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What are the similarities between “reengineering” the shop floor (manufacturing) and reengineering business processes like order fulfillment?
Why has there been resistance towards BPR? What tried John Deere to overcome it? What downsides are connected to these attempts to overcome the resistance?
There were various similarities betwee the reengineering process of the shop floor and business processes like fulfillment of order. This was exemplified by application of procedures which resembled each other in these two processes. Before implementing the reengineering process, those involved conducted a pilot survey which helped in determining the procedure of implementing the change. To drive the change, various groups were constituted, which were managed independently. Additionally, other individuals were sourced from outside the company for the change process. The constituted groups engaged outsiders of the company in the change process using means by which they did not compell them into joining the organization's activities, but rather participated voluntarily. The company engaged groups which were not closely related to the business before engaging those closely related to the business operations. Groups not closely related to the business operations acted as pilot survey through which the company could determine how to engage with other related businesses. Though starting from the periphery, the company progressed towards key business activities. This strategy turned out to be a success. The success this organization experienced by using this strategy was crucial and it contributed in enticing other interested parties into the business. Although, most of the reengineering activities into the two processes succeeded, others did not succeed. The management ensured that different stakeholders in the company were aware of the goals of the reengineering process. It was evident that the processes used in shop floor reengineering resembled those used in business processes like order fulfillment with few distinctions.
There was some resistance in the process of business reengineering. This could largely be attributed to the reason that it was a new process amongst many employees. The employees were used to other business activities within the company, but this process was new to them. Naturally, in the event that a change is introduced in any activity people tend to be against it. This was also the case in this reengineering process. From the reactions by different individuals in the organization concerning the change, it emerged that the duration of service in a certain area influenced their reaction. Different people have different views on the same issue, this was the case in the BPR, whereby some individuals did not have a wider view of the issue. In addition, the fact that people had been trained on focusing on activity optimization rather than process optimization contributed to resistance. For these concerns to be addresses, retraining of the staff would be needful. John Deere had to engage in change leadership practices to ensure that the fear of change was eliminated. There were fears that some staff would layed off by the company; John Deere resolved this fear by using attrition rather than reducing staff. Friendly methods were used to avoid negative staff reaction. These methods involved voluntary early retirement and reassigning. There were downsides experienced and these comprised of over concentration on factory reengineering at the expense of business reenginerring. Additionally, the senior management was not involved at the initial initial stages of the process, which could have contributed to some failures. Another downside was that the reengineering process was not adequately monitored as there was no scorecard for evaluation of the process.