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Main Dictionary B

Best Practices

Best practices are a system of procedures which are aimed at reaching the finest results for a certain organization or a business and are acclaimed to be the most efficient way of achieving such results. Best practices might be realized in a form of a guidebook, a list of recommendations or a procedure algorithm, a code of ethics, a scheme with graphical representation of needed work order, or in any other structure providing a clear description of what should be done for the best outcome.

Best practices might be worked out internally within a company, or borrowed and adapted from a third party, its source is not critically important as far as its main goal of ensuring the best performance is achieved. If for some reason the results aren’t as good as expected, it’s worth revising and changing a company’s best practices. For some spheres and industries, though, best practices are prepared and released by authorities and are heavily recommended to be implemented.

Some of the most famous and universally acclaimed best practices include Just In Time (also known as JIT), which is focused on better timing of supply and production, and Kaizen, a Japanese system aimed at overall enhancing of working environment.

Best Practices importance

Best practices, when selected and applied properly, serve as a basis for solving a variety of issues that might rise during business activities. If best practices are used in a manufacturing company, they are usually presented to the workers, and, in that case, best practices generally offer the most productive way of completing the tasks, at the same time ensuring a safe environment for the employees. 

If best practices are implemented in other spheres, they are targeted at their key features. For instance, a set of principles accepted as best practices in accounting (also called GAAP), prepared and issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board of the US, serves to maintain and enhance clarity and transparency in accounting, ensuring the principles of comparing the data received from various organizations within a given sphere.

In general, best practices might be applied in a broad range of spheres, from abovementioned accounting and manufacturing to investing, education, healthcare and so on, providing managers and employees with guidelines and instructions on how to handle different situations, avoid problems and achieve better results. Best practices offer not just vague recommendations, but also allow evaluating performance against certain benchmarks and are often based on researches and experience.

Establishing Best Practices

There are two main ways of setting up best practices:

  • Natural forming of best practices, which happens over a long time of working through testing and trying out different options and methods, making mistakes and determining the most efficient way of doing things in practice. Then the best solutions are usually brought together into a set of guidelines and recommendations.
  • Controlled establishing of best practices, which is usually performed by some kind of organizational authority through research of best practices of other similar organizations, studying processes within their own company, identifying and assessing problems, and adapting the received information into a set of procedures adjusted for a certain business.

There are usually several stages of implementing best practices for a given organization. These stages may vary depending on a sphere, but in most cases they include the following actions:

  1. Identifying areas that need implementing of best practices, studying those areas and detecting problematic spots;
  2. Researching of existing best practices in the same business sphere and working areas and picking the most suitable ones;
  3. Setting the measures and benchmarks for evaluation;
  4. Adapting and adjusting the prototype version of best practices for certain needs and specifics, using all the gathered information;
  5. Presenting the results to all the company employees involved, with further implementing and supervising the process;
  6. Getting feedback, evaluating the result with possible corrections being made.

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