Resources - Benchmarking

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

The Study Phase

Step 6: Take a systems view.

"A system is a series of functions or activities . . . within an organization that work together for the aim of the organization." (Deming, 1989)

Input to Step 6: The input to Step 6 is the output from Step 5.

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

A. Study the findings in a broader context.

The process owners (QMB) now review the BMK Team's findings and report. First, QMB members ensure a common understanding of the theory behind the process and the analysis of the performance gaps. Then, the QMB takes one step back to look at the bigger picture.

A process consists of interrelated and interacting parts. It is very rarely independent of the other processes and activities in the organization. The inputs, outputs, and outcomes of any process will ultimately impact other processes, and eventually, the aim of the larger organization in some way. Lack of appreciation and consideration of an organization as a system leads to fragmentation and suboptimization. Without a conscious effort by the QMB to see the organization as a system that exists in a dynamic environment, the people and processes in the organization could easily diverge in different directions and be at cross-purposes. The QMB needs to look at any possible impact on other management and operational processes, and then present recommendations to the top leaders (ESC).

The ESC can now review the findings and recommendations. At this level, as the managers of the system, it is important to look again for any larger systems implications. The interdependence of various parts of a system is not always obvious and may be widely separated in time and space. Therefore, the actions and consequences of recommended changes to the process need to be examined by the top-level managers who are ultimately responsible for the system and its aim. Evaluate any policies, rules, and regulations that govern the process to clear the path for success.

B. Make the final recommendations.

Now the findings and recommendations of the ESC, QMB, and BMK Team should be in alignment. The report, with its findings and recommendations, can be presented to all levels throughout the organization for internal customer feedback.

Output from Step 6: The output from Step 6 is the input for Step 7.

  • The final report on findings and recommendations of benchmarking effort.

Questions for the Quality Advisor

Before moving to the next step, the quality advisor should review the following checklist:
  • What other processes will this impact?
  • Did the QMB and ESC look upstream and downstream of the process to see what else might be affected?
  • Who else will be affected?
  • Did all the process owners buy in?
  • Will the recommendations aid the organization in achieving its aim/mission?
  • What are the long-term and short-term costs of implementing this best practice?
  • What impact, if any, will it have on the budget?
  • How might changes to this process affect the strategic plan and/or strategic goals, strategies, and objectives of the organization?
  • Will the people who are working on the process have the motivation and resources to make this successful?

Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook

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