The DON Benchmarking Model was developed after studying more than 20 other benchmarking models by recognized experts in the benchmarking and quality arenas, such as: AT&T's 12 step process; Spendolini's 11 steps; Camp's, Texas Instruments., and Xerox's 10 steps; Coopers & Lybrand's 9 steps; GM's 8 steps; Westinghouse's 7 steps; Goal/QPC, Alcoa, and Watson's 6 steps; GTE's 5 steps; and APQC's and the Air Force's 4 step models. Each model had its own value and strengths. The DON Benchmarking Model is unique for a number of reasons.
The DON Benchmarking Model is a 10 step model that relates directly to the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle attributed to Dr. W. Edwards Deming. This model uses the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle from Deming's 1993 book, The New Economics, because the word "study" most accurately reflects the activities taking place during a benchmarking initiative. The model in this section identifies steps 1 through 3 as part of the Plan phase, steps 4 and 5 in the Do phase, steps 6 through 8 in the Study phase, and steps 9 and 10 in the Act phase.
In keeping with the DON Total Quality Leadership (TQL) approach, the DON Benchmarking Model takes a systems view of the benchmarking process. An overview of the appropriate roles and responsibilities at every level of the organization follows. The DON Benchmarking Model as a System diagram at the end of this section graphically identifies the inputs and outputs for each step.
Top leaders, process owners, and working-level employees are all partners in this effort. Depending on the process an organization selects to benchmark, the size of the organization, and its maturity in total quality implementation, a Benchmarking (BMK) team may be somewhat different than what may be typically thought of by the organization.
The BMK Team can be cross functional, with various levels of employees serving on the team. The design and structure of the BMK Team is formed based on its appropriateness to the process being benchmarked.
The Overview of the DON BMK Model provides guidance in adapting the BMK Team within the standard TQL team structure. It is not the intent of this effort to simply create more teams and more meetings. The needs and requirements of the BMK Team should dictate the composition of the structure.
For maximum return on investment, the entire BMK process should begin and end with the organization's strategic plan. The strategic plan helps leaders to provide a framework and focus for an organization's improvement efforts (Wells and Doherty, 1994). Benchmarking initiatives can be the first step in achieving those improvements. When the initial benchmarking process is concluded, the vision, goals, strategies, and objectives of the strategic plan may need to be recalibrated based on the data collected and analyzed in the study of best practices.
Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook
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