Two sides of the same coin, Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) each aim at process improvement and change.  BPR can be and is typically more dramatic and radical in its approach; CPI is more moderate and incremental in creating change. The two illustrations below illustrate the similarities [Deming substituted “study” for “check” (Shewhart) in the cycle].


Deming Shewhart Cycle

Deming Shewhart Cycle

Business Process Reengineering will be called for in situations where wholesale changes to processes are necessary or a new product or service is being initiated, usually over a defined period of time. Continuous Process Improvement will be called for where constant incremental improvement to processes is indicated or wanted, usually over an open-ended period of time. In either case, whichever is in use, the one will include elements of the other.

Quality is the goal always! Quality is made-up of two parts: meeting specifications; and, satisfying the customer. Your competitive edge, always, should be your organization’s focus on quality. DrakerCody, Inc. has the same focus.

Processes that your organization may wish to improve may include financial processes, marketing processes, maintenance processes, or information
sharing processes in emergency or other situations or all of these.

Other terms, similar to business process reengineering and continuous process improvement, are often used: continuous quality improvement, business process redesign, business process management, and, perhaps the best known in recent times, total quality management (Peters, 1982).

Despite the advice of some business process reengineering proponents (Hammer, 1990), rarely does one start with a clean slate approach. The same is most certainly true with continuous process improvement.

How It Works

As-Is Situation Phase. One starts with a review of the existing situation: the business vision, values, customer needs (strategic plan components); documenting what is going on with one or more processes within the organization, perhaps between organizations. This means documenting specific tasks, the order and flow of tasks, and the people involved; and, understanding why parts of the process and the relation between and among parts are as they are. This is the As-Is situation; this is understanding the problem(s).

The To-Be Phase. This phase defines what should be done. This might involve re-arranging tasks, eliminating tasks or combining tasks. It may involve re-arranging the order and flow of work. It may involve retraining personnel, and possibly more drastic changes. This is the To Be or the plan of action phase.

Implementation or the “Do” Phase (Deming, 1950). Putting all the recommended (To Be) changes in place occurs in this stage.

Check, Test, Study Phase. At this stage of the improvement process, the changes that have been implemented are evaluated for their effectiveness in accomplishing what is wanted. Are all aspects of the To Be plan effective and successful? What further actions are needed?

The Act or Adoption Phase. This is Deming’s “Act” phase, the take appropriate action phase which may involve formalizing the changes.  Dependent upon outcomes and needs, the cycle may start again.

Hand in hand with Business Process Reengineering and Continuous Process Improvement is the need for some change management plan/program and perhaps some organizational change or organizational transformation plan.

 What DrakerCody Provides

escherian-stairwellDrakerCody, Inc. can help your organization navigate the complexities of the business process reengineering and the continuous process improvement methods. We can quickly and efficiently assess the existing situation, process a plan for changes, help you implement and assess the changes, make necessary modifications, and then help you take the appropriate action. If the changes require some modification in organizational structure, we can help develop that structure.

DrakerCody will also set-up a plan of action for your organization to start the improvement cycle again as appropriate and necessary.

In addition, DrakerCody will help you develop a change management program to help insure the success of any changes.

Finally, we will always keep you focused on “quality”, always your competitive edge.

Call DrakerCody to discuss your situation and see what we can do for your organization!

Selected References

  1. Best, M., Neuhauser, D., “Walter A Shewhart, 1924, and the Hawthorne Factory”, Quality & Safety in Health Care 15.2 (2006): 142–143. PMC. Web. 6 Aug. 2015.
  2. Hammer, Michael, (1990, July-August). “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate”, Harvard Business Review, pp. 104-112.
  3. Hoyer, R.W., Hoyer, Brooke B.Y., (2001,July). “What is Quality”, Quality Progress, pp.53-62.
  4. Moen, Ronald D., Norman, Clifford L., (2010, November). “Circling back”, Quality Progress, pp.22-28.
  5. Wilcox, Dr. Mark, (2003). “The Philosophy of Shewhart’s Theory of Prediction”, (paper based on presentation to Proceedings of the 9th Research Seminar Deming Scholar’s Program, Fordham University, New York, February, 2003.)