Something went wrong with our process…and terrible things happened.Assuming GM wasn't doing BPM, or at least not well, what aspect of BPM should have revealed a fault in their processes and how would BPM prevent this from ever happening again?
Peter, great thought experiment.
We have a reference to "process" by the senior executive of a company, who by their own admission concedes errors, errors which resulted in the worst possibly outcomes for purchasers of vehicles.
1. IS IT APPROPRIATE TO TALK ABOUT PROCESS HERE? I agree that the use of the word process here is legitimate, although as some of your correspondents have pointed out, the process we are talking about is at a very high level. But as any readers of my posts elsewhere may recall. business process management is the core of what business is about, and that includes design for safety.
2. GOVERNANCE BEFORE PROCESS -- This situation highlights what is often a challenge in selling BPM. Selling BPM is my business. Because BPM is about the core of business, any business dysfunctions will be captured -- or not -- in the business process. For example, one may identify an opportunity to "sell some software to automate a process" -- but said process touches multiple departments. What do you think that there's no process owner? And no process owner, no sale. Or consider inter-company purchases and fulfillment processes (EDI AS2, ebXML and RosettaNET etc.); a great idea, but the adoption of such processes only happens when you have a strong "anchor", such as Walmart or GM -- because such processes are so complex.
In the case of the car company at hand, I think it's a little disingenuous of the CEO to blame process; process is merely the carrier of corporate values and the expression of corporate commitment to a way of doing business.
I have no doubt that the appointment of GM's new CEO is a great thing for GM and the NA auto industry generally. But I don't think BPM will "prevent anything like this from happening again" - that's too much of a burden on BPM.