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Process Reengineering, as popularized by Michael Hammer in the mid ’90s, involved “blowing processes up” and starting with a “blank sheet of paper.” Although Hammer reconsidered this approach in later books, the idea was to ignore the current process and just design a new one. Process Improvement projects involve analyzing the “as is” process to build profound knowledge about a process, pinpoint existing waste and then use that knowledge to make key changes to the process. Both approaches have the goal of a desired future state, but process improvement achieves it by studying the current state. It’s much cheaper to conduct process improvement!

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.