Friday, August 28, 2015

How is your benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry best practices by relating to those of other companies which are excellent and on top of their game in an effort to become like them. Typical areas covered through benchmarking are quality, time and cost. Top firms are identified in a particular industry and a comparison is made in several areas identified. In this way, they learn how well the benchmark company performs relative to them and more importantly, the business processes that explain why these firms are successful. This then allows the organization to develop plans on how to make improvements or adapt specific best practices, usually with the aim of improving some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but is often treated as a continuous process in which organizations continually seek to improve their practices by aligning with industry top performers. Benchmarking is not only used by companies but by any person as well, in which case it may not be named as benchmarking, but aspiring to a role model or to a milestone. Everyone aspires to be like their celebrity, superstar, hero or maybe mentor. These are the people you may look up to and view them as having proven ways and norms that produce top results showing that they are doing things in a way you also would subscribe to. I have seen preachers who have adopted a style of preaching inspired by their hero preacher, or people who dress like their celebrities, even following their diet and speaking like the people they look up to. There is nothing wrong with having someone to look up to and having heroes and role models around. It is however important to remain your own person, unique with a personal identity of your own. Finger prints are not the same and so behavior cannot be the same in every way. Now back to benchmarking, when a company does proper benchmarking, they make sure that fundamentals are similar so as to compare apples with apples to ensure that they can aspire to something realistic and achievable. There are many role models out there with whom to benchmark yourself with. It is important to choose the right benchmark that will assist you achieve your goals. Some call it role models, frames of reference or influence leaders. Whatever you may call them, it is good to have someone who has been there and can help you improve your life in the ways you desire. It may not even be one person, but many people depending on which area of life. Every time you face a situation, you just use them as a point of departure to solving the problem or to responding to a crisis in your life. Always ask yourself, "what would this person do?". Here is a parting note on benchmarking. Avoid situations like waking up and looking in the mirror only to be disappointed that you do not look as good as your favourite celebrity on his or her best stage. It is important to be realistic and also compare like with like.