Benchmarking

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

The Act Phase

Step 10. Recalibrate.

"The recalibration process [is] so necessary to stay current with changing conditions and the process for reaching a mature benchmarking position that yields superior performance." (Camp, 1992)

Input to Step 10: The input to Step 10 is the output from Step 9.

  • Action plan.

A. Monitor your best practices process.

Once superiority is attained, the need for improvement still exists. Other organizations will benchmark your success and overtake you. To maintain superiority, the need remains for a continuous focus on improvement.

Recalibration means to reset the graduation marks used to indicate and calculate values. The new values become internal measurements for the next benchmarking effort. Review the completed benchmarking study and establish a new process baseline. Continue to monitor your current best practice against others. By recalibrating existing benchmarks based on potential and known new technologies and practices, the organization maintains its place at the forefront of quality, efficiency, and profitability. This sustained level of leading industry practices is the true aim of benchmarking.

B. Repeat cycle.

Once the benchmarking project is complete, start over. Have ongoing visits with your benchmarking partner(s). Environments evolve, technologies advance, new regulations are introduced. Competitors arise from unsuspected areas.

Recalibration doesn't just happen; it must be planned. There are no hard and fast rules on the frequency. One approach would be to recalibrate annually. A shorter timeframe would not be worthwhile since a best practice probably won't change that fast and the benchmarking process itself will probably take months to perform. If an organization reviews its strategic plan annually or semiannually, this may produce an opportune time to recalibrate benchmarks. Recalibration beyond three years will probably become a massive exercise.

The recalibration process means reexamining all 10 steps of the DON Benchmarking Model. No step should be skipped or assumed not necessary to repeat.

Many business processes can benefit from benchmarking. Expose and encourage the organization to learn more about the benchmarking process. For example, Xerox Corporation has trained thousands of employees, including most managers, in benchmarking practices. Managers and employees throughout the organization are empowered to initiate and conduct their own benchmarking projects. .This proliferation of trained and experienced employees results in a virtual continuous state of benchmarking activity across all departments, locations, and divisions. (Spendolini, 1992).

Output of Step 10: A continuous benchmarking process.

Source: USN Benchmarking Handbook

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