Reengineering The Corporation Essay Samples
Reengineering the Corporation is a pioneering work in one of the most important and debated business topics in the modern world. The topic is how can dramatic performance improvements in the business world be achieved? At the time when the book hit the market, most businesses were in a recession. They were looking for new methods of improving their competitiveness and production. The book is a great read. It takes the reader through a radical redesign of a company’s organizational structures, processes and cultures to enable it achieve optimal performance and take a quantum leap forward. A common problem with businesses is resistance to change. This fact is supported by Champy and Michael.
“America’s business problem is that it is entering the twenty-first century with companies designed during the nineteenth century to work well in the twentieth. We need something entirely different.” (Champy & Michael, 2014)
Michael makes it clear that there is need to redesign the way American companies operate to enable them achieve their objectives and advance to the next level in business. James Champy says that he was prompted to write the book because as a consultant he started to see businesses operating in ways that were not profitable. He for example observed that it took 500 people at Ford to complete the same amount of work that would be done by five people at Mazda.
“Fundamentally, reengineering is about reversing the industrial revolution. Reengineering rejects the assumptions inherent in Adam Smith’s industrial paradigm- the division of labor, economies of scale, hierarchical control and all the other appurtenances of an early- stage developing economy.” (Champy & Michael, 2014)
New process centered business approaches are developed to give businesses a giant forward quantum leap towards achievement of business objectives. Fresh approaches and perspectives are vital in achieving the success of business reengineering. A fresh approach is introduced in business. Based on what is already known about clients and their preferences, a new organizational structure is adopted. The structure is aimed at optimizing the necessary process of creating and retaining loyal, satisfied customers. Therefore, business reengineering is the process by which the ‘old’ organization of today is retired and an optimal version of the brand new organization is created. Reengineering presents the opportunity to set the rules by which future businesses will be operated rather than getting forced to operate under the guidelines and rules that have been dictated by someone else.
I learned the major characteristics of a business or Corporation that has been re-engineered. A Corporation that has been re-engineered has simplified business processes. None of the business processes in a reengineered organization will be complex and hard to execute. This saves precious time for the business and the clients as well. It increases the businesses’ profitability which is a key objective for every business (Champy & Michael, 2014). In a re-engineered business, emphasis moves towards a team’s performance, not an individual. With greater emphasis on team performance rather than individual performance, there is increased productivity from each team member. If a lot of emphases were laid on the individual like in the traditional business model, unhealthy competition among employees may result as each tries to outshine the other and probably win a favor. In a re-engineered organization, the professionals become the key points of focus not the managers in the business. An increased focus on the professionals makes sure that they are delivering effectively towards achieving business competitiveness and other objectives. The professionals should be made to feel comfortable in the environment of the business and any arising discomforts or grievances arising from them should be addressed with urgency since they are the pillars of organizational success. A focus on the managers pulls back the business. It is important to realize that excellent management in the absence of professionalism cannot bear any fruits to a business. Therefore, a re-engineered business should greatly focus on the professionals, not the management. I also learned that in a re-engineered business model, the business manager is supposed to change from being a supervisor to becoming a coach. Rather than having a strictly supervisory role, the manager should coach employees on how they can best achieve organizational objectives. This way the manager helps the business in its re-engineered state to achieve its objectives with ease. The manager’s approach has the side effect of boosting employee morale and satisfaction. If a manager chooses to be purely a supervisor, his productive interaction with employees is reduced, and employee morale is reduced to a great extent. Another characteristic of business reengineering that I learned is that employees no longer seek to please the bosses in a reengineered business structure. They seek to make the client happy at all cost. The traditional approach of seeking to please the boss had the probable effect of disappointing the customers. In case the interests of the boss were not in line with what the customers wanted, the customers were likely to be disappointed (Champy & Michael, 2014). A re-engineered business approach does not seek to disregard or disrespect the boss in any way. He should be respected at all times and his authority respected. However, whenever an employee realizes that the expectations or demands of the boss are clashing with customer satisfaction, the employee should make the client the priority. In a re-engineered business, all employees are empowered to make them more productive. In the traditional business model, employees were not empowered but controlled. Controlling employees acts as an obstacle to their optimal productivity. Controlled employee cannot deliver as much as employees who have been empowered to perform their duties and responsibilities. Empowering employees boosts their morale and productivity because they are given a chance to fully put their potential to use in helping the organization. The value system of an organization that has been reengineered is productive as opposed to a value system that is protective in the traditional business approach without the concept of reengineering. A productive value system boosts output from the employees, and a business can deliver quality outputs that meet the expectations of the employees and investors.
Another point that I learned from the book is that any company’s program of re-engineering should be unique to the company if any substantial gain is to be achieved at the end of the exercise (Champy & Michael, 2014). In the process of business reengineering, there are no step by step guidelines or prescriptions that can be followed. The methods adopted are different from the methods that may be adopted by another organization. However, the result has to be the same; optimal performance must be realized. Successful Reengineering programs that have been adopted by both small and large corporations have had these four key guiding themes:
Creative use of IT (Information Technology). In their book, Champy and Michael have this to say about the Ford company:
“The re-engineering of procurement at Ford illustrates another characteristic of a true reengineering effort: Ford’s changes would have been impossible without modern information technology which is likewise true for the reengineering effort at IBM credit.” (Champy & Michael, 2014)
2. A strong ambition to come up with great performance gains
3. Shift of focus from organizational boundaries to processes of the business
4. A willingness to leave traditions and adopt the new concept of business reengineering. The traditions should be left as said by Champy and Michael.
“At the heart of business reengineering lies the notion of discontinuous thinking- identifying and abandoning the outdated rules and fundamental assumptions that underlie current business operations. Every company is replete with implicit rules left over from earlier decades.” (Champy & Michael, 2014)
Guidelines to achieving success in re- engineering
Imperfections should be accepted along the way
During the process of re-engineering, various imperfections may be realized along the way. The imperfections are not supposed to discourage the participants. They should be accepted and taken positively as weak points from which strong points can easily be built by working on them continually and with determination.
The process of reengineering involves risk because businesses are trying to operate in a new way that is not familiar with the employees and the bosses. Confusion may arise due to various facts and at some points losses may be incurred. This should be anticipated. Whenever it happens, businesses should not terminate the process of re-engineering. Corrections should be made and the process continued because it will be of benefit once it is completed.
The process of re-engineering should be executed fast with great caution and precision. A prolonged period of implementation translates to prolonged and higher risks to the business.
Always start with the customer and work backward (Champy & Michael, 2014)
This is a major key to the success of reengineering. The customer is always the main focus since he has the final say in deciding the success of a business. The needs of the customer should be met first and then the needs of others addressed. Reengineering is the immediate opposite of business as usual.
Champy, James, and Michael Hammer. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. S.l.: HarperCollins e-Books, 2014. Internet resource.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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