1. Beware of Benchmarking: Bad Data is Worse Than No Data

    October 21, 2010 by

    By John Goodman, Vice Chairman and Cindy Grimm Vice President, TARP Worldwide

    Benchmarking has been popular for at least twenty years. However, if the wrong items are benchmarked or the result is inaccurate, bad data is actually worse then no data because it leads the organization to pursue the wrong goals, move in the wrong direction or at minimum, wastes resources.

    Examples of Bad Benchmarking

    There are some obvious examples of benchmarking errors but some are more subtle. While the following examples draw heavily from the customer contact environment, the lessons apply to all benchmarking.
    A company decided to focus on the best (lowest) metrics for average speed of answer (ASA) and talk time. It ended up devoting headcount to answering quickly but then rushing people off the phone. Further, the mechanistic responses resulted in incomplete answers, frustrated employees and higher turnover that caused even more demand to throw partially trained employees into the breech which resulted in even worse answers.
    Closer scrutiny of the data found that the companies that were benchmarked had less complex calls due to a different mix of products and a different approach to welcoming new customers.

    to read the full article click here

  2. The Finance Industry and the World of Benchmarking

    October 7, 2010 by
    Qatar has fast emerged as one of the world’s leading financial centres, and as a way of sharing their success the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) launched QFinance. QFinance.com provides articles, dictionary, quotations and blogs written by more than 300 finance and business experts from around the world. They contain helpful ideas, tips, techniques and insights on how to successfully build your business and make it grow. It is “the ultimate financial resource” on the web.

    One of the improvement tools used successfully in the finance industry is benchmarking , and Dr. Robin Mann, Head of the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research at Massey University, offers a valuable addition to QFinance in this area. In his article, “Everything You Need to Know About Benchmarking,” he explain the key points in benchmarking, and how it has the potential to improve overall business performance from management, to sales, to various organisational processes and business practices.

    You can read the full article at QFinance website here .

  3. What will be the future of benchmarking? – share your view.

    September 22, 2010 by
    The Global Benchmarking Network is embarking on a project to look at the future of Benchmarking up to the year 2030.
    This project will answer the following questions – What will Benchmarking look like in 2030 – and in between? What are the tools, methodologies and technologies that Benchmarkers can use now to help organisations and economies to improve their outcomes?

    Please accept this invitation to participate in the survey, the survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

    Once you complete the survey, you will immediately gain access to the Global Benchmarking Network “Benchmarking 2030 Interim Report” showing our initial research findings. Further findings will be presented at the 5th International Benchmarking Conference, 5-6 December 2010, Kuwait, kuwaitbenchmarking.com . The final report will be published in 2011.

    Click here to participate in the survey and get the free report.

  4. Global Benchmarking Network newsletter No. 13

    August 6, 2010 by
    Global Benchmarking Network

    The Global Benchmarking Network newsletter is out. Download from here

    The newsletter includes the latest news from the GBN about members, events, projects and other activities, topics highlighted in this issue:

    • Welcome the new members of our benchmarking community:
      • Ruler’s Court of Ajman (United Arab Emirates)
      • Abu Dhabi International Centre for Organizational Excellence (United Arab Emirates)
      • Intelligent Persian Consultants (IPC), Iran
      • TeamOne Consulting / KSA Benchmarking Network, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
      • Gulf Lead Consultants, Kuwait

    • Next GBN AGM and 5th International Benchmarking Conference:

    • Review:
      • GBN Roadshow (Mumbai)
      • 4th International Benchmarking Conference (Bahrain)
    • New structure and members of the GBN Board
    • News from the GBN Secretariat and outlines some ideas how the GBN can use social media platforms


    About GBN: The Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) is an alliance of leading benchmarking centres worldwide who share a common vision and mission. Current Membership comprises more than 20 benchmarking centres which represent more than 30,000 businesses and government agencies.

    The GBN was founded in November 1994 by representatives from benchmarking centres in Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The GBN is a non-profit organization. It has a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Secretary General. The GBN comprises benchmarking centres in the following countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai), UK and USA.

  5. Learning from the best: an interview with Dr. Robert Camp

    July 12, 2010 by


    Dr. Robert Camp


    If benchmarking today is an established business practice, much of the credit goes to the efforts of Dr Robert C Camp, lifetime president of the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN), principal of the Best Practice Institute, US, and the man known around the world as the guru of benchmarking. Dr Camp was in Mumbai in June for the 2nd GBN Benchmarking Roadshow organised by BestPrax Club (India) and Benchmarking Partnerships (Australia).

    Based in Ithaca, New York, Dr Camp works with government agencies, non-profit organisations, educational institutions and many large domestic and international manufacturing and service firms. He has written three books – Benchmarking: The Search for Industry Best Practices that Lead to Superior Performance, Business Process Benchmarking: Finding and Implementing Best Practices and Global Cases in Benchmarking: Best Practices from Organisations Around the World along with dozens of articles on the subject. His first and best-selling book on benchmarking has been translated into 14 languages.

    Vivek Dev (from domain-b.com) spoke to Dr Camp on various aspects of benchmarking during his recent visit to Mumbai.

    1- Tell us about your personal experience with benchmarking. How were you initiated into the process?
    I started with benchmarking when I was at Xerox Corporation. At the time, benchmarking was a fairly new improvement process and I was asked by my manager to implement it in the logistics function. 

    2- Why should companies benchmark? What does benchmarking achieve?
    Benchmarking is an experience where you can learn from others who have solved a problem you are trying to solve. As they have gone through the experience and implemented improvement processes, this learning can be used as the basis for improving one's organisation through internal, competitive, functional or generic benchmarking.
    Any organisation can improve provided it is willing to improve. One can almost be assured that the organisation will get value out of the benchmarking exercise.

    3- How should a benchmarking investigation be carried?
    There is a defined process for carrying out benchmarking. First, you decide what to benchmark, and then decide whom you benchmark against. Next, you gather the information, conduct the analysis, and define the process(es) for best practices search. The benchmarking process is best facilitated with help from a professional benchmarking expert who can act as a guide or mentor. Often, a knowledgeable librarian can offer valuable inputs for information search.

    4- Identifying a candidate list for benchmarking is comparable to laying the foundation of an organisation. What factors are considered while putting together a candidate list?
    Most of the time people in various functions have a pretty good idea of superior practices in other organisations, so that knowledge is already there in the organisation. People in particular functions, say, logistics, know from various sources, say, trade journals, peers, etc, on how things are done in other organisations. By putting together the knowledge thus available, a list can be prepared.

    5- What is the significance of benchmarking in the operations and growth of an organisation? How does it positively impact organisations?
    Benchmarking is a fairly fast way to improve and a very powerful way to justify funding. People have been known to achieve significant results with benchmarking in a short time.

    6- Is benchmarking relevant across industries (marketing, manufacturing, administrative support, finance and personnel functions)? Can lessons learnt from one be applicable to another? Please give an example.
    In certain processes, lessons can be learnt across industries. Typically, there are three types of functions in industry – management, support and operations. While management and support function processes have much in common across industries, the function process of operations is unique to industries. For example, support function processes such as in HR or IT can be benchmarked across industries.

    7- What role does benchmarking play in innovation? Can you elaborate?
    Benchmarking is a necessary ingredient in innovation. Firstly, it is necessary to benchmark the extent of the innovation focus through a search. Defining the standard or benchmark is in itself a creative process so innovation and benchmarking are concepts that are interlinked from the very start.
    Secondly, combining the creative and innovative talents of the innovation team members with the insights gained through benchmarking is a powerful and often revealing experience and may markedly improve the result. Further, the actual process of people going through the exercise opens their minds and brings about new ideas and thinking.
    Benchmarking is a critical tool for how you run your business. It is a strategic strength when practiced and a fatal weakness if not pursued.

    8- The term best practices is widely used in every stream of business (particularly, insurance, banking and mutual funds) and not-for-profit-enterprises. Does this have any connection with benchmarking?
    It is the essence of benchmarking. Benchmarking is a process of finding and implementing best practices. It is the desired output of the benchmarking process. It is only through an understanding of best practices that the way to improvement is revealed.
    The process of identifying, understanding and adapting superior practices from organisations locally and worldwide, within and outside the industry, helps an organisation improve its performance and achieve priority business results.

    9- What would you say is the value proposition of benchmarking?
    I would say 'quick learning to improve'. The important aspect here is 'quick learning'.

    10- When and why did you establish the GBN? Does it have a presence in India?
    The objective of the GBN, established in 1994, is to have benchmarking competency centres around the globe so that assistance with benchmarking is available locally, and so it can be adapted to local conditions. In India, the GBN is represented by the BestPrax Club, Mumbai, founded by Suresh Lulla.

    11- If Indian organisations have to leapfrog into the global arena, can the GBN help in finding benchmarking partners?
    The experience of the GBN member organisations would substantiate that finding. Every gathering of those interested in benchmarking, including the recent GBN Roadshow and Executive Briefing, should be used as an opportunity to establish potential partners.

    12- With your wealth of experience, how do you visualise India 2020?
    A sage person once said, ''I hesitate to make predictions especially when it involves the future!'' I would leave the details of 2020 to the economists and others more knowledgeable of the particulars in India. I would trust however that India would continue to pursue its competitiveness through ''best practice'' benchmarking.

    About Dr Robert Camp: Principal, Best Practices Institute, talks on the various aspects of benchmarking in an interview with Vivek Dev