Business Process Improvement vs. Business Process Reengineering: What Is the Difference?

Grant Wasch

When it comes to making your business processes the most streamlined and efficient that they can be, there are multiple ways to get the job done. Some companies benefit from business process improvement (BPI), while others need the full overhaul that business process reengineering (BPR) provides. While some accidentally use the two terms interchangeably, they have major differences that might make one better than the other for you. 

What Is Business Process Improvement?

BPI is more subtle than business process reengineering. It involves looking at the existing process, establishing measures for improvement, making adjustments to optimize the process, measuring the performance and then continuing to refine it as needed. Instead of tearing up the carpet from the floorboards and putting new carpet in, you are merely taking some of the stains out and vacuuming. 

What Is Business Process Reengineering?

BPR is more radical than BPI, as it seeks to create radical changes when a business process needs a total overhaul instead of just minor adjustments. Because BPR is so dramatic, it requires more employee buy-in and can be more time-consuming to complete. 

The Differences Between BPI and BPR

  1. BPI is a tool to streamline your existing business processes within your current organizational structure. BPR is done to dramatically improve your business processes and potentially change the structure of your organization as a result. 
  2. BPI is often used to refine existing processes and prevent future issues. In other words, it is often used in a way that is proactive instead of reactive. In contrast, many times business process reengineering is a reactive solution. There is an impending issue that might dramatically affect the business, so BPR is the solution to prevent the company from bearing the full brunt of the problem.
  3. If the existing process works on a fundamental level but there is a need for some improvement, BPI is a better option than BPR. If the process does not work on a fundamental level any longer, BPR is a much better choice. 
  4. If your existing process is already thoroughly mapped and does not contain redundant steps, business process improvement can be used to refine it. If your existing process is redundant, not mapped in a definitive way or in need of a rethink, business process reengineering will be most helpful. 

Are you unsure which solution is better for your business? Team Wasch is here to help you survey all of your options and choose the one that is best for your unique situation. Every business is different, and every business relies on different processes to keep things moving smoothly. We can help you find the best solution for you. 

Improve Your Systems with Team Wasch 

Team Wasch understands the challenges of fast-growing businesses, and we know what it takes to get your business to the next level using business process design and business IT systems. To learn more about reducing costs, easing your growing pains and improving efficiency through working with our team, contact us today at 703-407-8020 or by emailing 

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