Elsevier Ltd. – 2009, 496 pages ISBN 9780750689052When I started out in benchmarking in 1993 I knew very little about the subject. A good place to learn, I thought, was to read some books. The first book I read was Business Process Benchmarking by Robert Camp, the recognized father of benchmarking. Useful though his book is for an organization wanting to benchmark by visiting other organizations (called One-to-One benchmarking in this book), there was little mention of groups of organizations wanting to work together to benchmark and improve. What I needed was help on facilitating benchmarking meetings, developing metrics for benchmarking studies, expediting, validating and analysing benchmarking data… if fact I needed practical help and advice on all aspects of running successful benchmarking studies. That was in 1993, and I believe there still is a dearth of benchmarking books giving this type of practical guidance. Together with various colleagues I have learned many different ways to benchmark – simply by responding to clients’needs and being open to new methods. I learned, for example, how to run benchmarking clubs; how to benchmark using a database of performance levels; how to organize benchmarking visits and how to facilitate learning between organizations. My aim in writing this book is to provide a practical how-to’’ guide for benchmarking and the sharing of Best Practices. It is based on experience and practice, illustrated with many case studies (based on actual situations we encountered) and examples (hypothetical situations developed to illustrate a point). One of the many things I have learned is that there is no single right’’ way to benchmark. Each study needs to be tailored to meet the needs of the organizations involved in it. However, there are common phases and tasks that need to be considered by all benchmarking studies. We need, for example, to determine our objectives, decide with whom we want to benchmark and select which performance metrics, if any, we want to compare. For some benchmarking studies some of these steps will be very easy or may even be omitted, whilst the same tasks may require considerable time, effort and research in other studies. What is important is that each task is addressed appropriately. The aim of this book is to explain and provide practical guidance on each of these tasks, highlighting pitfalls for the unwary and giving tips to help make every study a success.
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