Resources - Benchmarking

The DON Benchmarking Model for Conducting a Benchmarking Study: The 10 Steps

Step 2. Select and prepare the Benchmarking (BMK) Team.

"The wisdom of teams lies not in encouraging teams for their own sake, but rather in helping those on potential teams have the chance to pursue their own performance challenges." (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993)

Input for Step 2: The input for Step 2 is the output from Step 1:
  • A significant process to benchmark.
  • A top leader (ESC member) as benchmark champion.
  • A chartered QMB.
  • The type and desired level of improvement.

A. Charter and guide the BMK Team.

The Benchmarking (BMK) Team charter is a document designed by the QMB to guide the team. The BMK Team may be cross functional, and may have various levels of employees working on it. The needs and requirements of the BMK Team are dictated by the process to be benchmarked. The charter will align the expectations of the BMK Team with the QMB and the ESC (DON Team Skills and Concepts, 1996).

In broad terms, the charter should state:

  • the purpose of the team.
  • any specific issues/problems/concerns identified by the QMB or ESC.
  • their priorities.
  • the goals and expectations of the QMB.
  • any boundaries or parameters.
  • the estimated resources available.
  • the reporting requirements.
  • the level of decision-making authority of the BMK Team.

In designing the BMK Team, the QMB should consider the size required and any time frames or other limitations that need to be imposed. (Any required changes can be negotiated between the BMK Team and QMB when necessary.) The BMK Team's charter should also provide guidance for any plans of action and milestones (POA&M) that need to be developed.

B. Clarify the roles and responsibilities.

The QMB needs to clarify the BMK Team members. roles and responsibilities.

The team leader:

  • serves as the project manager.
  • works with the quality advisor/facilitator to design agendas.
  • oversees the team's resources and negotiates financial support with the assistance of the QMB linking pin.
  • oversees the administration of the project logistics.
  • reminds the team of benchmarking protocol, etiquette, and Code of Conduct.

The quality advisor/facilitator:

  • serves as the consultant to the team leader.
  • provides guidance on how to apply the DON Benchmarking Model.
  • enforces the BMK Team's ground rules.
  • provides just-in-time training in TQ team skills/tools.
  • promotes participation and teamwork.

The linking pin from the QMB to the BMK Team:

  • serves as the executive champion and ESC delegate.
  • supports the BMK Team members and provides resources when needed.
  • communicates up the chain of command.
  • provides feedback and recognition for the team's efforts.

Note: The linking pin may also be the benchmarking champion, as described in Step 1c.

The union representative (where applicable):

  • serves as a labor partner to management.
  • expresses any concerns of union officials.

The information manager/recorder:

  • serves as the team's librarian.
  • records and keeps the minutes.
  • organizes and retains relevant literature and records.

Team members:

Team members need to have an understanding of and experience working with the overall process being benchmarked. Among the members, expertise in one or more of the following areas is necessary to execute the BMK Team's work:

  • designing a detailed flowchart of the internal process being benchmarked.
  • conducting research projects.
  • data collection and analysis methods.
  • identifying special causes.
  • performance measurement methods.
  • technical expertise in the process.
  • record keeping skills.
  • time keeping skills.
  • oral skills for presenting briefs.
  • written skills for developing reports.
  • a reliable point of contact for the benchmarking partner(s) and the site visit coordinator(s).
  • leadership skills for leading teams and fostering teamwork.

Note: Administrative support is a necessary and important element for the BMK Team's success.

A Word of Advice: The individuals selected for the team will have an effect on the overall credibility of the study. A variety of personality types should be included on the team. All the members (the forward thinker and the foot dragger, the extrovert and the introvert, the enthusiastic supporter and the cynic) represent points of view also found in the larger organization and can add substantial value to the final outcome of the benchmarking project.

C. Flowchart the process to be benchmarked.

A flowchart (or a process map) is essential to a common understanding of the current process and also enables the teams to make quick, precise process comparisons. The flowchart should reflect the .as-is. process, not necessarily the "should-be" process. Later, this flowchart will be compared to the benchmarking partners. flowchart. Gaps and/or non-value added steps in the process will demonstrate the changes that need to be made.

Output from Step 2: The output from Step 2 is the input for Step 3.

  • A chartered BMK Team.
  • A flowchart of the process to be benchmarked.

Quality Advisor's Checklist

Before moving to the next step, the quality advisor should review the following checklist:

  • How did the QMB ensure that the appropriate employees are on the BMK Team?
  • Does the BMK Team charter provide clear guidance for the team?
  • Is there a method for changing/adding/deleting BMK Team members if necessary?
  • Is there someone on the BMK Team or someone who could be brought in as a resource to ensure that the BMK Team has all the skills and tools it needs?
  • Have all members of the BMK Team understood and agreed to their roles and responsibilities?
  • Is there a detailed flowchart of the "as-is" process to be benchmarked? At the Process Owners (QMB) level with Top Management (ESC) Linking Pin:

Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook

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