What Are the Disadvantages of Business Process Re-Engineering?

The disadvantages of business process re-engineering include reduced employee morale and the prioritization of one department over others during the re-engineering process. Some companies embark on business process re-engineering but end up implementing small improvements instead of taking a radical change approach, resulting in failure.

A long-term commitment from the management and the staff is crucial to the success of any BPR program; many organizations decide against BPR programs because of the significant long-term costs. A BPR program may fail if a company focuses on automating its processes instead of assessing the relevance of all its processes. A company that views BPR as a one-time activity with the main objective of cutting costs creates fear of job insecurity in its employees. Such an approach breeds hostility among employees, which may lead to the failure of the BPR program.

Companies such as Ford have successfully implemented BPR programs that led to a reduction of up to 75 percent of staff in the accounting department. Taco Bell re-engineered its retail and manufacturing processes in 1982 to become a $3 billion company in the early 1990s.

The success of a BPR program depends on how effective the management is in creating a mindset of process improvement within the organization.