Benchmarking - checklist


Benchmarking - checklist

Benchmarking provides a useful way to measure how effective your processes are, compared to competitors. Here's how to start benchmarking in your business.

  • Select one or two important activities to benchmark - typically, a few key processes and related key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Establish who will carry out the benchmarking project and whether they need help.
  • Decide what will be the most useful comparators - industry statistics, similar businesses, outstanding performers or a best-practice model.
  • Contact your trade association or consultancies to identify any relevant benchmarking packages, models or industry studies.
  • If appropriate, identify and approach three to six partner businesses; decide what information you will exchange and how it may be used.
  • Draw up an agreement with any partners, taking into account the need for confidentiality and any legal or ethical constraints.
  • Collect internal information on the processes and KPIs you will be benchmarking.
  • Get comparative statistical information from published sources, industry studies or partners using a questionnaire.
  • Use site visits to investigate partner organisations, their processes and strategies and the business environment they operate in.
  • Analyse key differences - in performance, in how you carry out processes, or in policies, objectives and other strategic issues.
  • Investigate why you differ, and to what extent differences reflect comparative weaknesses or different objectives and constraints.
  • Identify potential improvements and develop an action plan; consider how you will manage any changes required.
  • Review how successful the benchmarking study was and the impact of any changes you made; plan future benchmarking activities.