A Best Practice is that practice that has been proven to achieve the best results. It represents creative solutions to common problems and has the potential to be replicated internally and externally. Companies are able to learn from other successful organizations by adopting their best practices without the need to reinvent the wheel. Companies can also develop and share their own best practices and innovative solutions.
Developing a best practice program for your company is an integral part of becoming world-class in your field. You need to know what other world-class organizations are doing to become more competitive. The purpose of best practices in not only to find creative solutions to problems, but also to allow new ideas and insights to emerge within the company. It is also a fast and easy way to share lean and continuous improvement successes and accomplishments. This will allow to highlight the many innovations currently in place throughout the company and beyond.
By developing and sharing best practices, everybody can benefit from the successes of others and performance gaps will close over time. This will promote involvement and participation of employees in their workplaces and will directly impact their motivation. And by implementing existing best practices and integrating them into your processes, quality and performance will continue to rise, safety will increase, costs will be reduced, and employees will be more aware and skillful and therefore more productive.
The basic elements of a best practice often include the initial condition or problem, the solution to the problem, and the benefits obtained after implementation.
Other information can also be included such as:
- Drawings and before and after photos.
- The most closely related process and sub-process.
- A reference number (non-duplicative).
- The dates of submission and approval.
- The name of the individual who developed the best practice.
- The name of the individual who should be contacted for more information concerning the best practice.
- Any other information useful to communicate and replicate the best practice.
Don’t allow an improvement opportunity to slip away because of miscommunication. You need to communicate your best practices in a way to promote awareness, understanding and implementation. Resend best practices to relevant people and post them on notice boards so everyone can see, share, and congratulate. Organizations should also utilize databases and intranet based systems to allow best practices to be shared between facilities. This will encourage documenting and submitting them in an easy manner, and enable anyone to access and implement them in their own workplaces.
Documenting a Best Practice
The following steps can serve as a guide to documenting and submitting a best practice:
- Ensure the practice that has been developed is unique and meets the best practice criteria.
- Use a paper form (or an electronic form) to document the best practice.
- Write the title and the initial condition that leads to develop this best practice.
- Write the solution to the condition or problem and the benefits that has been obtained.
- Complete all the required elements and attach any pictures or case studies that you may have.
- Submit the information to the appropriate staff to validate its completeness and correctness.
- Determine when revalidation is necessary and appropriate.