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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?
Most of the concepts involved in shop floor reengineering were applied in the reengineering of business processes like order fulfillment. In these two processes, groups took time to evaluate how the process would be undertaken. The two processes were analogous to each other in that they involved individuals and groups from outside the organization. The change process was structured in various divisions which were under different management. The divisions let various groups come to them rather than forcing change in them from outside. In these situations, it was proved that paradigms break through on the business's fringe before reaching the center. The invitations came from different groups, which were not core to the business and later they narrowed to those related to the business. The effort of reengineering progressively spiralled towards the core of the business. The businesses started small at the edge of their businesses and this contributed significantly to their success. They aimed at getting results and then this success ended up attracting more interested groups in to the organizational activities. Various reengineering processes were undertaken with some succeeding while others failed. After getting a request from the field, it was placed in a folder with a barcode whereby different individuals in the organization could access to it and familiarize themselves with it. It was found that the steps involved in the two processes were analogous to each other. The only distinction was that the employees from the insurance were not drilling holes and grinding instead they performed activities of underwriting for assessing the quote risks for the dealership.
The business process reengineering was faced with some resistance because it was considerably fresh with many fresh employees. This implies that they had not been involved in the new task as compared to other tasks of the organization. It becomes evident that it was the duration that someone stayed in a certain job, rather than their age or the overall years of service, which contributes to resistance mostly. When new things are introduced, people haved a tendency of getting into a rhythm that makes them to resist the change. Other contributing factors to resistance is that there are some individuals in an organization who would not like to do things differently and are not ready to see the bigger picture. Additionally, people had been earlier trained to focus on activity optimization rather than process optimization. Therefore, to change this attitude, these people need to be retrained. To eliminate the fear people face in the change process, change leadership practices have been initiated. Another, resistance to the change process was due to press reports which wrongly presented reengineering as downsizing. Though John Deere Insurance needed to reduce staff, but had a natural turnover of approximately 15% per annum, it used attrition to reduce the staff number to the required size. Other methods used for dealing with the issue of staff reduction was reassigning and voluntary early retirement. Some of the downsides experienced were that they concentrated more on reengineering the factory rather than doing it on the business. In addition, they lacked a scorecard to monitor the improvement of the process. The senior management should also have been gotten involved in the process earlier, which was not the case.