Benchmarking

Effectively, systematically and continuously used, benchmarking can be a valuable tool in improving the performance of an organisation.

Comparing their own processes and performance with those of the best performer in that area (benchmark) or of the competition, to learn from this comparison and to improve their own performance. That's benchmarking.
Benchmarking starts with to measuring data, collecting it and comparing it. The comparison provides insight into how an organisation performs versus a peer group or benchmark. After comparing comes analysis and learning, then improvement follows. Learning occurs when an organisation detects a lag in performance and finds out its cause. The gap between the perceived internal practices of an organisation and the perceived external practice, creates the need for guided change. The result of a benchmark is on the one hand insight, on the other hand, performance improvement.

Successful benchmarks are characterized by a desire to improve (continuously) and to become a learning organisation. Processes are regularly screened, looking for possible improvements and solutions are implemented effectively. Successful benchmarks are characterized therefore by action.

Benchmarking requires a willingness to change in participating organisations. Benchmarking also requires involvement of management to get efficient results in terms of data collection, proper comparison and timely implementation of agreed actions to improve performance. Also plenty of organisations staff is needed to make sure the benchmark is widely supported, to get a proper analysis and for implementing improvements.

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