Case Study: Wright State University (Winters, 1994)

In 1993, Wright State University fundamentally reconsidered library operations based on BPR thinking and attempted to improve the quality and

Impacts of business process re-engineering (BPR)

Figure 3.9 Impacts of business process re-engineering (BPR).

lower the costs of cataloguing. During that period, the managers referenced Hammer and Champy’s book in order to reform their organisation. Through such processes, they also implemented outsourcing of cataloguing work.

The manager who was in charge of this reorganisation pointed out that the advantages of introducing the management theory in this library were seen greatly in the cost savings. On the other hand, its disadvantage over the long term was the loss of cataloguing professionals. In order to adapt to the new electronic publishing environment, they fundamentally re-examined how library employees do their work.

Case Study: Stanford University Libraries (Winters, 1994)

In the mid-1990s, the Stanford University Libraries reformed its technical service work from a BPR point of view. The members of that project were library employees in ‘selection and purchasing’, ‘cataloguing’ and ‘bookbinding and conservation’, and outside management consultants. The work reforms were mainly carried out with the following three goals in mind: (1) eliminating redundant tasks and delivery between departments; (2) rethinking conventional tasks by using new information technology; and (3) cooperating with outside vendors to respond to increasing services and using information technology. Specifically, it began with reducing the exchange of work between the ‘selection and purchasing’, ‘cataloguing’ and ‘bookbinding and conservation’ departments, by flattening the organisational structure. Subsequently, the department heads of the selection and purchasing and cataloguing departments were eliminated, and a new ‘coordinator’ position was set up. The second step was to redefine the terminology for employees to share common knowledge among themselves. Thirdly, the work process was schematised from cataloguing to book organisation, and it became possible to exchange data with outside vendors through information technology.

The results of introducing BPR were that the time for collecting materials was reduced considerably. Furthermore, along with reducing work processes, it became possible to reduce the number of library employees from 9 or 10 down to just 2 or 3.

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