Application of BEST Quick Scan Tool on Case Studies

As stated in Chapter 2, the BEST-method can be used in two ways:

  • 1. The tool provides an assessment as to what extent the process highlighted is a Best Practice. The approach, the results, and the process management are each assessed.
  • 2. It provides an approximate verification that the description contains all the characteristics of a Best Practice and can be effectively used as a benchmark for comparison and improvement.

As noted in previous chapters, the authors must base any assessment using the BEST-tool on the evidence presented, i.e. the material available in texts and on websites from which the examples are drawn. Although we expect that these companies have substantially more information about the practice than documented in an article, we can only use what is published. For reasons of confidentiality, not everything can be published. Since competitors may also consult these materials, the case studies are often intentionally incomplete. Nevertheless, we think that the use of these materials is valuable, as it allows the BEST-method to be demonstrated. It is not the intention of the authors to make value judgments on the quality of the case studies selected for this chapter. Each of the studies chosen represents a successful activity. Most materials published to recognize a company for their performance are not written to be used as a Best Practice. They are used here to show the effectiveness of the Quick Scan BEST-tool.

Most Best Practices found in books and online are not described in sufficient detail to be used for benchmarking. Much detailed information critical to getting the most out of a benchmarking activity may be missing from resources available on the open market. It would be wasted effort to assess all the characteristics of a Best Practice from articles not intended as a complete benchmark.

In 2019 APQC surveyed organizations that use process frameworks for organizational improvement. The results of an associated case study observed that:

organizations understand that to improve their processes, they need to understand their current state. However, they are missing out on opportunities to objectively prioritize their improvement opportunities through benchmarking[1]

The APQC survey report relates that 87.5% of respondents assess the current state of processes as part of a gap analysis. 83.3% determine the “to be” state of processes, 6l.l% prioritize process improvement opportunities, 38.9% benchmark processes internally to identify improvement opportunities, and 34.7% benchmark processes externally to identify improvement opportunities.

The simplified BEST-tool (Quick Scan BEST-tool) provides a framework by which organizations can systematically determine the current and “to be” state of their process and document them sufficiently for improvement gap analysis.

We found that only a small number of the investigated cases can be considered as a Best Practice. In the early development of this book we assessed the available case studies with the complete and detailed BEST- tool. However, we discovered that only a small number of the case studies satisfy the conditions of the (detailed) BEST-tool. Therefore, we developed a Quick Scan BEST-tool. This high-level assessment can be done in less than 20 minutes. If this assessment reveals that the case study is probably a Best Practice, you can then use the detailed BEST-tool (see Chapter 5 for examples) to check whether the case study is a real Best Practice.

The BEST-tool was simplified to accommodate the most common information provided in the examples drawn for assessment. In the assessment of the Best Practices for this BEST Quick Scan chapter, only 32 of the total 73 criteria associated with the BEST-tool have been considered.

The case studies selected for this Quick Scan BEST-tool descriptive chapter are taken from published texts or from pdf files available on a not-for- profit website. The authors employ a publicly available reference to eliminate the need to reproduce the whole text of the case studies. Introductory paragraphs provide a short discussion of each of these case studies followed by an assessment and main conclusions.

The following lists the sources of the ten case studies and the names of the referenced companies mentioned in these publications.

Case study from the book Business Process Benchmarking: Finding and Implementing Best Practices

Author: Robert C. Camp, Editor: ASQC Quality Press (1995), ISBN: 0-87389-296-8

Case study 1: Housekeeping system cycle time reduction at The Ritz- Carlton Hotel Company

Case studies from Healthy Workplaces: A Selection of Global Good Practices Author: Wolf Kirsten, Editor: Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces (1995) Website: aces-Good-Practices.pdf

Case study 2: Lan Spar Bank Denmark Case study 3: GlaxoSmithKline UK Case study 4: Baxter International Inc. USA

Case studies from APQC’s Connecting People to Content: Create, Surface, and Share Knowledge for a Smarter Organization

Author: Lauren Trees, Elizabeth Kaigh, Mercy Harper, and Darcy Lemons, Editor: APQC (2015) Best Practices Report

Website: People-to-Content-Report

Case study 5: Nalco

Case study 6: MWH Global Inc.

Case study from the book The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook, pp. 139-144

Author: Stephanie Bailey M.D., MSHSA Editor: ASQ Quality Press (2009)

ISBN: 978-0-87389-758-7

Case study 7: Already Doing It and Not Knowing It (Chapter 12)

Case study 8: Why is Singapore’s School System So Successful, and Is It a Model for the West?

Author: David Hogan, Honorary Professor, The University of Queensland

Website: -successful-and-is-it-a-model-for-the-west-22917

Case study 9: HR Certification Institute & Top Employers Institute

Title: Emerging Evidence: Business Performance and the Validation of HR Best Practices

Website: practices.pdf

Case study 10: ExxonMobil

Title: Corporate Citizenship Report: Safety, Health, and the Workplace

Website: enship-report

We selected these ten case studies because we believe these could indeed be Best Practices. The more we use the Quick Scan BEST-tool, the more we realize that authors on the Internet use the term Best Practice too loosely. When a process description is attractive or may impress the reader, the authors refer to it as a “Best Practice.” There is no use of a measurement system or an instrument to verify whether the so-called Best Practice is indeed a Best Practice. This explains why we found only a few real Best Practices among the case studies publicly available on the Internet.

A significant advantage of the BEST-tool is that it gives the user an immediate overview of where additional improvements are possible. This advantage contributes directly to the achievement of excellence for the organization or company.

The authors have organized the Quick Scans in Chapter 6 into sections for ease of description. We examined a variety of activities described in ten case studies from across the globe. Each of the sections begins with a short introduction to the anthology, followed by the BEST Quick Scan table, and an interpretation of the findings. Chapter 3 in this book provides explanations of each of the criteria included in the BEST Quick Scan table.

6.1 Business Process Benchmarking: Finding and Implementing Best Practices (Robert Camp)

Robert C. Camp’s best-selling book. Benchmarking: The Search for Industry Best Practices that Lead to Superior Performance served as the premier resource on measuring corporate performance. The book Business Process Benchmarking provides information to show readers how to conduct successful benchmarking projects. Readers will discover how to 1) use Camp’s renowned ten-step benchmarking process to achieve peak performance; 2) analyze the performance gap and ensure that every employee contributes toward enhanced corporate performance; and 3) train employees to use benchmarking tools to maximize the company’s results.

The book provides a wealth of case studies from organizations that have won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award that illustrate how leading-edge organizations have conducted their most productive benchmarking projects.

We analyzed The Ritz-Carlton Hotel case study from Camp’s book by applying the Quick Scan BEST-tool.

  • [1] Lyke-Ho-Gland, Holly and Morgan, Lochlyn, Putting Process Frameworks into Action, APQCSurvey Summary Report Announcement materials. May 2019, APQC, slide 20.
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