According to Business Link, the official UK government website for businesses, best practice means “finding – and using – the best ways of working to achieve your business objectives.” This involves monitoring successful businesses, including those outside your sector, and measuring how you work against how the market leaders operate. Evaluating how your operations compare with the most effective and profitable enterprises, and then using their most successful elements - the 'best practice' - in your own business, can make a big difference.
Best practice through benchmarking
Applying best practice means learning from and through the experience of others. One way of doing this is through benchmarking, which allows you to compare your business with other successful businesses to highlight areas where your business could improve.
Best practice through standards
Independent bodies such as the British Standards Institution (BSI) establish standards, which are fixed specifications or benchmarks. BSI develops both technical and management standards:
- technical standards are precise specifications against which a business can measure the quality of its product, service or processes
- management standards are models for achieving best business and organizational practice
Applying the appropriate standards to your business will enable you to apply best practice across the organization, and to work against objective criteria to achieve manufacturing or service quality.
A best practice strategy can help your business to:
- become more competitive
- increase sales and develop new markets
- reduce costs and become more efficient
- improve the skills of your workforce
- use technology more effectively
- reduce waste and improve quality
- respond more quickly to innovations in your sector
The guide goes on to provide in-depth applications of best practice to management, people management, and sales and marketing. It also provides useful information on how IT can improve the use of best practice for businesses.