Benchmarking is a technique in which a company measures its performance against that of best in class companies, determines how those companies achieved their performance levels and uses the information to improve its own performance. Subjects that can be benchmarked include strategies, operations and processes. (ASQ)
There are two forms of benchmarking:
Performance: analysis of relative business performance through key performance metrics.
Process/Functional: analysis of key processes and functions.
The process for benchmarking is:
- Collect Data
- Adapt and Improve
The starting point for any benchmarking is identifying areas within your own organization that have significant impact on your business and need to be improved.
The next is to analyze these internal processes, activities and metrics in detail so that you understand the details and aspects that need to be improved. This will allow you to accurately establish benchmark questions with which to engage in benchmarking.
It is also valuable to treat benchmarking like any other project, selecting key team members, establishing responsibilities, timelines, implementation milestones and assessment of impact.
This structure avoids site visit benchmarking becoming industrial tourism, where you just turn up at a company and ‘look for what interests you’. This usually results in multiple people returning with the same information, huge gaps in the knowledge needed to create successful change and nothing really happening on your return.
Following the above tips can ensure that when you visit a company for benchmarking purposes you will make the most use of your time and obtain the exact information required, implement change and create improvement.