From ArticleWorld

Reengineering refers to the total reorganization of processes being carried out in a firm with the aim of ensuring maximum efficiency and greater customer delight. Among the major systems brought to the fore by reengineering theory in the recent past include enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management, groupware systems and knowledge management techniques. There have been several developments that have taken place in the corporate world that can be said to be a direct result of reengineering. The fact that human resource and customer relationship studies have advanced greatly is proof of the growing importance of this theory.

Reengineering – A brief account of its development

The main advocates of reengineering theory, Michael Hammer and James Champy, agree on the opinion that in today’s highly competitive scene, companies have to come up with smart techniques of handling business processes in order to gain leadership in the market. Both have laid emphasis on bringing about fundamental changes in an organization’s process management setup with particular references to ultimate customer satisfaction.

According to Dr. Hammer, companies have to keep in mind that customers have the upper hand in the economy. In his book, 'The Agenda', he argues about how business tactics have been changing all through the past decade in America and elsewhere. The situation is getting tougher by the day and managers across the globe are coming to realize that the days of effortlessness have gone forever. He constantly stresses the need for superior processes to be implemented to avoid wastage of precious time. The book points out how vital tasks like handling special requests from customers may give rise to meaningless squabbles among major elements inside an organization. The best way to get rid of such a problem would be to install a team to look after specific changes that would necessitate cooperation among all sections of a large firm.

James Champy too has written books on the same subject elaborating the reason why companies must embrace information technology in order to stay ahead in stiff competition. This best-selling author has two great works to his credit, namely, 'Reengineering The Corporation' and 'X-Engineering The Corporation'. These works, apart from those of Dr. Hammer, form the basis of most new management methods seen today.

Criticism against reengineering

The theory of reengineering with a great lot of focus on the needs of the customer has not been accepted by all in management circles. Major points of criticism include the fact that an organization may be faltering due to inefficient processes, without bringing the need for ‘radical’ changes of establishing new teams to overlook progress of an organization. According to Israeli business expert Eliyahu Goldratt in his theory of constraints, reengineering does not really prove useful in improving an organization’s constraints. Also, there is a possible negligence of the current state of affairs.