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What is benchmarking (the art of knowing your “enemy”)

September 28, 2020

An American hospital reportedly made improvements to its emergency room after a thorough review of Domino’s Pizza 30-minute guarantee, and a cafeteria reportedly succeeded because of the iconic bar decor shown in the film. Junk literature ((Violent times). And it’s the ancient Chinese proverb, written by General Sun Tzu, author of The art of war, Say what “If you know your enemy, you know yourself”.

He Benchmarking, also called reference comparison, is one of the Business practices most popular and effective and is not limited to any particular area or company size. In summary, this tool consists of a comparison between your company and the competition (both direct and indirect), as well as with leaders in other industries or other markets, to find out and analyze what winning strategies they have and if possible apply them in yours own company.

What is benchmarking (the art of knowing your “enemy”)
What is benchmarking (the art of knowing your “enemy”)

In fact, the new benchmarking models recommend examining not only competitors, but also corporate executives, whether individuals or groups, and even fictional characters that could serve as inspiration.

David T. Kearns, director of Xerox Corporation, was also one of the initiators of this concept, defining it as “the continuous process of measuring products, services and practices against tougher competitors or companies recognized as industry leaders”. .

To get the most out of this effective practice in your business, there are certain steps you need to take:

1. Know yourself: Before deciding to develop this research, you should a SWOT analysis Your own company as well as an analysis of the current performance. This means that it defines which strengths and which are weak, as well as which opportunities and risks exist in the market.

At this point it is important that you have a planning and define: What you expect from the process and what your research methodology will be (interviews, surveys, market share analysis, face-to-face visits, online monitoring, etc.).

2. Know your competition: In one Business plan Well done, both direct and indirect competition and replacements must be established for your company or project. Identify what the market share is and who is leading in that particular industry. It is very important that you prepare this report well as it will allow you to choose the companies that you want to study.

However, you can use other companies or individuals (even real ones) that, while not targeting the same market or not part of your business, can provide valuable examples of good business practice. You never really know where the best ideas might come from.

3. Find your strengths: When you have chosen the companies, visit their facilities and website, ask for references, monitor their advertising or marketing campaigns and contact them on social networks. Another good source of information are employees and suppliers.
After observing them, explain what their strengths and weaknesses are.

You should focus on the practices that make them a leader or keep them above you as these will help you make your business stronger. But you can also observe wrong practices in order to improve them. This is how you can fill a gap in your services and attract dissatisfied customers.

4. Apply it in your company: Use the information gathered to improve your company’s situation. You can copy certain practices (as long as it is legal, of course), improve them, or adapt them to your market.

Remember that you need to communicate changes or modifications in your company to your employees and co-workers, as well as the new goals that are to be achieved.

In addition, the results of your benchmarking are an element that you should include in your benchmarking Business plan Gain greater credibility with potential investors. Note, however, that while many of these practices work in specific markets, they do not ensure that they will work in your markets.

5. Evaluation: Whenever you adopt new strategies or practices in your company, you need to evaluate their performance. Go closer to the indicators that correspond in each area. That is, if the change was in the HR department, watch the turnover and compare it. or if it was in customer service, check the numbers in sales or in your CRM.

This process needs to be done on a regular basis as your company needs continuous improvement to stay in the market. You can always learn from others too.

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