Process Reengineering: No Cure-All, but a Valuable Tool

By Kirsch, Arthur W. | American Banker, September 15, 1994 | Go to article overview

Process Reengineering: No Cure-All, but a Valuable Tool


Kirsch, Arthur W., American Banker


Companies that have successfully implemented reengineering projects, particularly those in the financial service industry, have often found that while change is constant, sustainable competitive advantage without sustained effort is a myth.

Customer demands are continually evolving. Competitors turn out to be just as smart as you are - or if not, they will hire your best people to replicate your advantage. Legislators, regulators, and accountants periodically change the rules or tweak interest rates, keeping you on your toes at all times.

In the few years since the concept was launched and the term coined, "business process reengineering" has achieved pop-star status in the business world with all the adulation and resentment that such status implies.

It has been hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough and damned as "old wine in new bottles." It has been lauded as a panacea by those who have used it successfully and reviled as an overpriced placebo by the skeptical.

Proponents say that BPR is to the 90s what "strategy" was to the 70s and "quality" was to the 80s. Disbelievers counter that BPR is another elusive slogan more buzzword than solution.

But positioned correctly, business process reengineering can be the critical first step in creating a performance-improvement culture, one that can provide an organization with the flexibility and energy to anticipate change and sustain competitive advantage.

Why do you do it?

In no industry have the promises been as alluring as in the financial services industry. And in no other industry is the skepticism its great. Both the allure and the skepticism are understandable. The allure is based on the unquestionable fact that almost all segments of the financial services industry are in need of a major overhaul because:

* There are too many providers chasing the same customers.

* The regulatory environment that once protected inefficient organizations and industry segments is breaking down.

* The corporate cultures of financial services organizations are not attuned to the industry's new competitive realities.

* Customers are getting smarter and smarter.

Unfortunately, too many of the financial services providers that have undertaken process reengineering projects over the past several years have been dissatisfied with the results.

Although it is true that many projects did not achieve the anticipated dramatic improvements, the problem was not always with the concept, but with why it was used and how it was implemented.

Business process reengineering is intended to create competitive advantage. But too often, the approach is applied to create cost advantage - a very valuable competitive advantage in commodity businesses.

While creating cost advantage in financial services organizations is very important, most financial services firms say that they would prefer to compete on service. Cost reduction is usually more valuable to the shareholder than it is to the customerassuming it is converted into increases in market share or profits.

At Coopers & Lybrand Consulting, we have helped our clients use reengineering to produce dramatic cost reduction benefits. And, more often than not, these projects do evolve into true reengineering engagements. But, quite frankly, if all that is wanted is financial improvement, easier and less disruptive approaches should be considered.

I make this point because survey after survey has shown that what the financial services customer really wants is:

* Time-place convenience.

* Quick transaction turnaround.

* Quality execution.

* Responsive problem solving.

But BPR is very much for real and can help a company deliver what the customer really wants. At Coopers & Lybrand Consulting, our financial services practice was quick to recognize and utilize its potential to improve our client's performance. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Process Reengineering: No Cure-All, but a Valuable Tool
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.