Process Improvement: BenchmarkingPosted on September 24, 2017

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this? Why do we need to know how other people are doing it? We just need to worry about what we can control. These are some common refrains of isolationist thinking. While not too common, some leaders think it is best to focus all of their energy on what they can control and not to worry about what others are doing. What is the case for doing it anyway? When athletes compete, they compete against one another. It may be head to head or against a posted time or distance. Competing in business isn’t any different. We have to be able to measure ourselves against the best in our respective fields in order to move forward. Benchmarking is just that. It is a tool that allows us to use data to measure ourselves against the best in our fields. Data can be found in numerous locations. In some cases, data is publicly reported by each company. In other cases, we have to work harder to mine accurate data. How can you do it? 
  1. Identify a measure. Identify a key measure of success for your organization. This should be a measurement that will help identify successful performance for your organization.
  2. Find out who does it best. If you want to be the best, you have to measure yourself against the best. Search your industry literature and see who is a high performer in the indicator that you have chosen.
  3. Compare. Once you have your data and the data from other organization, it’s time to see how you stack up.
  4. Evaluate. No tool is effective if we fail to evaluate the data it produces.
Have you ever used benchmarking to evaluate a process? Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.
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