Benchmarking it is a tool which allows your company to identify the opportunities that lie within your business based on real data. It gives a strong visual representation of what is working and helps to promote discussions regarding new ideas as well as to create enthusiasm to ‘do better next time’ by enabling realistic and achievable targets. In addition, as your competitors learn new efficient practices creating leaner businesses, benchmarking can promote a mindset within your business of continuous improvement vital for your company to continue to prosper with these ever changing goals posts. However, these are just words so let me back them up with some case studies.
Identify the opportunities that lie within your business based on real data.
Look up benchmarking and you come across the Xerox story. A big successful corporation who in the 1980s found itself increasingly vulnerable to competition. By benchmarking against its competitors, Xerox found many missed opportunities some of which included; it was taking double the time to get a product to market, five times the number of engineers, four times the number of design changes, and three times the design costs. Acting on these opportunities, highlighted by the benchmarking, resulted in overall customer satisfaction to be rated at more than 90% and country units improved sales from 152% to 328%.
Provides strong visual representation of what is working and helps to promote discussions regarding new ideas
A Watermark benchmarking tool was used to investigate water consumption at The University of Derby. By collating the data and comparing to a national benchmark even those who were initially hesitant over the project, being worried that it was just a big data gathering process, were on board and seeing immediate reductions in water use. By acting on the opportunities highlighted from this process, water consumption was reduced at the university by over 50% in just 5 months. Following this initial success, the scope of the project was increased with predicted potential savings of over £45,000 in annual water charges.
Create enthusiasm to ‘do better next time’ by enabling realistic and achievable targets.
Due to pressure on creating efficiency within supply chains, Klimasan, one of the biggest commercial refrigeration companies in Europe was asked to carry out a carbon footprint of their company. In addition, a benchmarking study was also carried out to enable a realistic and achievable carbon reduction target to be established. Not only was the target met, it was exceeded and Klimasan were named as best practice leader by Coca-cola and Heinken. They have not stopped there, as leading on from this success they are looking at ways to set a more ambitious plan for the future.