Benchmarking

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

The Act Phase

Step 9: Develop an action plan, implement procedures, and monitor progress.

"Developing the action plan is the culmination of the benchmarking team's work. At this stage, the team must identify the ways in which the knowledge gained during the benchmarking process can be applied to improve the organization." (Dutile, 1993)

Input to Step 9: The input to Step 9 is the output from Step 8.

  • Functional goals necessary and sufficient to incorporate benchmarking findings and recommendations into the organization.
  • Performance standards that reflect functional goals.
  • Budget allocations that reflect functional goals.

A. Develop the "how to".

In developing an action plan to implement procedures and monitor the progress of the benchmarking initiative, the BMK Team looks at how to:

  • achieve desired results.
  • measure the results.
  • monitor feedback on the process changes.
  • identify the differences in tasks necessary to implement the process changes.
  • identify necessary training.

The QMB determines how to:

  • achieve and measure the results.
  • obtain and monitor the feedback.
  • allocate resources necessary to support the effort (money, people, equipment, materials, training, etc.).
  • propose the action plan to the ESC.

A draft action plan is then presented to the ESC.

B. Get top-level approval of the action plan.

Once the actions have been evaluated and the plan to implement the changes designed, the ESC must sanction a formal, standardized, sequenced process for the implementation of the best practices. The action plan, with milestones for monitoring progress and obtaining customer feedback, should now be approved by the ESC.

The ESC should allow the process owners (QMB) to manage the changes and hold them accountable.

Implementation requires a commitment to change and systems in place to support that change, more than just meetings, briefings, and plans that address the change. The QMB members own the process and are responsible for determining how the effectiveness and efficiency of the new practices will be measured. Lessons learned should be shared throughout the organization.

C. Celebrate successes.

Don't be shy about celebrating and rewarding success. Feedback, praise, and rewards can prove to be great motivators. The organization will have an easier time doing the next benchmarking project if this one goes well.

Output of Step 9: The output of Step 9 is the input for Step 10.

  • Action plan.

Quality Advisor's Checklist

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

  • Is the action plan clear?
  • Does the action plan show how the gaps in performance will be closed?
  • Does the action plan lead to necessary and sufficient changes?
  • Has the QMB supported and praised the BMK Team for its work and recognized its accomplishments?
  • Has the ESC supported and praised the QMB for its work and recognized its accomplishments?
  • Is the organization ready to support and successfully implement the changes to the process?
  • Is a process in place to implement this action plan?
  • Are funds and rewards in place to implement this action plan?

Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook

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