What is benchmarking?
Benchmarking is a continuous improvement process, and it is one that is very easy and affordable to use. You compare your organization with others like it, and learn practices that help you improve results and reduce costs. Benchmarking identifies best practices — in other words, practices that yield the best results for the least cost.
How can benchmarking benefit my organization?
The most tangible benefit of benchmarking is cost savings, which can be significant. For example, our Research Facilities group saved more than $158 million over a 5-year period — an average of about $1.25 per square foot annually.
Most organizations participate in benchmarking for two primary reasons:
- To quantify how they stand.
Benchmark data is most commonly viewed as a “scorecard” for some part of an organization, popularized by things like JD Power ratings. Having comparison metrics is useful, whether you are trying to make a case for your position or just learning how you compare.
- To get better.
The real value of benchmarking is about the learning opportunities. A good program includes some networking with the other participants so you can discuss what is behind the numbers, learn the factors that contribute to better or worse performance, identify practices that you might be able to apply in your organization, and learn lessons from others on the best ways to implement those practices.
Benchmarking offers other benefits, too. It is a way to…
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses
- Measure your effectiveness and improvement over time
- Reduce costs and add value
- Justify costs/investments
- Continue to improve your operations
- Document successful practices you have implemented
- Challenge “business-as-usual” mindset
- Learn from others so you can apply their techniques in your organization
- Provide information for strategic planning
- Establish achievable goals for further improvements
What do I need to start benchmarking?
The only thing you really need to start benchmarking is a desire to evaluate your current operation and learn alternatives from others. We believe there are six steps in the process and you can (should) get value from each step, but some of our members only participate in the core benchmarking (metrics) or the meetings (networking & practices).
Our program is designed to be very easy and affordable, and we can even compile all your data for you.
Our tips for successful benchmarking:
- Be honest to yourself and others about your data.
- Understand that you will be best in some, but not all, areas.
- Be willing to learn continually.
- Be open to learning from the mistakes and successes of others.
- Make measuring and improving performance a priority.
Organizations that implement regular facilities benchmarking programs experience noticeable improvement/savings in their operations, and it is used by most successful organizations today.