Why Do a Business Process Review?

Dave Balser

why do a bprWhen it comes to a business process review, organizations typically think of them as a way to identify areas where they can streamline their system and elevate their efficiency. These are worthwhile goals, to be sure, and more than enough reason to perform a BPR. And as our team has executed BPRs over the years, we’ve identified a few other benefits from the process.  So whether you're running JD Edwards, or a different ERP on IBM i, from process management to EDI, a business process review can help your business identify new opportunities and prepare for the future.

Uncover Opportunities 

Running a business process review has been known to uncover business opportunities that your team has yet to identify. You may think you know where you can cut costs or increase efficiency, but do you know all of those opportunities? Part of the BPR process is gathering knowledgeable people from each area of your business and taking a hard look at every nook and cranny of your operations. This can uncover opportunities that may have been unknown before.

In the past, we’ve seen team members bring up inefficiencies that they previously thought weren’t a big deal until they were able to sit in a room with the rest of the key players. We’ve seen team members realize that issues were happening upstream or downstream from their spot in the process chain that they were never aware of. Having your team together to discuss your process from start to finish gives everyone the opportunity to realize how they affect the process and identify where things could be improved.

Client Example

We performed a business process review with a client who was required to email invoices to customers. They were doing this by having the sales team print the invoice as a PDF, scanning and saving that PDF, then manually emailing the invoice. The sales team had put that process in place themselves without involvement from the larger organization

It wasn’t until sales team members attended the purchasing session of the business process review that they learned the company already had a process in place to automatically email purchase orders to vendors which could be replicated for sales. From there, the sales team was able to automate their invoice email process and free up their time for more pressing matters.

Train Your Staff

While it’s not usually the main goal, a business process review can act as training for your team. With managers from each functional area participating, a BPR is a good opportunity for everyone to get reacquainted with your organization’s processes.


Managers especially can become somewhat disconnected from day-to-day operations, so a business process review is a good opportunity to get caught up. To participate, managers should be encouraged to meet with each team lead, or even each team or member, so that they can reacquaint themselves with the process.

New Team Members

This isn’t just helpful for managers and other longtime staff; newer employees can benefit from a business process review as well. Sitting in on these meetings is a good way to give them a complete perspective of the business process. These newer team members are often the ones to say “I didn’t know we do that,” or, even better, “why do we do it that way?” which can lead to valuable discussions.

Identify Further Training

Not only is this a great opportunity to get your staff up to date, it can be a chance to identify where further training is needed. Sometimes things slip through the cracks, but getting key players from your team together can help highlight which training aspects need to be prioritized moving forward. 

Update Documentation

Proper process flow documentation is a necessity, but keeping that documentation updated often falls by the wayside. Processes certainly change over time, but organizations seldom take the time to refresh documentation along with those changes. One of the benefits of a business process review is that process flow maps are a deliverable of the sessions. With those, you’ll have a much easier time keeping your process flow documentation accurate and updated.

Align ERP with Other Tools and Processes

Over the years, your system has probably been integrated with third-party tools and adapted to existing business processes. A business process review is an opportunity to make sure all of those pieces are aligned and that everything is being smartly leveraged.

Be sure that your ERP software and business processes are aligned so that there are no gaps between software and business processes. These gaps could result in things being done manually that could be automated. Any manual processes or dual entry that can be eliminated in favor of a more accurate automated system will be helpful. 

It’s also important to identify areas where your software is not being used, but should be. Could you be leveraging your existing ERP for credit and collections, quality, or warehousing? You already have these capabilities, may as well use them!  

Prepare for a Major Project

While we typically run a business process review for companies interested in streamlining their operations, we have found that they are a good way to prepare for any major changes or implementations heading your way. Whether you’re planning a software system upgrade or migration or an acquisition or divestiture of a business entity, a business process review will identify the existing software configuration and usage as you head into that project. This provides a foundation of information so that you can be more knowledgeable when planning the new project.

With all of those options, you'd be hard pressed to find a company who wouldn't benefit from a business process review. 

Looking to get more specific? Check out these BPR resources:

Click here to learn how to run an effective  Business Process Improvement Review

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