Denton, Paul and Hodgson, A. (1997) Implementing Strategy-Led BPR in a Small Manufacturing Company. In: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Factory 2000, 2nd - 4th April 1997, Cambridge, UK.

The adoption of ‘best practice’ by small manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) poses many practical, theoretical, financial and organisational problems. The implementation of business-strategy-driven business process re-engineering (BPR) can be seen as a way forward towards best practice. However, the problems associated with ‘surviving the journey’ to best practice remain. This paper considers the transition from the identification of key business strategies to the implementation of business processes and their supporting information technology systems. The paper presents an analysis of a number of approaches to business process analysis (BPA) and BPR. The resource constraints of small companies (technology, skill, finance) are identified and the implications of these are considered, leading to a choice of BPA and BPR methodologies for an industrial case study. The company described in this paper is involved in the design and manufacture of speciality knitting machines. Its market share and turnover have been improving rapidly over recent years and as a consequence the increase in workload has resulted in an increasing focus on short term operational problems. It is now recognised that organisational and strategic issues must be considered further if the business is to retain a competitive edge in its markets. The company has therefore embarked on a programme to define key business and manufacturing strategies, their associated business processes and the supporting organisational and information technology systems. A BPA exercise has been undertaken and key strategies have been defined. A BPR exercise is in progress, driven by the above key strategies. The paper investigates the requirements for strategy formulation and successful BPR in a small manufacturing company and suggests an application framework based on experiences to-date at the above company.

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