The bicycle book example.
So the story goes, a business process management consultant walked into an office to meet with the manager of the site to discuss a major process redesign. As he waited, he noticed as the staff members came into the office, those who biked into the building signed the bicycle book. However, only those that biked in would get this honour. Upon asking at reception the reason for this, they were told that the book, once completed, went to HR, but they did not know why. At HR, the consultant was told that the completed books were then stored in the files, as it has always been. After a little more digging, it came back to a time where those that cycled were given a lunch entitlement, but that had long elapsed.
The bicycle book served no purpose, nor meaning, it created no value and was simply an action and really a waste of resource. Could a process redesign be used here? I think it was probably beyond even that…
Why is business process redesign so important?
Of course, the bicycle book example, whether its history is steeped in truth or myth, raises an interesting point. When a business is operational, it is sometimes incredibly difficult to take a step back and review certain processes. After all, surely every process has an outcome, and if that outcome is serving its purpose. Can it really be that broken?
In article published in Harvard Business Review, business owners are urged to fix the process, not the problem. That is what a business process management consultant looks to do when working with a client.
There are classic telltale signs that actually, the process over time has moved away from its original design and purpose. Especially if you are well versed in knowing where to look. Complexity and misalignment over time can easily creep in and whilst the machine is still turning, it may be at times, stuttering in its purpose.
Simply, business process reengineering is about defining the requirements of the process, ensuring that all steps add value and implementing the redesign effectively within the team.