Business Process Reengineering 7
For many years, dating well back into the 19th century companies were organized and structured both to maximize efficiency and also to control growth. However, with the emergence of a single world economy and increased competition from comers of the globe today's competitive priorities for success have shifted from efficiency to innovation, speed,
service, and quality To increase efficiency in the factory, job design was dominated by the division of labor concept in which the work to be done was subdivided into a series of tasks that could be performed by less-skilled individuals. However, this approach, while increasing productivity among lower-skilled workers, had its disadvantages. With each individual focusing primarily on his or her assigned task. no one assumed overall responsibility for the process itself. The result was that these conventional process structures were fragmented and piecemeal. and consequently lacked the integration necessary to support the current competitive priorities, for example, quality and service. This shift in priorities has forced managers to rethink how their firms operate, and to focus on redesigning their core business processes. This is the goal of reengineering. To accomplish this, we need to "get back to the basics," by applying some of the concepts presented in this chapter that allow us to better understand these processes.