I. Questions

  • Top level commitment is required. Who in the organisation will take this responsibility?
  • What are the activities in your organisation which will respond most quickly to the benchmarking approach? Successful benchmarking is carried out in diverse areas such as training, staff levels, stock, delivery, financial structure and customer care.
  • Where will "best practice" most likely be found? [eg direct competition in your international markets or leading suppliers of other goods and services to your customers]

II. Sector compared

Operational benchmarking is an integral part to any performance measurement and management system. Drawing on our experience in the public and private sectors we approach this field in terms of focusing clearly on inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes to ensure that clients are aware of and are able to measure their performance across a range of relevant indicators.

In each case this set of indicators will be different but might typically include :

  • Inputs Quantity, quality and productivity of labour inputs, ascertained through head-counts, skills audits and measurement of GVA per capita at company, sector and economy levels. Levels of replacement and new investment and measurement of capital intensity over time. Extent of clear Asset Management Planning. R & D expenditure and the rate of innovation / absorption of new ideas
    Customer satisfaction. Market share. Profitability and return to shareholder capital. Factor turnover. Company impact on market. Anticipation and meeting of changing demand patterns.
  • Outputs We assist clients in the way they address Best Value and other performance management issues. This may include strategy, implementation and organisational issues. In so doing we look at the promotion of good practice within the clients or between clients and other organisations. We are also asked to review the effectiveness of partnerships and advise on consultation.

III. Step by Step Method

The procedure is common to all of the studies.

  • Meet and prioritise.
  • Set up draft questionnaire. Keep it simple and set definitions that others will recognise.
  • Decide on the questionnaire delivery method, the frequency (one off, monthly, quarterly ...) and timing, and almost certainly a chasing procedure will be needed.

IV. Example, Customer Care

Metra Benchmarking studies have covered Steel, Machinery, Telecoms, Software, Services, Export Competitiveness etc.