BUSINESS PROCESS RE-ENGINEERING AS A TOOL FOR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: A SURVEY OF CEMENT MANUFACTURING FIRMS IN KENYA
MWANGI ,JOSEPH MURIMA
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The business environment in any industry has a lot of challenges resulting from competitive pressure which is growing at an ever faster pace due to growing customer expectation, globalization and technological development. Organizations are adopting Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) projects in an attempt to transform the organizational subsystems of management (style, values, and measures), people (jobs, skills, and culture), information technology, and organizational structures, including team and coordination mechanisms. Changes to these subsystems are viewed through the analytic lens of the business process (intra-functional, cross-functional, and inter-organizational). The goal of process transformation is improved process products and services measured in terms of cost, quality, customer satisfaction, or shareholder value. The study aimed to establish how various parameters of BPR that is process re-engineering, technology, employee competence, organisational structure, culture and strategy influenced competitive advantage in the six cement manufacturers in Kenya. Descriptive research was conducted using a survey design. A total of 40 top managers participated in the study selected from the six cement manufacturers in Kenya. Since the cement manufacturing companies in Kenya are only six, the study was therefore based on a census survey. Self-administered questionnaires were used in data collection. Descriptive analysis was done using percentages and frequencies. The findings were presented using both tabular and graphical presentation i.e. bar charts, pie charts and tables. The findings of this study showed that the major driving force behind BPR project was aimed at improving efficiency followed by customer service improvement, cost reduction, and lastly to increase profitability. The findings of this study showed that organizations should aim to initiate changes in the entire organization instead of undertaking small changes in departments and strategic business units which may lead to delays or impact negatively on customer service thus affecting performance. The key areas of performance improvements can include reduction in wastages, improvement in quality of products and vi services, increased revenue and improved customers experience. It is imperative for companies to give up obsolete ways of doing business and adapt to dynamic environment. Process innovation is highly recommended as the sure step to sustainable competitive advantage. BPR should be accompanied by strategic planning, which should concentrate on exploiting technology as a competitive tool; ensure efficiency in distribution of roles, responsibilities and resources to support process activities and ensure that IT is an integral part of the reengineering initiative right from the beginning. Key operational terms: Business process reengineering and competitive advantage.