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  What is BPI?

Business Process Improvement (BPI) is an approach organizations use to review and redesign an existing process or to design a new process. Typically, a work process consists of a series of actions or steps that produce a product or service. BPI is used to analyze the current way of doing things and to determine whether there is a better way to design how the work gets done.

What Prompts the Use of BPI
In many cases, current processes have been in place for years and have gradually become outmoded. This may prompt a decision to overhaul "the way we do business." Such was the case when the Department of Facilities used BPI to redesign the repair and maintenance function at MIT. Organizations will also sponsor BPI initiatives when they are presented with changes brought on by advances in technology or other innovations.

There are many examples of process improvements inspired by the advent of the Web:

  • within HR and Payroll, employees can now choose to make their own benefits changes online
  • at the Sloan School, students can use the Web to gather information or apply to the school
  • many departments, labs, and centers can order supplies online

These are all changes in the way the processes used to work.

Customers may also prompt an organization to undertake a review or redesign of a business process. As customers' expectations change, many organizations recognize the need to update how they do business. Changing customer demands, and the desire to lower costs, led banks to the development of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Once consumers were exposed to the their convenience, evolving customer expectations for access and service led to their widespread use, dramatically changing the banking industry. Amazon.com appealed to numerous consumers who wanted to be able to buy books at reasonable prices without going to a bookstore.

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