Reengineering. How to restructure work processes in a crisis

Any crisis creates conditions for qualitative changes in business, including a comprehensive restructuring of business functions. This process is called reengineering.

How to reorganize processes and who to rely on in a team? Dinara Gainutdinova, managing partner of CAS Group, an expert in the field of change management and management consulting, tells about this.

Reengineering. How to restructure work processes in a crisis

For more than two years, the business has been living in a state of uncertainty, which requires a quick response to external changes and process adaptation. The pandemic forced us to quickly transfer activities to digital format, and the geopolitical situation of the last two months literally “nullified” all the established supply and marketing channels.

Today, not a week goes by without new restrictions being imposed against Russia. By the end of April, their number exceeded 10,100, and individual portals publish detailed statistics on geography and the number of sanctions.

Suppliers and customers leave the market, raw materials and components become more expensive. The usual financial channels do not work. Companies have to quickly reorient themselves to other sources of raw materials and markets, and revise plans. Old business processes become inefficient. Their global reconfiguration is required – reengineering.

“Extinguish the fire”

Reengineering will help companies dramatically increase the quantitative indicators of their business and develop a holistic development strategy in the new environment. Remembering the experience of the pandemic, the changes went through as painlessly as possible, and even those who managed to transfer processes to an online format in the shortest possible time turned out to be in the black. So it was in banks and IT companies.

Reengineering of the new time implies operational changes. Here, of course, one cannot do without the help of professionals, since it is necessary to quickly “put out the fire” and make processes more transparent.

Consider Nassim Taleb’s Antifragility. Reengineering as a response to a crisis makes it possible to make a business anti-fragile, adapting it to new challenges and changes.

How to do reengineering?

Each company goes through it differently, but there are five mandatory steps:

  1. Form a pool of statistical indicators about the current state of affairs in the company and in the market.
  2. Analyze the main business processes: how they relate to each other, which processes have lost their relevance and stopped working.
  3. Create a model of “how it should be”, what indicators you are striving for, how each process should look after changes.
  4. Adjust or create new business processes to replace inefficient ones.
  5. Conduct employee training and redistribute roles according to new business processes.

The project team

Almost every transformation requires the creation of a separate team. You can include key employees with experience in reengineering in your company. Another option is to hire third-party consultants, they will go with you all the way through the restructuring of business processes. Or hire one consultant who will interact with your reengineering team at all stages.

Your tasks as a project leader: distribute responsibility in the team, control the achievement of reengineering goals.

The reengineering team should include:

  • Company managers who will approve key decisions.
  • Heads of departments whose activities affect reengineering. They are responsible for adjusting existing business processes or developing new ones, monitor project deadlines.
  • Employees of departments directly describe and correct business processes.

Reengineering methods in new realities

Here are some examples of how you can optimize processes in a company.

  • Procurement simplification. In the face of rising prices for raw materials, materials, components, you need to look for cheaper options. To do this, it is necessary to change the criteria for selecting suppliers in order to make it easier for them to enter the procurement process.
  • Reducing the terms of approval and / or the number of approvers. Assess the possibility of reducing the number of links in the approval chain when making decisions. Work will get done faster, and many managers will have their hands free for more strategic tasks.
  • Combining parallel functions. Synchronize duplicate processes. For example, warehouse stocks are taken into account in the new CRM, and customer reports are generated in Excel. These functions can be performed in one program.
  • Maintaining the quality of the product/service while purchasing cheaper raw materials/materials. Now the main thing is to reduce costs and production losses. This means that you need to reorient yourself to cheaper sources of raw materials and at the same time revise the technology in order to maintain product quality.

Employee engagement

When reengineering, pay special attention to communication with employees. People are usually resistant to change, afraid that optimizing features will lead to layoffs. Hold regular meetings with the team, voice key business indicators, talk about the situation in your industry, the impact of the market on the work of your company, about upcoming changes, etc.

When employees are aware of the state of affairs in the company, they feel responsible for the common cause, get involved in solving problems, and support changes. People will clearly understand why reengineering is needed and what positive results it will lead to. First of all, it will help to save the company and jobs in a crisis.

In the period of uncertainty that Russia is facing, it is important to change business processes, adapting them to new conditions and making them as transparent as possible. Open dialogue and the ability to change will align expectations for the results of working with old clients, increase employee confidence and allow you to find growth points.

Cover photo: Unsplash

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