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How to Improve Productivity through Best Practices
Improving productivity in the workplace is always a goal but is usually very hard to achieve. One of the concepts that has been helpful in organizations to improve quality and productivity in recent years is the idea of “Best Practices.” This concept and approach to improving techniques, procedures and processes is explored below.
Use Proven Best Practices
We need to first understand that a best practice is earned. That means it is a tried and tested way of doing something extremely well. The reason we need to be alert to and adopt best practices ourselves is to help us be more productive and our organizations to better accomplish their missions. That’s the reason best practices are developed.
Seek Out Best Practices at Work
Discover and use best practices appropriate for your workplace and job. We benefit by being more productive because we can earn more money that way. By being more effective and/or more efficient, we can increase our own output per hour or that of others for a given level of quality. The organization benefits and we ought to be able to share in those benefits.
Do Resarch to Discover or Develop Best Practices
You might even want to take the initiative in your job or organizational role in identifying existing or new best practices that you and others can apply in order to get better.
One way to do this is to do some research on your own and then approach your boss and/or colleagues with ideas or the outline of a plan. But don’t try to reinvent the wheel all by yourself! Try to uncover existing best practices that are underutilized or have been forgotten. Continuous process improvement can be accomplished by a diligent search for and application of relevant best practices.
Utilize Free Sources of Information
Be aware that a tremendous literature on best practices has evolved and you may be able to tap into that knowledge base in your industry through trade associations, networking and consultants. Never spend money without authorization, but some of the best information could be free.
Use The American Productivity and Quality Center If Possible
If you work for a large organization see if it is a member of APQC (The American Productivity and Quality Center). This 30-year old non-profit has helped companies around the world through benchmarking and best practices research. If your organization is a member then you may be able to access their “Knowledge Base” which has more than 7,000 reports and articles on best practices. If your company is large but is not a member of APQC perhaps it should be?
Final Tips on Improving Productivity in Your Organization
Study, learn and think before you advocate change in your workplace. You may need to build an alliance in order to lobby for better ways of doing things. People resist change, even for the better!
Organizations are far more open to ways of saving money, or improving operations without additional expenditures, than they are to spending more money.
Listen to the people who are actually involved in the processes you are trying to improve. Their experience and knowledge could be worth gold.