I was delighted to participate in the 4th European Conference on Industrial Engineering & Operations Management (IEOM) last month. The theme of this cycle was “Road to Resilient Manufacturing and Logistics”. Over the 4 days of the conference, there were more than 90 presentations, 11 competitions, and 6 discussion panels. It was truly an outstanding event!
My presentation titled “Benchmarking in Supply Chain and Logistics” was on the Global Supply Chain and Logistics session. The presentation focused on helping organisations to conduct a Best Practice Benchmarking project utilising BPIR.com. Below I will share the key points of the presentation with some elaboration on the stages of TRADE Benchmarking methodology.
There is a number of Benchmarking methodologies, we use the TRADE Benchmarking methodology. The methodology and its associated certification system provides a proven approach to pursue and implement best practices leading to long-term cultural change and leading-edge processes, practices and performance. TRADE is focused on the exchange (or “trade”) of information and best practices to dramatically improve the performance of processes, goods and services. The name of TRADE reminds users to develop strong two-way relationships with other organisations (the benchmarking partners) in order to share or trade information and best practices for mutual benefit. The methodology consists of five stages.
Stage 1 Define your objective: What do you want to achieve by the end of the project?
Example: Fully implement a green supply chain initiative by Mar-2023.
Setting a clear aim will help you to focus on the issue. The aim can be changed and optimised while progressing on the project. A good aim should be challenging and realistic, not impossible to achieve nor way too easy.
Stage 2 Review the current status: You can’t fix a problem properly without knowing what the root causes are. There are so many tools out there to help you understand the root causes. Personally, I suggest starting with a generic tool such as root-cause analysis, SWOT analysis, Gap analysis, process map or self-assessment.
In my presentation I started by searching for a self-assessment related to supply chain or logistics, I found 3 self-assessments in the BPIR.com (Figure 2). The self-assessment is a good starting point for understanding the current status of the process and what needs to be fixed. In a real benchmarking project, it’s highly recommend using multiple analysis to study the process, this will give you a clear picture of what is needed to achieve the aim.
The next step is finding best practices to bridge the gap between the current and future state of the process.
Stage 3 Acquire best practices: After investigating the root causes of the problem (or the gap to reach the desired state) we know the type of best practices we need. The purpose of this stage is to find best practices and study them for implementation. Best practices can be acquired from different sources, for example, by visiting award winning organisations or by conducting desktop research through the BPIR.com. The BPIR.com contains 1000’s of hand-picked articles and cases studies.
Searching for “Green supply chain” in the BPIR.com returned 5 Best Practice Case Studies (figure 3), one Best Practice Report (figure 4), and one Tool and Technique (figure 5). Another way to acquire best practice with the BPIR.com is by utilising the networking area, members can search for members based on the required field of experience (figure 6)
From our experience of facilitating benchmarking projects, most projects collect 30+ improvement ideas and best practice, in many cases they reach 100+. It might be not practical to implement all the collected best practices, therefore they need to be prioritised based on factors such as impact, cost, and time. At the end of this stage, we will have a list of best practices recommended for implementation.
Stage 4 Deploy best practices: At this stage, we need to have an implementation plan and start implementing the best practices, some of the best practices will need to be implemented by other teams, for example a change in the IT system will have to go to the IT department, a change in the incentives scheme will need to be implemented by the HR Department. In such cases, the benchmarking team needs to involve the concerned department and have a clear implementation plan approved by the management.
Stage 5 Evaluate best practices: After implementing the best practices, we need to conduct a cost/benefit analysis to assess whether the project has achieved its aim or not. Changes in performance should be closely monitored on a daily or weekly basis and then moving to a monthly basis once progress is considered satisfactory. This will give the team an opportunity to see if something does not perform as expected and fix it as soon as possible. Other benefits of the evaluate stage is to establish further opportunities for improvement and determine when the project can be officially closed.
This was a very brief description on how to conduct a benchmarking project using BPIR.com, COER’s research shows that around 30% of failed best practice projects is due to lack of formal benchmarking training.
We offer Virtual Training to small classes (five to twelve people) so that we can provide individual assistance and include practical workshop exercises. The training is designed to assist you with a real workplace challenge or opportunity for improvement that is relevant to your business. At the end of the training, you will have scoped out a benchmarking project, utilised several benchmarking tools, and know what needs to be done to complete the project.
More winners and finalists of the Global Benchmarking Award and International Best Practice Competition have used the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology than any other improvement approach.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the dates of the next training course and/or get five or more people together and we can arrange a special training course just for you!
|BPIR Category :||
14.2.1 Develop benchmarking capabilities
14.2.2 Benchmark performance measures with noncompetitors
14.2.3 Benchmark performance measures against competitors
14.2.4 Conduct best practice/ process benchmarking
5.2.4 Purchase materials & supplies
6.2.4 Purchase materials & supplies
8.2.4 Leadership relationships with suppliers and partners
13.1 Develop and manage supplier/customer partnerships
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