Best Practice Definition

Methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as benchmarks to strive for. There is, however, no practice that is best for everyone or in every situation, and no best practice remains best for very long as people keep on finding better ways of doing things.

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Where do we go to find best practices? It’s a question most managers have asked themselves at one time or another.  At some point, we recognize that we don’t always have the answers we need for improving operating performance.  And with that recognition comes additional questions about where to look to get those answers.

Finding the best, and most relevant, sources for our particular problem can be challenging.  While there is no shortage of access to information these days thanks to the Internet, the volume we have to wade through can be daunting.   In addition to the Internet, there are industry associations, various publications and people we know whose opinions we trust and value.  I think one of the most overlooked sources of information on best practices is often right under our very noses, and that is the service partners that we work with every day.

We recently hosted a Webinar for our clients: “Field Service 2.0: Bringing Best Practices To & From the Front Line…Everyday.”  The webinar featured a company, UGL-Unicco, that provides facilities and maintenance services to the real estate and facilities management space.   While it would be easy to classify UGL-Unicco as a “cleaning company” at its core, that would be simplistic. They are an international powerhouse, a market leader in their space and are as sophisticated in their operations and business practices as any of the companies they serve.  They have achieved their place in the market through a relentless commitment to continuous improvement and managed the change required to support it.  They have successfully created a system for scouting  pockets of excellence and best practices from across their organization, as well as a means for sharing them with any of their clients to apply to many areas of their own businesses.

And the effort has certainly payed off.  In an industry where companies change vendors more than clothes, UGL boasts a 95% client retention rate.

The real beauty of looking to your suppliers for guidance on best practices is that it is in their best interests to help you- and doesn’t that help define what a true partnership with your service providers should look like?

The next time you have an internal discussion about process or business improvement and you are making your list of information and other resources, don’t forget to look internally and consider involving your service providers in the discussion.  Sometimes the answers are right under your nose.