D. R. Rice Company

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What is Best Practice?

By Don Rice

There are at least three categories of activities that can be identified as Best Practice. The first are general management practices. These are the thing that should or could be done in virtually all companies. These include performance measurements, Total Quality tools, Meeting Skills, Project management, and Time Management. Best practice for these activities would describe how to use them to best benefit the customer, company and individual.

The second set of activities would be the foundation set of skills or processes. In manufacturing I describe these as:

1) Accurate inventory data;

2) Accurate and properly structured bills of materials;

3) Valid promises to internal and external suppliers;

4) Valid promises to internal and external customers;

5) Don't try to put 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag.

Best practice in these activities would be achieving a minimum standard of performance within operating tolerances.

The third set of activities would include all the fun stuff that is being pushed or sold to manufacturing companies now, Lean Manufacturing, Flow Manufacturing, Synchronous Flow, etc. These are the improvement areas that will separate the good from the great companies. Doing these activities well is what creates the unbelievable business results that are typically seen or written about.

I think it is important that people recognize that without the first two sets of activities in place the benefits from the third set are diminished. Most companies want to start on the third set because it is fun, trendy and can provide tremendous business results. But a common mistake is to overlook the first two set of activities.

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D. R. Rice Company

9326 Lake Shore Drive Brentwood, TN 37027 615-221-2196 riceco@riceco.us