Benchmarking, as it is known today, was developed in the USA in the Seventies. In recent years, organizations such as government agencies, hospitals and universities have also discovered the value of benchmarking and are applying it to improve their processes and systems. In addition, industry associations now increasingly use the tool to improve sector-specific processes. Most recently, public authorities have begun to explore the use of benchmarking as a tool for improving policy implementation processes, by focusing on the framework conditions which underlie the business environment and the economy more generally. Benchmarking has proven to be most valuable process for identifying performance improvement areas. Measurement of best performing companies leads to identification and implementation of “Best Practices”. Benchmarking is now recognized as an essential technique for achieving continuous improvement in specific areas. Benchmarking allows us to analyze and improve key business processes, eliminate waste, improve performance, profitability and market share. Benchmarkings’ strength allows us to make decisions based on facts, not intuition or ‘gut feeling’. Measurement is the key, knowing where we are today and where we need to be tomorrow; we can find out what makes some companies successful. Benchmarking is all about looking at individual processes and functions, seeing what the ‘best of the best’ are doing, in whatever industry.” In the race for continual improvement, more organizations are using benchmarking to provide an objective measurement and standard for performance. Graphic The application of benchmarking by a company involves a number of stages, as illustrated in Figure 1 A company first applies diagnostic benchmarking to explore the relative performance of different functions in the business. It is often based on a questionnaire, which asks a manager to rate the company against a set of business criteria. T…
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