Business process engineers are specialists who are able to design and implement systems with which organizations can operate. Areas of expertise of business process engineers vary depending on the fields in which they work. In the financial sector, for example, a business process engineer might be responsible for designing business intelligence systems and workflow patterns, and in a manufacturing industry, he or she might manage the ordering and distribution of raw materials and completed products. Some of the most common tasks of a business process engineer are to become familiar with an organization's current processes and to design strategies for optimization. He or she might also act as project manager as new systems and processes are implemented, might train and assess employees and might evaluate the effectiveness of new processes.
For the most part, people who work in business process engineer roles are considered experts in their industry and might have years of experience in high-level management positions. They tend to be highly analytical thinkers, as well, and are familiar with the technical aspects of their industries. Some business process engineers might have a deep understanding of information systems and the ways in which data is stored, retrieved and communicated. Others are specialists in areas such as transportation logistics and manufacturing processes. Although larger organizations might hire full-time business process engineers, smaller companies might contract consultants who work independently or for consultant firms.
The first steps for a business process engineer who is taking on a new project commonly include charting and analyzing current processes to learn where they are meeting desired goals and where they are lacking. A business process engineer might then sit down with key decision makers, such as executives, planners and high-level managers, to learn about problems that they are facing and how they would like to see their organization grow in the future. At this point, a process engineer might begin developing possible strategies and presenting them to decision makers to learn which solutions are most viable.
After a business process engineer has learned which strategies he or she is to use, the next step might be to think of technical solutions. It is common for business process engineers to belong to professional organizations and to attend trade shows where they can learn about technological developments that are being used in their specific industries. They might apply this knowledge to current projects.
A business process engineer often acts as a project manager after he or she has found solutions and has developed a strategy. An engineer might begin overseeing implementation by meeting with affected department leaders. It also is common for a business process engineer to evaluate changes in a process to ensure that the process is effective.