Agency Growth

Stuck? Consider Business Process Reengineering

By Scott Addis, CEO

So, what is business process reengineering?  And why is it so important to you and your agency?

First introduced by field expert Michael Hammer in a 1990 article in Harvard Business Review, the term “business process reengineering” (BPR) involves the examination and redesign of business processes and workflow in an organization.  A business process is a set of related work activities that are performed by employees to achieve business goals.  In simplistic terms, a business process is the way you and your team perform your work, while BPR is the process of changing the way you do your work to better accomplish the goals of your business.

The intent of process reengineering is to make your agency more flexible, responsive, efficient, and effective for your customers, prospects, carriers, employees, and other stakeholders.  Business process reengineering requires fundamental rethinking and redesign of business processes to achieve improvements in critical measures of performance that support client acquisition, retention, and cross-sell success.

Notable success stories including National Geographic, Fort Motor Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Netflix, Xerox, Hyundai, Old Spice, KFC, and Kelly Blue Book, to name a few.  In each case, according to branding expert Jim Motevelli, the following lessons were learned:

  1. Forget the Sacred Cow. Even the most respected business cannot rest on its laurels.
  2. Change the concept. Take a step back. Does your basic process model need a makeover?
  3. Think long-term. Delayed gratification can pay off big time.
  4. Look ahead. Search for new platforms and learn to work effectively within them.

If business process reengineering is to work, an organization must transform from:

  • Boss to customer focus
  • Controlled workers to empowered, involved process owners and decision makers
  • Activity-based work to a results orientation
  • Scorekeeping to leading and teaching
  • Functional to process orientation
  • Complex to simple, streamlined processes
  • Guarding the status quo to inventing new systems and processes and looking toward the future

Five Steps to Business Process Reengineering

Beyond Insurance suggests five essential steps to business process reengineering:

Step One – Self-Examination: While you may have a gut feeling that business process reengineering is needed for your agency, consider an examination of key performance indicators, most noteworthy, organic agency growth and customer experience benchmarking. 

Beyond Insurance has a complimentary Organic Growth Agency Survey on its Portal that will assess key agency performance indicators.

Step Two – Business Visioning and Goal Setting: Your ability to create a future vision of success is essential to organizational growth. Visioning will allow you to see yourself at some point in the future, while goals offer a roadmap to reach these visions.  Step Two answers the question, “What is the purpose of reengineering and why are we considering doing it?”

Step Three – Pinpointing Opportunities: Your decision to reengineer will pay dividends when you are laser-focused on the identification of areas for improvement.

Step Four – All on Board: Before business process reengineering begins, it is critical that you garner employee buy-in to the future vision and opportunities.  As a leader, you should encourage your team to feel comfortable and confident in voicing opinions. 

Step Five – Strategy Map: A requirement for your agency transformation is a strategy map that spells out the process of reengineering. Whatever the issue at hand, it should also be judged objectively against industry standards including metrics and best practices.

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, you are wise to rethink who you are and where you want to go. If your path is fruitful and on target, congratulations. If not, business process reengineering may be the answer.

Learn more about the author, Scott Addis.