The article defines benchmarking as the process of identifying the highest standards of excellence for products, services, or processes, and then making the improvements necessary to reach those standards commonly called the "best practices." In 1995, more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies used this concept on a regular basis. A survey was used to assess the effectiveness of benchmarking techniques among several types of industries across a variety of settings. A questionnaire was mailed to 1,000 organizations throughout the United States. A total of 292 questionnaires were returned, with 252 being usable for this study. 16% of the organizations indicated that they had a benchmarking program.
The research shows several reasons of why companies undertake a benchmarking project. The top reasons identified were:
1. To reduce costs.
2. To improve productivity.
3. To improve quality.
4. To improve profitability.
5. To improve customer service.
6. To improve a certain operation process.
7. To protect market share.
8. To get a jump on competitors.
9. To open up an opportunity for growth.
10. To enhance job satisfaction.
The article provides support that the benchmarking technique improves participants' productivity, quality, satisfaction and performance. Adequate planning, training, open interdepartmental communication, support and commitment by Senior Management and detailed implementation plans to perform benchmarking projects were identified as significant factors that contributed to the success or failure of the benchmarking project.
After reading the article, I think the author truly believes in the benefits of the benchmarking technique. However, the facts and figures from this study does support his findings in the article summary. Elmuti also presents the findings of why benchmarking projects fail to achieve the desired results.
I agree with the conclusion that Elmuti reaches in his article. Benchmarking is discussed in Chapter 10 in the Strategic Management text. According...