champy (2009), re-engineering within the context of a business is a process where the organization chooses to ignore all traditions and norms that have characterized the running of the business in the past. After disregarding the norms, the company develops new processes that are business centered which enable the organization to attain a forward leap in performance. Hammer and Champy (2009) assert that for this change to occur organizational heads must first adopt a fresh perspective. The authors describe this process of change as one that entails taking a new sheet of paper and writing down information that is known about customers including their likes and dislikes. Using the information, the organization then optimizes the process of satisfying customers. In essence, reengineering encompasses retiring an organization that exists and then creating an optimized one.
The concept of reengineering encompasses two aspects. The two aspects are the fundamental rethink of business processes and radical redesign of a business process. The outcomes of undertaking these two aspects are benefiting from sustainable improvements in the performance of the business. Examples of areas in a business that increase performance include the reduction of costs, increasing of speed of serving customers and increasing the quality of products and services.
The concept of reengineering arose from the need to enable a business to compete in contemporary time actively. Evidently, the concept was built upon the limitations of traditions businesses process. Hammer and Champy (2009) state examples of these limitations include exercising bureaucracy in companies, using a hierarchical organizational structure which has its disadvantages, and worker performing a small bit of a complex work function and having to wait for the work to be brought to them. Such work processes inevitably resulted in rigidity, increased overhead costs and the inability to beat deadlines.
After such organizations have undergone re-engineering the adopts some observable characteristic. Hammer and Champy (2009) state that some of these characteristics are having business processes that are simplified, expanding job descriptions and making them multi-dimensional and employees are empowered and no longer controlled. Additionally, a re-engineered organization focuses on team efforts rather than individual achievements, has a flat organization structure rather than a pyramid structure and the employees are no longer preoccupies with pleasing the boss but are focused on pleasing the customer. Also, superiors cease from being a boss and become a coach, the organization is no longer aligned to departments but to end to end processes, and measurement of performance becomes focused on results rather than activities.
There are a number of requirements that a business needs to adhere to so as to become reengineered. One of these requirements is combining several jobs into one. The combination of several jobs into one reverses the assembly line approach undertaking tasks where many people are involved in doing one task, but none of them is held accountable. The assimilation of the several jobs results in the desired outcome of eliminating efficiencies errors and delays. Another requirement is decentralizing decision making from managers to workers hence increasing their independence. The advantages of decentralizing decision-making are reducing delays, reducing costs and empowering workers hence motivating them.
The third requirement is ensuring that work is performed where it makes the most sense. The requirement discourages traditional work processes where work was physically transported to the location of the specialist hence consuming time, increasing costs and increasing the responsibilities of employees by requiring them to keep track of things and fitting all components of the item together. Thus, requiring the work is performed where it makes most sense ensures that work functions are conducted near organizational boundaries (Hammer and Champy, 2009). For instance, it makes more sense to call a mechanic to repair stalled company tractors on sight that transport all of them to his or her garage.
The other requirement is that checks and controls should be reduced or if possible, eliminated. An engineered process requires that checks and controls are established only in areas that make economic sense. In reality, most engineered organizations possess controls that are cumulative of configurations and do not seek permissions for every individual scenario (Hammer and Champy, 2009). The benefit of the methodology is that the identification of problems that arise and efforts to solve them occurs with ease.
Often, enterprises that have been successful in re-engineering their programs are found to have five critical roles filled with suitable persons. According to Hammer and Champy, (2009), these roles include the leader, the process owner, the reengineering team, the re-engineering czar and the steering committee. The roles of each person the structure are stipulated in hierarchical form. For instance, the leader is responsible for appointing the process owner. The process owner then assembles an engineering team while being assisted by the czar. Lastly, the czars are provided with support by the steering committee.
The requirements for being a leader include being a senior executive of the organization and possess sufficient influence to initiate change in the organization. The leader must have also had the skills to build consensus among his followers as well as persuasion skills. Most often, the process owner is a senior manager at the organization who possess high levels of prestige and credibility. The process owner is also often required to facilitate the occurrence of the re-engineering process at the individual level process. The occurrence, therefore, necessitates that the process owner must have knowledge of any of the functions that will be taken through the re-engineering process.
The re-engineering team is responsible for taking the hands one approach in the process. The team does most of the work, which encompasses making decisions, figuring out which areas of the process need more resources and prioritizing work. The team is often composed of five to ten individuals and it often advisable to incorporate outsiders, who are people who do not work in the organization into the team. The steering committee is primarily a collection of senior managers in the organization. They are largely responsible for offering solutions to any issues and conflicts that may arise. They are also responsible for monitoring the performance of the process and the results. Lastly, the re-engineering czar manages and coordinates all of the work conducted by the reengineering team (Hammer and Champy, 2009).
In their book, Hammer and Champy (2009), discuss case studies of companies that have undertaken the engineering process and note some common themes in these organizations. One of these themes is that a business should focus on processes rather than focusing on its boundaries. The second theme is that these organizations demonstrated the ambition to create breakthroughs through increasing their performance. Thirdly, the organizations were willing to do away with old traditions and rules that governed their processes. Lastly, they were willing to embrace the use of new information technology.
In conclusion, the re-engineering processes are one that possesses immense benefits to an organization. The process essentially encompasses retiring an organization that exists and then creating an optimized one. It involves two aspects which are the fundamental rethink of business processes and radical redesign of a business process. The undertaking of these two aspects results in sustainable improvements in the performance of the business. The concept was built upon the limitations of traditions businesses process which resulted in in rigidity, increased overhead costs and the inability to beat deadlines. A business that is successful in undertaking reengineering establishes some roles which include the leader, the process owner, the reengineering team, the re-engineering czar and the steering committee.
Hammer, M., & Champy, J. (2009). Reengineering the Corporation: Manifesto for Business Revolution, A. Zondervan.
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