When your goal is to remodel, change or develop an enterprise, you are interested in Organization Re-Engineering. It starts with a strategic intervention and culminates with a new or re-engineered organization.
A re-engineered organization is one that has undergone some combination of transformation, reformation, and sustaining. The extent of the changes is based on the organization’s needs and goals. Transformation is about significant change whereas reformation pertains to change in some aspects while the fundamental business, product and services remain unchanged. The parts of the business that remain unchanged, are described as being sustained.
For instance, a transformation would be changing your organization from producing playing cards to producing cell phones. In transformation the product as well as the target market changes. Reform is like moving from the production of bread to boxed cereal. The fundamental business and the targeted consumer remain the same.
You may ask: “Why include sustaining in a conversation about re-engineering?” While re-engineering suggests widespread change, that goal is not always desirable nor achievable. Re-engineering speaks to changes, modification, alterations, and even rationalization of processes, some systems, and operations.
Changes may include the introduction of new technology and production systems or new skillset requirements for employees. All of these affect the ways things are done and the outcomes produced. Modifications and alterations may be realised in the work flows and resources used.
Rationalization may come in truncating systems and processes, thereby reducing time in the movement of resources and inputs or reduction of the number of human resources involved. Rationalization includes what some call “right sizing.” It is about producing the same or more output with less inputs.
Re-engineering may not see every facet of production changed, some aspects of the organization’s operations, some functions may remain the same: e.g., procurement, financial accounting, records storage, communications and even some logistics. The flow of resources to enable production and service delivery may remain the same or change.
However, it’s expected that a re-engineered organization does things differently, is more efficient, and is more effective in the use of resources, decision making, and the delivery of goods and services. What the organization chooses to transform, reform, and sustain depends on the purpose of the organization (see Figure 1).
The purpose of the organization defines the business and operations strategies, the objectives, and goals. Organization re-engineering is geared towards changing or modifying outcomes, such as productivity metrics, and requires deliberate measurement and studies to evaluate the impact of the targeted changes.
The attempt to re-engineer an organization requires considerations of institutional strengthening and capacity building to enhance the capabilities, efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability. An organizational diagnosis needs to be done so that the issues and problems can be defined and the organization development thrust can be properly positioned, focused, and validated.
The organization development itself will be comprised of several initiatives accompanied by relevant studies and analyses. These analyses and studies will require data capture. The data collected is then analysed to obtain an understanding of what exists and make decisions about what requires change. The research may include gap analyses to discern issues and problems to be addressed. The research tools used for this part include both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Crucial to effective analyses is the capture and modelling of the existing processes and work flows. Flow charts, maps and resource data are essential for the functional and task analyses. Upon completion of the data collection and after the analysis phase the operational and other processes are remapped through redesign to properly orient the systems and methods of production or services. Remapping requires documentation of the work flow or the production process: input, throughput, and output. The analyst then seeks to rearrange or reduce the inflow and outflow steps to achieve greater efficiency and reduce use of resources.
This phase is followed by another series of strategic actions (even inaction if such is warranted). Job analyses are done, new jobs are identified, new job performance standards are developed. The new job performance standards are used to set training performance outcomes, develop training materials, and provide professional skill development so employees are equipped to do their re-engineered jobs.
These strategic actions lead to improved accountability, the development of improved assessments for personnel selection, and the creation of improved methods of performance appraisal. For the organization to benefit from re-engineering endeavours the culture and production qualities must change to match the thrust and focus of the new entity.
The re-engineered organization may have elements that were transformed, some that were reformed and yet other parts that were sustained. Organization transformation is defined by a radical change in most aspects of an organization. It can be the organization’s systems or business focus or both. Reformation constitutes changes to parts of the organization but the raison d’être remains the same or slightly modified. Sustain means that the systems or processes or some features and modus operandi remain the same.
Champy, J. 1995. Reengineering Management. London: HarperCollins.
Hammer, M. and Stanton, S.A. 1995. The Reengineering Revolution Handbook. London: Harper Collins.
Handy, C. 1993. Understanding Organisations. . 4th ed. London: Penguin Books.
Manganelli, R. L. and Klein, M. M. 1994. The Reengineering Handbook. New York: American Management Association.
About the Author
Dr. Kerry Sumesar-Rai is a Management and Organization Reengineering Consultant. He leads program advisory services, audits, and workshops. Armed with proven results and wisdom, he helps clients manage changes in public policy, leadership/management doctrine, and cultural re-engineering. His record of improving internal systems in the public, state and private enterprise sectors demonstrates his ability to facilitate a collaborative approach among leadership teams. As author and life-long learner, his scope of interests which span Strategic Planning, Policy Analysis, and Operations Project Management, include completing a Leadership Ph.D.