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The Business Process Methodology Behind Traffic Jams

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No one likes rush hour traffic, especially when it stretches farther than the eyes can see. For the poor commuters in Beijing, the gridlock is not only record breaking in distance, but has been persisting for ten days straight. released an article revealing the conditions in 2010 on Beijing’s highways.

Below is an excerpt detailing the astonishing 60-mile traffic jam.

Cars and trucks have been slowed to a crawl since August 14 on the National Expressway 110, which is also known as the G110, the major route from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, Xinhua News reported.

Officials expect the congestion to continue until workers complete construction projects on September 13, the report said. 

State media reported that Chinese drivers have become accustomed to the severe delays, noting a similar jam in July that slowed traffic for close to a month.

surprised consultant about traffic

© Flickr user quinn.anya

According to the article, this phenomenon is due to ongoing construction and an increase in trucks on the roads. And as horrific as it sounds, for those stuck in the middle, it’s beyond imaginable. Not only are they moving less than a mile per day and paying the high dollar for food and drinks from temporary road vendors, the estimated wait time is upwards of a month. Yet, the worst aspect of all is the lack of control bestowed upon the highway patrons. Due to circumstances beyond their reach, drivers are forced to buy expensive food and drinks, to miss work, and to spend time away from their families. Sadly, all anyone can do is sit in their immobile cars and wait for someone else to fix the problem.

Although this story is disheartening, it’s certainly one we all can learn from. After all, the best way to create solutions is to examine past challenges, reflect on the core issues and improve upon them. So when it comes to failure, take time to ask the imperative questions:

  • What systems are in place when errors and delays occur?
  • What can be done to properly support those effected by failure?
  • Are stakeholders empowered and knowledgeable enough to remedy issues on their own?
  • How will the effects of failure compromise and/or boost our company? Our workflow?

Don’t attempt to create a plan that prevents failure. Instead, create one that anticipates failure. Doing so will help maintain a strong system that acts accordingly and fosters continuous improvement. 

If broken processes in your office are preventing productivity and creating an environment full of gridlocks, contact our consultants today. We will help identify problems in your workflow and assist in breaking your team free of office jams.

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