Tqm Contributor

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Total Quality Management (TQM) has a lot of practices which were developed as time goes by. One of these practices is the benchmarking. A lot of companies used this practice to survive in the market. Benchmarking is a practice wherein the company compares their own products and processes against the very best in the world. They find the best available product features, processes, and services and using them as a standard for improving a company’s own products, processes, and services.

One example of the company who is using this practice is the Xerox Company. This led them to the continuous improvement and development. It is the practice which helps the company to be in the market and still surviving despite of the competition and the other changes in its environment.

In the late 1970’s, Xerox turned to benchmarking when it found that foreign competition could sell its equivalent copier at a price equal to Xerox’s manufacturing cost. To find a benchmark, Xerox used its Japanese affiliate, Fuji Xerox, as a window into the competition. By observing the efficient processes of selected competitors, Xerox was able to streamline its own operations without compromising service or quality. For instance, Xerox found that it could cut the number of steps in storing and handling material from four to two, saving time and money.

Although Xerox managers looked to the competition in the early days of their benchmarking efforts, they have focused their more recent benchmarking efforts on firms outside the industry. The reason?

Managers believe they find their most innovative ideas studying seemingly unrelated firms. In addition, if attention is focused only on the competition, “playing catch-up is the best you can do,” according to Robert C. Camp, manager of benchmarking, competency, quality, and customer satisfaction.

For ideas on how to improve their processes for filling customer orders, Xerox turned to L.L. Bean in the early 1980’s. Like Xerox, the Freeport,...
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