Introduction to benchmarking
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Introduction to Benchmarking. Improving Performance Based on External Assessment LuAnn Stokke F2 Administration/ Strategy Management July 27, 2010. Today’s Agenda. What is benchmarking? Why do people do it? Why should we do it? How is it done?

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Introduction to benchmarking

Introduction to Benchmarking

Improving Performance Based

on External Assessment

LuAnn Stokke

F2 Administration/

Strategy Management

July 27, 2010

Today s agenda

Today’s Agenda

  • What is benchmarking?

  • Why do people do it?

  • Why should we do it?

  • How is it done?

  • What do you do with the data or information you get?

  • What’s “benchmarking protocol”?

  • Is there any ongoing commitment to partners?



Benchmarking defined

Benchmarking Defined

“Benchmarking is the process of comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and/or best practices from other industries. Dimensions typically measured are quality, time, and cost. Improvements from learning mean doing things better, faster, and cheaper.”

All benchmarking is not created equal

All Benchmarking is not Created Equal…

  • Forms:

    • “results”—comparative performance within and between organizations (efficiency/effectiveness)

    • “process”—analysis of activities and tasks that turn resources inputs into outputs and outcomes

    • “best-practice standards”—take the form of goals and benchmarks to which orgs aspire, as part of planning and continuous improvement

All benchmarking is not created equal1

All Benchmarking is not Created Equal…

  • Methods:

    • Internal—compares across branches or units (e.g., one GCA customer team benchmarks budget set-up time to another team)

    • External—compares one aspect across similar or different businesses, products or services (e.g., F2’s personnel; IT systems)

    • Generic—external across organizations with very different products or services (e.g., client mgmt across diverse private-sector companies)

When should you consider benchmarking

When Should you Consider Benchmarking?

  • You need to know more about how your cost and quality levels compare to best practice

  • Budget resources are under pressure and necessary investments for growth in demand have to be financed

  • Program revenue or client demand is under pressure

  • Client service standards are being created, or require improvement

Group exercise where are your obvious opportunities

Group Exercise: Where are your obvious opportunities?

You either want to maintain your product/service/customer leadership position, or you want to meet or beat the front-runner.

Where does benchmarking fit in f2 s strategy

Where Does Benchmarking “Fit” in F2’s Strategy?






Strategic Plans

Leaders Staff

Trustworthy Trustworthy

Trusting of Others Trusting of Others

Approachable, Inspiring Collaborative, Committed

Quality Improvement System

Trained Staff RecognitionData Analysis

Customer FocusEmpowered StaffProblem Solving

Teamwork Quality Processes Measurement Systems

Where does benchmarking fit in or s strategy

Where Does Benchmarking “Fit” in OR’s Strategy?

Add Value to the Overall Research Experience

Provide exceptional research administrative services while effectively managing risks and opportunities

Develop strategies and a plan for open and clear communication

Improve access to key information

Improve researcher productivity and satisfaction by reducing administrative burden

Decrease barriers to collaboration

Achieve Operational Excellence

Streamline business processes

Develop effective relationships with process partners and the campus research community

Identify and adapt best practices

Promote a culture of continuous process improvement

Embrace a culture of transparency and accountability

Strategically analyze risks and benefits

Where does benchmarking fit in or s strategy or

Where Does Benchmarking “Fit” in OR’s Strategy? (OR)

Attract & Retain Top, Diverse Staff

Cultivate an environment that stimulates, challenges and grows staff knowledge, skills and competencies through continuous learning

Encourage staff engagement and participation at all levels of process improvement and achievement of OR goals

Develop OR leaders and career paths for promoting upward mobility within the organization.

Add Value to the UW

Work within the campus community and at a national and international level to impact UW-wide strategic initiatives, strategic research directions and policies

Improve recruitment and retention of top faculty

Improve integration of research and education

Improve translation of research into the public benefit

Promote and enhance cross-cutting research initiatives

Increase and diversify external research funding

Audit analyze id improve assess


Hey that looks sort of familiar

“Hey…That Looks Sort of Familiar!”

Benchmarking at a process or project level

Benchmarking at a Process or Project Level

Copying industrial tourism

Copying? “Industrial Tourism”?

“old-school” benchmarking, UK style

What is it like now

What is it Like Now?


Remote Research/Analysis

“Contact Us”

Process Mapping; partnering


What is our performance level how do we do it

What is our Performance Level? How do we do it?

  • Operational performance—what “matters” (to strategy, customers, bottom-line, stakeholders)

  • Dashboards and scorecards

  • LEAN current-process maps

  • Process maps from PI projects

  • F2’s productivity data (widgets and FTE)

  • Customer Feedback

What are others performance levels secondary data

What are Others’ Performance Levels? (secondary data)

  • Reports (e.g., Hackett, UBER)

  • Consortia and Existing Organizations (e.g., NACUBO, AAU, IPEDS, APPA)

  • Media (e.g., Princeton Review, U. S. News & World Report)

  • UW P&B—Institutional Research & Data Mgmt.

  • Peer contacts

  • Marketing materials/annual reports

  • Customized web searching

    …All to determine, “what is our performance gap?”

How did they get there primary data

How Did They Get There? (primary data)

  • Determine if their performance is “best in class”

  • Investigate similarities and differences

  • Identify constraints

  • What was their quality journey? (where did they start?)

  • What resources did they apply to achieve their performance level?

  • Who do they benchmark?

Ask them!

E-mail, conference call, videoconference, or live visit (if they’re local)

Table exercise


Your unit is responsible for processing spending reports for gifted funds and submitting them to donors, correctly and within 10 days of the end of the quarter. Your current on-time performance is 78%, and your error-rate averages 91% correct (9% of your reports must be recalculated and redistributed).

You learn from one of your major (and disgruntled) donors that Seattle Pacific University completes similar donor reports, and according to her, they are “always on time” and “always correct.”

Who would you seek out at SPU to talk to?

How would you contact them, and what would you say?

What form would your interview take? (e.g., phone, email, live)

What would your questions be? (4-5 interview questions)

Benchmarking protocol business etiquette

Benchmarking Protocol (business etiquette)

  • Allow plenty of time for partners to set up visits/call arrangements

  • Do your homework—know something about them (can’t emphasize this enough!)

  • Zone in on key questions—don’t extend the scheduled time

  • Listen; seek first to understand

  • Avoid head-to-head comparisons while in the meeting (unless they ask)

  • You’re there to inquire; not advocate

  • Maintain confidences; they may share sensitive information

  • Bring a “leave-behind” (and business cards)

  • Take copious notes; share them after the meeting, asking for correction or clarification

  • Wear comfortable shoes*

  • Send prompt thank-you’s

  • Figure out reciprocation beforehand

Creative adaptation

“Creative Adaptation”

  • Compare primary data (immediate) and secondary (collected) data

  • Validate what’s applicable to your performance objective (may need to “chunk out”)

  • Assess internally: is “not-invented-here” syndrome an issue?

  • Identify what enablers are necessary

  • Communication “hardware and software”—email, memos, meetings vs. cultural norms

  • Select high-leverage improvements and/or adjusted targets

Today s hybrid method spendy but effective

Today’s Hybrid Method(spendy, but effective)

Companies and public-sector organizations are relying on consultants/vendors to:

  • Identify peer groups

  • Oversee peer-group “visits” or data-collection efforts (using web-enabled, customer-fed systems)

  • Analyze performance data

  • Identify and promulgate best practices

  • Report out to senior management

  • Provide recommendations for improvement

  • Host consortia of peers and industry leaders

  • (Examples: Bain, Hackett, UBER)

  • Or…paying membership fees to professional organizations for detailed benchmark data.

Breakthrough performance and beyond

“Breakthrough Performance” and Beyond

  • Determine ROI/feasibility of alternatives—select short- and long-term

  • Coordinate and secure approvals

  • Sufficient Cooperation? Plan communication & change-management, as needed (denial—resistance—exploration—acceptance)

  • Involve the work group to maximum extent

  • Implement training, as needed

  • Remeasure/rebaseline (as needed)

  • Communicate linkage to business/strategic plan (“case for change”)

Conclusion impacting value to the customer

Conclusion: Impacting Value to the Customer










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