Resources - Benchmarking

Why Benchmark?

Benchmarking can greatly enhance an organization's performance. Researching and comparing a core business process to the best-in-class can yield dramatic benefits in a reasonably short length of time. Yet benchmarking does involve a commitment of resources and therefore is not to be entered into lightly.

A clear objective for the benchmarking initiative will greatly increase the likelihood of success. Some of the reasons why organizations use benchmarking are:

  1. to accelerate process improvement. Incremental change is often slow to produce results that people can see. Leaders are more likely to implement a major change in work processes because benchmarking demonstrates that it has been done successfully by others.
  2. to forecast industry trends. Because it requires the study of industry leaders, benchmarking can provide numerous indicators on where a particular business might be headed, which ultimately may pave the way for the organization to take a leadership position.
  3. to discover emerging technologies. The benchmarking process can help leaders uncover technologies that are changing rapidly, newly developed, or state-of-the-art.
  4. to stimulate strategic planning. The type of information gathered during a benchmarking effort can assist an organization in clarifying and shaping its vision of the future.
  5. to enhance goal-setting. Knowing the best practices in your business can dramatically improve your ability to know what goals are realistic and attainable.
  6. to maximize award-winning potential. Many prestigious award programs, such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program, the federal government's President's Quality Award Program, and numerous state and local awards recognize the importance of benchmarking and allocate a significant percentage of points to organizations that practice it.
  7. to comply with Customer Service Standards.

Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook

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