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Summary

Benchmarking is a proven, powerful tool that can facilitate organisations to improve efficiency, increase value-add, and gain a competitive edge. The rationale underpinning benchmarking is sound, and the benchmarking concept of ‘learning from others’ should be embedded throughout all improvement-focused organisations. Benchmarking projects should be linked to key organisational objectives and support from senior management needs to be both strong and visible.

The use of a suitable benchmarking model and the choice of appropriate benchmarking partners are key facilitators of benchmarking success. There is little doubt about the potential and versatility of benchmarking as a tool. It has been successfully applied by organisations of different sizes and in different industry sectors and has become one of the most popular management tools. However, it is thought that most organisations use performance benchmarking (comparing of performance) rather than the more powerful but resource intensive approach of best practice benchmarking (comparing and learning from others and implementing best or better practices). Successes achieved by organisations are shown in improved performance in key indicators such as efficiency, sales, profits, productivity, cost reduction and quality of service.

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