The first step in process benchmarking is to analyze and pinpoint the practices that are to be benchmarked. This can be done by finding out which practices have the largest impact on an organization, whether it is shareholders, customers, budget, departments and so on. It is not necessary to undergo process benchmarking with the entire organization. Ideally, the company should be able to choose specific areas within the organization, which needs to be improved or changed. This stage can also be considered as the identification stage.
After the first stage of identification is complete, begins the next stage called as Planning stage. It is much easier to come with a detailed outline that describes important aspects of the changes and how it will affect the processes. The next step is to find out the various processes that other organizations use. This is vital in order to make clear and valuable comparisons. Methods for finding out this information include research, conversations and other ways of collecting data. Use this information to note the key differences between your own and competitor organizations.
The third stage involves comparing one’s organization’s processes against the ones that have been researched. This will require detailed information on research that was gathered, comparisons in written and diagram form and other essential pieces of data. It will be easier to find out how performances compare when viewing the information this way.
The last stage out of the vital stages of process benchmarking is to make the necessary changes to the processes. There is no point in performing the previous stages if the changes are not going to be implemented, regardless of how drastic the change appears to be. It is necessary to come up with a plan of action in order to find out exactly how the changes will be implemented. In order to increase the likelihood of success, it is vital for the employees to have an understanding of the reasons for change and that, the management must make sure that the employees are provided with the resources that are required to make the improvement.
After these stages the only main concern is to continue monitoring progress. Like many changes, the greatest benefits come from routine monitoring to ensure that all is operating as it should be.
About the Author: Shruti Bhat PhD, MBA
Dr. Shruti Bhat is an award-winning Business Excellence Leader, Global Continuous Improvement Mastermind, Best-selling Author and Speaker. She is Continuous Improvement Advisor to several start-ups, mid-size and growing firms in Canada, USA, India, Africa and Emerging markets. She has authored eight business books and is an invited speaker at several national and international conferences, symposia and workshops.
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