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Stages involved in the process of Benchmarking

Process of Benchmarking: The process of benchmarking requires a Company to identify the areas i.e. processes, activity etc. which are central to its business and then selects the top-performing companies in those areas.
The benchmarking process is comprised of following stages. These stages are:
1. Planning:
(i) Determination of benchmarking goal statement: This requires identification of areas to be benchmarked. In practice, one should start with the identification of those areas which have to be really good to be really
successful.
(ii) Identification of best performance: Once the benchmarked goal statement are defined, the step is seeking the best of the breed of best of the best.
(iii) Establishment of the benchmarking or process improvement team: Ideally this should include the persons who are most knowledgeable about the internal operations and will be directly affected by changes due to
benchmarking.
(iv) Defining the relevant benchmarking measurement: Relevant measures will not include the measures used by the organisation today but they will be refined measures that comprehend the true performance differences.
2. Collection of data and information:
The data gathering for benchmarking could be done through national/international clearing houses, mail surveys, suppliers, company visits, telephone, interviews etc.In recent years national and international clearing houses have been set up.
3. Analysing the findings: The analysing of finding of step (2) requires following:
(i) Review the findings and produce tables, charts and graphs to support the analysts.
(ii) Identify gaps in performance between our organisation and better performers.
(iii) Seek explanations for the gaps in performance. The performance gaps can be positive, negative or zero.
(iv) Ensure that comparisons are meaningful and credible.
(v) Communicate the findings to those who are affected.
(vi) Identify realistic opportunities for improvements.
4. Recommendations: This involves:
Making recommendation: This requires: (i) Deciding the feasibility of making the improvements in the light of the conditions that apply within own organisation.
(ii) Agreement of the improvements that are likely to be feasible.
(iii) Producing a report on the Benchmarking in which the recommendations are included.
(iv) Obtaining the support of key stakeholder groups for making the changes needed.
(v) Developing action plan(s) for implementation.
5. Monitoring and reviewing: This involves:
(i) Evaluating the benchmarking process undertaken and the results of the improvements against objectives and success criteria plus overall efficiency and effectiveness.
(ii) Documenting the lessons learnt and make them available to others.
(iii) Periodically re-considering the benchmarks
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