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|What is it?|
|The pioneer of benchmarking, Xerox, defines benchmarking as the continuous process of measuring products, services and practices against the toughest competitors or those companies recognized as industry leaders (best in class). Benchmarking is the process of identifying, understanding, and adapting outstanding practices from organizations anywhere in the world to help your organization improve its performance. Benchmarking can be applied to processes or process metrics. It is a methodology in striving to attain a leap-ahead rather than gradual improvement and looks for the significant new aspect of a process that will accelerate innovation and change, to yield a breakthrough improvement, on the way to a world-class level of performance / customer satisfaction. Benchmarking is not a way of getting someone off your case by proving that you have nothing to learn and it is not a quick, easy, number crunching, spying, copying, espionage or gradual improvement.|
|Why is it important?|
|Benchmarking eliminates the guess work by looking at processes and enablers that lead to best practices. Benchmarking doesn’t limit itself to competitive information; it seeks innovation by looking outside the industry paradigm. People often mistake benchmarking for competitive analysis. Competitive analysis typically looks at intelligence data: facts and figures, product breakdown (reverse engineering) strategic goals. It’s a guessing game as to how to achieve the competitive advantage. Companies benchmark in order to: develop and implement strategic goals establish realistic actionable objectives provide a sense of urgency encourage striving for perfection and innovative thinking create a better understanding of the industry, and emphasize sensitivity to changing customer needs.|
|When to use it?|
|Benchmarking can be done prior to embarking on a new process or reengineering an existing one. This enables the organization to set a stake of objectivity in the ground and establish a standard. By understanding the state of operations before one can define improvement goals such as reducing unit costs by x percent a year, or improving service levels by y percent a year. Once the agreement is in place, continued measurement can track progress over time. Benchmarking can be a very useful management tool.|
|How to use it?|
|Follow the Plan – Analyze – Integrate – Act / Check cycle [which is parallel to the Plan – Do – Check – Act (PDCA) cycle].
|What’s on the web?|
|APQC Benchmarking/Best Practices
Presentation on Benchmarking
The Benchmarking Center [UK]
The Benchmarking Resource Guide
Self-Assessment & Action Planning: Using the Baldridge Organizational Profile for Business
The Benchmarking Exchange [TBE]’s SelfAssessor program has launched a new way for you to get a quick look on how your department, division or entire organization measures up. The report will also show how you rated compared with others across all industries as a whole.
Many organizations also use this service to compare like departments within their own organization, anywhere in the world, then by comparing the report cards for each department they can learn which department needs assistance in certain processes and which department is the best choice to get assistance from.
By completing a series of questions on a simple form at http://184.108.40.206/ selfassess/bald1/bp.cfm you will automatically and instantaneously receive a customized report showing how you rated.
This service is free to anyone. Just another one of those wonderful business process improvement tools from the makers of BenchNet and IndustryMetrics.com
|Food for Thought !|