Resources - Benchmarking

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

Step 5: Determine performance gaps and strengths.

"The organization sees evidence of what others can do and accepts goals more readily because they are more realistic." (Thor, 1995)

Input to Step 5: The input to Step 5 is the output from Step 4.

  • A data collection plan and method.
  • Quantitative (just the numbers) and qualitative (what the numbers mean) performance measures of the process.
  • A blind list of partners in order of where they rank in each performance measure.

A. Analyze performance gaps and strengths.

At this step, the BMK Team, with the guidance and support of the process owner's (QMB's) linking pin, can analyze the gaps between the organization's current process performance and that of the benchmarked partner(s) by:
  • analyzing the gaps in your current business process against your benchmarking partner(s) and determining your strengths as well as your areas to target for improvement.
  • doing a performance gap analysis with a detailed comparison of the .as-is. process to the "best-in-class."
  • listing the best practices and the strengths where benchmarking partner(s) display superior performance.
  • showing parity where there are no significant differences.
  • describing where your internal practices are superior to the benchmarked partner(s).
  • producing the analysis necessary for the benchmarking report and preparing to make recommendations to the process owners (QMB) based on that analysis.
  • determining reasons for the gaps.
  • projecting any future competitive gaps.
  • re-flowcharting your process as a "could-be" process.

B. Produce a benchmarking report.

This report is intended to provide a summary of the benchmarking study, a permanent record for the organization, and an internal communications document. The report can also be used as a foundation for future benchmarking initiatives. It might include the following information:

  • A statement of the need/purpose of the benchmarking study.
  • The background on the study, which might include:
    • how and why the process was selected
    • how and why the partners were selected
    • charts or current performance measurements.
  • The customers of the process benchmarked and any specific customer requirements addressed by the analysis. z The BMK Team members and the QMB members to whom they reported.
  • An illustration of the benchmarking project's calendar and milestones.
  • A description of the process as it actually existed at the start of the study (through an outline, flowchart, process map, matrix, charts, or narrative).
  • Information sources researched and the criteria used in selecting partners.
  • A description of the methodology used to collect the data.
  • A data summary or matrix.
  • An analysis of the data collected.
  • The conclusions and results of the benchmarking study.
  • The current performance gaps and strengths.
  • Recommendations from the benchmarking team on improving the process.
  • Identification of the next steps to be taken.
  • Any lessons learned.
  • A re-flowchart or updated process map of the new, "could-be" process.

Output from Step 5: The output from Step 5 is the input for Step 6.

  • Data collected. Data analyzed. The BMK Team's benchmarking report.

Quality Advisor's Checklist

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

  • What are the strengths of the current process?
  • Where can the current process be improved?
  • Are the gaps in performance clearly identified?
  • Were the gaps understood in terms of their tactical and strategic impact?
  • Does the benchmarking report address the issues and concerns found in the original charter?
  • Are customer requirements in the benchmarked organization similar or vastly different?

Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook

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