Benchmarking

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Essay Assignment – Benchmarking
Name: Shang, ZhenXiang Student ID: 158574

This essay will discuss the topic of benchmarking. Firstly, it will introduce the concept of benchmarking and describe the contemporary apply in organization running. Then, this essay will explain how benchmarking helps managers to improve organizational planning and performance. It will use the example of the benchmarking club for food and drinks industry (FDBC). Moreover, the factors what can weaken the value of benchmarking will be analyzed through some appreciate examples. This paper uses the definition of benchmarking elucidated by Robbins (2009, p. 312) who conceptualizing benchmarking as ‘the search for the best practices among competitors or non-competitors that led to their superior performance’.

Benchmarking is widely applied in current by various fields, including business, education, engineering and all that. It is a technique and a tool used to improve and optimize the performance or quality through trying to be the best (Fong 1998). In managerial field, benchmarking achieves three targets. One of these is finding gaps between your company and competitors or other companies in the same industry, it creates a pressure that managers have to change or optimize their management. The second one is assisting managers to understand how industry pattern do things. In 1970s, Xerox formed a benchmarking team to figure out the reason why Japanese firms operated so efficiently, then, learned from their rivals to improve Xerox’s operation (Sillyman 1992). From this example, benchmarking helped Xerox’s senior managers to identify what they had to change. The rest one is showing what other companies have done; it motivates employees with predictable goals and strategies, which drive their impetus. Moreover, through competition and information sharing, the whole industry standards will also be increased, which resulting a sustainable development of industry environment Therefore, the application of benchmarking is -1-

not only benefits a single organization, but pushes the whole industry forward.

Until recently, benchmarking has been looked as an essential process which supplies assistant to many corporations, even to be extended to the field of higher education. According to the study of the American Quality Foundation (AQF) published in the United States in 2002 that around 32 percent of businesses regularly benchmarked their products or services, and just only 7 percent stated never using benchmarking (AQF, cited in Bergin 2009). The similar research was reported in 2008 in the United Kingdom, it said that the UK companies involved in benchmarking program at 78 percent and 85 percent in 2005 and 2008 respectively (Adebanjo & Mann 2008). For another, over the past two decades, benchmarking helped many large corporations like Xerox, Hilton hotel and Boeing airplane to become more competitive and inserted into their corporate culture. Following this situation, the small businesses have planned to participate in benchmarking program since 1990s. A survey of institute of Management Accountants (1996) indicated that over 59 percent of their respondents have practiced benchmarking program (Institute of Management Accountants, cited in Dodd & James 2000). The small business can benefit from the large ones’ experience and avoided unnecessary cost or unexpected investment. In brief, benchmarking has become a popular tool among the most of company executives, whether small or big business.

Flaherty, Murray and Zimmerman (1995) argued that using the best possible industry practices to stand targets is a critical process in the success of a business. Therefore, how benchmarking assists organizations is worth discussing. Generally, an organization practices benchmarking to excellent by comparing with their rivals, learning from the advanced performance from the pattern and applying useful information to plan targets or drive staffs. The...
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