The Benchmarking Process

We discussed why leading organizations participate in facility benchmarking programs, and now will describe how the benchmarking process works.

What is the facility benchmarking process?

We believe there are six steps in the benchmarking process and you can (should) get value from each step:

  1. Establish Objectives to clarify what you want to accomplish.
  2. Collect (assemble and normalize) your Data.
  3. Compare Data with a target / peer group.
  4. Identify apparent best Practices to consider.
  5. Select & Implement which changes / practices to try.
  6. Track your progress & Repeat the cycle.

The Benchmarking Process

 

1. Establish Objectives. This key first step is to clarify what you wish to accomplish. What topics are of interest and what metrics can be evaluated? Facility Issues has a steering committee for each group (participation open to all members of the group) that help determine which benchmarking measures continue to be used, which to change, and what items to add.

2. Collect & Normalize Your Data. Each participant assembles the data that they wish to benchmark (some basic items are required and other sections are optional). Typically, there is a need to “normalize” some of it to be consistent with the agreed data definitions. The data can be assembled in an Excel template or entered in a series of online screens, organized by topic.

3. Compare with a Target/Peer Group. Facility Issues analyzes the survey data submitted and publishes comparison reports with the results. We distribute these reports to members online and present summary results at best practice/association meetings. Each participant can see where they stand on all areas for which they submitted data.

4. Identify Apparent “Best Practices.” The real value in the benchmarking process is understanding how other organizations are doing similar jobs for less cost, or better performance, or both. Facility Issues’ metrics to identify the organizations / sites with the best apparent performance, and then discussion is required to confirm it is not the result of “under-performance.” The Best Practices meetings provide a forum for discussion about the practices used and lessons learned in implementing them.

5. Select Changes To Implement. Based on what you have learned about practices that have benefited others, you can select those that meet your objectives, provide significant improvement opportunity, and fit your organization culture for implementation at your own organization.

6. Track Progress. After implementing changes in your operations, it will be important to monitor costs and occupant satisfaction. This will tell you whether these changes are successful or require adjustment. The easiest way to measure progress is to re-benchmark; each cycle lets you build on the prior one and it may take a couple years to measure the benefits of some changes in practice.

 

Just completing the questionnaire provided suggestions on ways to improve our operation.” —Carnegie Museums

 

What Does It Take To Do a Benchmarking Program?

Some benchmarking programs only include the first three steps and end with a published report that may just show the composite results.  Typically, you fill out a form and then get a paper / PDF report. These are typically free or low-price options and can be useful if you just want to know the group averages.

Custom benchmarking services may include doing all the work for you such as collecting your data, performing a custom analysis of the results, drafting recommendations for you, and presenting to your leadership team.  These services, while expensive, can be useful to “jump-start” some improvement effort or help with major organization review / re-design.

Facility Issues provides benchmarking programs in the middle (with additional services available if your organization wants help with data or analysis).  Our system helps you collect and submit your data, we answer questions and provide guidance throughout, and the interactive online reporting lets you see where you stand and allows you to explore the results.  This combination of self-service with technical support makes a continuous benchmarking program affordable, letting you use it as part of your ongoing facility metrics and deciding when and where more intensive effort is warranted.

 

We believe the best benchmarking approach is integrated with your normal monthly data and metrics rather than a one-off activity. Start with key metrics and expand based on your resources and situation.

Your next steps:

Read more about how to use your benchmarking results…

Watch a conference presentation on the value of benchmarking  (presented at conference and available on SlideShare.