BUSINESS PROCESS REENGINEERING: …How to prepare for possible pandemic-post Covid-19
By Bernadette Deka-Zulu (PhD Researcher)
THE coronavirus pandemic at its peak presented many businesses with a range of unprecedented challenges. As companies strove to stay afloat, it became increasingly important for them to optimise their operations, cut costs and improve their overall efficiency.
No other managerial initiative was as effective as the Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) in achieving all of this.
The pandemic also exerted so much pressure on governments, affecting every sector of the economy. They responded with various measures to support businesses and help them navigate the crisis.
For governments, without spelling it out, business process re-engineering was the answer to the many issues surrounding the pandemic and a response to the needs of their citizens more effectively and efficiently.
In many cases, BPR helped them streamline their processes and operations, allowing them to focus on the most important tasks at hand. It also helped them reduce costs and increase their effectiveness, all while providing better services to their citizens.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of business process re-engineering amid a pandemic. We will explore how it can help companies streamline their operations and navigate the new normal.
We will also discuss the impact that it can have on governments and the public sector, and how they can use it to help them achieve their goals.
We have defined Business process re-engineering in all our articles as a process of analysing business processes, identifying inefficiencies, and making changes to make them more efficient.
It is an effective way to reduce costs and improve efficiency, which is especially important during times of crisis. During a pandemic, companies need to take a hard look at their processes, as it may be the difference between remaining operational and going out of business.
The Coronavirus Pandemic was a massive disruption to business in Zambia, as seen by the instability of our currency in particular years, the closure of schools and other services, and rising unemployment.
This was largely due to companies closing down as a precautionary measure and travellers being advised not to visit our country. As a result, we are seeing an increased demand for service providers; however, those who were previously profitable are struggling to stay afloat.
Media and business sectors had also been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The impact of Coronavirus on businesses was especially evident in Zambia where the World Bank said GDP growth was forecasted to hit a nose dive.
To reduce the risk of spreading disease, many people were quarantined at home or under house arrest while working places such as shops and markets continued to remain closed.
It was for this reason that many businesses were forced to close down permanently or temporarily during their maintenance period, which lasted for up to eight months.
The pandemic had a huge effect on the country’s economy as most businesses’ revenue base began to reduce but the cost of running the business where either constant or increased.
- Delay growth; because the cost of doing business was getting higher than revenue, businesses would not invest in the growth of the business as most of them at this point were operating at a loss.
- Reduce foreign investment and lead to reduced competitiveness, which could have a negative impact on employment and income.
- Indebtedness; Corporate debt went up and earnings took a hit during the pandemic.
Businesses need to be aware of what they need to do to be ready for possible disruptions from the pandemic, and for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive during a pandemic, both businesses and governments can ensure that they employ various BPR techniques to stay afloat.
Benefits of applying BPR in pandemic times
Business process reengineering (BPR) is a critical strategy that can be applied by businesses during a pandemic. There are several benefits of applying BPR during pandemic times, including:
Reduced costs: BPR can help businesses reduce their costs by streamlining their processes and making them more efficient. In times of a pandemic, when resources are scarce, this is especially important.
Improved efficiency: When businesses undergo a process redesign, they become more efficient and can often do the same work with fewer people. This is crucial during a pandemic when many workers may be unable to come into the office or maybe quarantined.
Eased capacity constraints: A business may find itself struggling to keep up with customer demand during a pandemic. BPR can help to ease capacity constraints and improve the flow of work. This will help the business to continue to serve its customers even in times of crisis.
Guidelines for Reengineering Business Processes
There are a few guidelines you should keep in mind when reengineering your business processes.
First, be realistic about what’s possible. Don’t try to overhaul your entire process all at once – you’ll only end up overwhelmed and frustrated. Start small, and take it one step at a time.
Second, always keep the customer in mind. The whole point of reengineering your processes is to make things easier and faster for them, so make sure you stay focused on that goal.
Third, document everything. This may seem like overkill, but it’s important to have a record of what you’ve done, what’s worked, and what hasn’t. That way, you can replicate or avoid those successes and failures in the future.
Finally, be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your new business processes won’t be either. Give yourself time to tweak and refine them until they’re just right.
Reengineering steps and techniques
There are a variety of ways you can go about reengineering your business process. But, here are four steps that can help to get you started:
- Assess your current situation – Take stock of your current situation and ask yourself what is and isn’t working. What processes could be improved?
- Define your goals – Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, it’s time to set some goals. What does success look like? How will you know if you’ve achieved your goals?
- Create a plan – Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Create a detailed plan of action that outlines how you’ll achieve your goals.
- Implement and monitor – Finally, it’s time to put your plan into action. But, don’t forget to monitor your progress along the way. Are you on track to achieve your goals? If not, what needs to be adjusted?
Challenges and opportunities of Business Process Reengineering during a pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused businesses around the world to reevaluate their operations and business processes. For many organisations and governments included, the pandemic has presented an opportunity to implement BPR initiatives that can help them become more agile, efficient, and resilient.
However, BPR can be a complex and challenging undertaking, even in the best of times. The pandemic has created additional complications and risks that businesses need to be aware of before embarking on a BPR project.
In times of crisis, businesses need to take a step back and reevaluate their operations. Business process reengineering can help businesses optimise their processes and make sure they’re running as efficiently as possible.
Here are a few recommendations for businesses looking to take advantage of business process reengineering during a pandemic:
1. Review your business processes and identify opportunities for optimisation.
2. Use data analytics to help you make decisions about process improvement.
3. Implement changes gradually to minimise disruption.
4. Communicate with your team and stakeholders about the changes you’re making.
5. Evaluate the results of your changes and make course corrections as needed.
6. Stay flexible and be prepared to make additional changes as the situation warrants.
7. Keep track of best practices and share them with your team.