What is Benchmarking?

"Benchmarking is the process of measuring an organization's internal processes then identifying, understanding, and adapting outstanding practices from other organizations considered to be best-in-class.

Most business processes are common throughout industries. For example; NASA has the same basic Human Resources requirements for hiring and developing employees as does American Express. British Telecom has the same Customer Satisfaction Survey process as Brooklyn Union Gas. These processes, albeit from different industries, are all common and can be benchmarked very effectively. It's called "getting out of the box".

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when first benchmarking is that they limit their benchmarking activity to their own industry. Benchmarking within your industry is essential. However, you already have a pretty good idea how your industry performs so it's imperative that you reach outside and above your own industry into other industries that perform a similar process but may have to perform this process extremely well in order to succeed. Here are a couple examples of how one industry can leapfrog their competitor by learning and adapting a similar process from a totally different industry:

Customer surveys indicate long wait times for hotel rooms, especially for repeat Customers. Benchmarked admittance process with hospital emergency room departments resulting in dramatically reduced check-in times. Also netted less employees needed, automation for frequent hotel guests, and many more process improvements.
Routine maintenance on aircraft between flights such as refueling, cleaning, tire checks taking too long. Plane on the ground means more planes and personnel are required to maintain high level of service and schedules. Need to reduce ground time required in between flights without sacrificing quality or safety of passengers. Initial benchmarking research indicated we are already #1. Brainstormed and discovered Indy 500 racing team pit crews have a similar maintenance process and a similar requirement to get their vehicle back on the track as quickly and safely as possible. After benchmarking pit crews maintenance turn-around-times for aircraft between flights were reduced by more than half saving/making the airline millions of dollars within the first few years.

By Benchmarking you will discover:

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