What is the best process you have ever experienced?

We all recognize and appreciate  highly optimized processes from online retailers like Amazon, Overstock and Zappos. These companies make process management seem easy, ensuring a shopping experience you can count on. This got me thinking, there’s a lot we can learn from these seemingly simple daily processes we take for granted. These processes are everywhere from having your car inspected to getting food in your favorite restaurant. These processes  have one central thing in common we should all aspire too: somebody really thought about how to make this process work perfectly and easily for the masses. (no simple feat)

Recently, I conquered the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. It was amazing! With stunning views and heights that make you question your sanity. But the one thing I kept focusing on was the impeccable process you follow to the top.
For those of you comfortable with heights and want to share an experience that lasts a lifetime, here’s the process:

  • Everything is done online before you arrive at the bridge. You choose your climb option and pay for your experience before leaving your hotel room. When you arrive at the bridge you tell the guide your size to receive the  proper clothing. Then you’re shown to room number 1.
  • Room 1 is where you get your jump suit, cap and clothes all in that order. All the items  are attached to each other so you can’t lose anything  during the climb. You change and put your own clothes in a closet. Of course the  key to the closet is on a lanyard so you can easily wear the key  around your neck. There are no pockets in  your jump suit eliminating the idea you can lose something during the climb. Now onto room 2.
  • Room 2 is where you receive your safety belt. The safety belt  is attached to the wall in such a way for you to easily slip into it. They make this step so simple, you can’t mess it up even without any training. Time for room 3.
  • In room 3 you walk through a training model to see if you can cope with the height. (This is where it gets real.) There are no wait times as you can chose various training options like how to use the safety lines. Before you know it, you’re off.
  • You start the walk where every 20 minutes you get to a safety point where you can  get off the bridge if you don’t feel well. You climb your way to the top, where the guide is equipped with a camera to take pictures since you safely left your belongings back in the closet.
  • After the climb, you walk down to room 2 again. You connect the safety belt back to the wall so you can easily get out and later others can easily step in.
  • Back to room 1 you put your gloves, cap and the jump suit back in boxes marked with the right sizes. You get back into your own clothes and you leave the venue where you pick your pictures up on the way out. The pictures are of course  available as print or on a CD.

What amazed me about the bridge climb was not just the how small you feel at the top but how optimized the process is from  end-to-end. Each step was structured perfectly to maximize the number of  people who could do the bridge walk. At the same time, strict safety regulations and risk management were embedded throughout  the process. Balancing regulations with efficiency worked out perfectly. In addition the  heritage and conservation issues were addressed sensitively and it was no surprise to me why the company running the climb has received numerous industry awards.

This experience was unforgettable and the process was remarkable, I couldn’t help but share my excitement with all of you.  Do you have examples of a daily manual process that amazed you?

About Joerg Klueckmann

Joerg Klueckmann has written 30 posts in this blog.

Joerg Klueckmann is head of Enterprise BPM at Software AG. He studied sociology, business administration and intercultural communication at FSU, Jena, Germany, and at Louisiana State University in the U.S., where he graduated with distinction. Prior to joining Software AG, Joerg was head of product marketing at Intershop and IDS Scheer. He has written numerous articles about business process management, business innovation and process intelligence.

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