Benchmarking is a process of measuring the performance of a company’s products, services, or processes against those of another business considered to be the best in the industry. The point of benchmarking is to identify internal opportunities for improvement. By studying companies with superior performance, breaking down what makes such superior performance possible, and then comparing those processes to how your business operates, you can implement changes that will yield significant improvements.
That might mean tweaking a product’s features to more closely match a competitor’s offering, or changing the scope of services you offer, or installing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system to enable more personalized communications with customers.
There are two basic kinds of improvement opportunities: continuous and dramatic. Continuous improvement is incremental, involving only small adjustments to reap sizeable advances. Dramatic improvement can only come about through re-engineering the whole internal work process. In project management benchmarking can also support the selection, planning and delivery of projects.
In the process of best practice bench marking, management identifies the best firms in their industry, or in another industry where similar processes exist, and compares the results and processes of those studied (the “targets”) to one’s own results and processes. In this way, they learn how well the targets perform and, more importantly, the business processes that explain why these firms are successful. According to National Council on Measurement in Education, benchmark assessments are short assessments used by teachers at various times throughout the school year to monitor student progress in some area of the school curriculum. These also are known as interim government.
Steps in Benchmarking
- Choose a product, service, or internal department to benchmark
- Determine which best-in-class companies you should benchmark against – which organizations you’ll compare your business to
- Gather information on their internal performance, or metrics
- Compare the data from both organizations to identify gaps in your company’s performance
- Adopt the processes and policies in place within the best-in-class performers