10th July, 2010IntroductionIn response to these questions: What criteria are used to evaluate current practices and processes in a benchmarking exercise? What are the logical foundations of these criteria and do they make sense? A discussion will be given on what bench marking is, what a benchmarking exercise is, the current processes and practices in bench marking exercise, the criteria for evaluation and then determination of the logical foundations done and reasons why they make sense given. Bench MarkingIn order to understand the processes and practices in benchmarking, it is important to first determine what benchmarking is.
A benchmark is an established measurable parameter that is used to determine the progress of a business project towards its objectives or goals. It can also be referred to as a project target or a standard (Due TBA, 2010). Benchmarking is therefore a process of ensuring that a project meets its objectives. In almost all cases, managers of the organizations set higher targets to improve the performance of the organization, they set standards that ensure improvement of organizations performance in relation to the aims. Benchmarking therefore aims at helps an organization in achieving improvements (University of Leicester, 2009).
Andersen & Pettersen noted that “Benchmarking is a structured process of continuously measuring and comparing one’s business processes against comparable processes in leading organizations with an aim of achieving improvement in the business” (1996, p. 1). In the process, information that helps in identifying improvements is obtained and improvements implemented (Andersen & Pettersen, 1996). A bench marking exercise has three basic phases, which are; planning, analysis and implementation. Different authors however have different views on benchmarking exercise, some describe the exercise as having five phases for example planning, analysis, integration, action maturity, others combine the last three steps of the five phased exercise to the above mentioned there phases (ASQ, 2010).
Damelio for example considers the benchmarking exercise as consisting if analysis, discovery and implementation (1995), while Codling, (1995) indicated that it has four stages which are; planning, analysis, action and review. The basic process of benchmarking is identification of the process or area that needs improvement in the organization, determination of benchmarking partners and making the changes so that improvement is achieved (University of Leicester, 2009).
The main purpose of benchmarking is to achieve improvement. Because of this, so many organizations use it for ensuring successful change in the organization (Cheney, 1998). What Criteria Are Used To Evaluate Current Practices And Processes In A Benchmarking Exercise? A bench marking exercise includes the processes and the practices of benchmarking. Identification of the criteria of evaluation of the practices and the processes requires identification of what the processes and the practices are in the current world and their functions. This will help understand the reason for selecting a specific process or for adapting a specific process in the benchmarking exercise.
The purpose of any evaluation exercise if to select an object of target for example, in a classroom, students are evaluated to determine if they understand what they are taught in class (Zairi, 1996). Business processes may be evaluated to find out the best or one with a problem that causes the organization’s poor performance. In the case of benchmarking, evaluation of the processes and practices is conducted to achieve the best for the organization’s purpose (Seybert, 2006 & John & Eeckhout, 2006).
Already from this, it is clear that one criterion of evaluation is the purpose of the organization when undertaking the benchmarking exercise. This will be explained later.