Continuous demand for better performance and quality of services and products from customers and clients has forced industries to continually improve their work methods and hence their business processes, which are, at a basic level, a set of activities that transform inputs into outputs for another person or process using people and tools (ProSci, 2001).
The process of changing business processes is an iterative one (Greenberg, 1,996), in which:
- Current work methods are documented.
- Customer/client expectations are recognized as a means to measure the process effectiveness.
- The process is performed and the process results measured against set standards.
- Improvement opportunities in the process are identified based on the data that has been collected.
- Improved process is implemented and its effectiveness against the set standards is measured.
These iterations can be repeated in cycles to achieve continuous process improvement, also known as business process improvement or functional process improvement. The resulting outcome is a gradual and incremental improvement of business processes.
The advent of the Internet has impacted individuals and businesses on several levels demanding changes in relatively short time spans often necessitating dramatic business process improvements rather than incremental changes. Furthermore, the pace of growth of modern day technologies have forced companies to rapidly bring in new resources and capabilities into their businesses in order to raise the competitive bar through responsive and dramatic improvements to their business processes.
BPR is one such approach that can lead to rapid changes and dramatic improvements.
BPR is ‘the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to bring about dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed’ (Hammer and Champy, 1993).
BPR can be facilitated through the use of business process mapping methods such as IDEFO methodology. IDEF0
is an acronym for Integration DEFinition language 0, a function modelling language that is based on SADT (structured analysis and design technique) developed by Douglas T. Ross and SofTech, Inc. (Ward, 2001).
Application of IDEFO method of process modelling to a system such as the construction business process results in a hierarchical series of diagrams, text and glossary cross-referenced to each other. The two primary modelling components are functions (represented on a diagram by boxes) and the data and objects that inter-relate those functions (represented by arrows).
The diagrammatic representation of IDEF0 methodology can be seen in above photo