Over 20 years ago, I designed and managed a process benchmarking project for a large organisation. It was part of the initiation stage of a business process reengineering project. In this case the BPR project was supporting the establishment of a business function which had been under-resourced. It was now being set up to succeed and the Executive team wanted to explore best practice to know what success looked like.
Key Stages in the Process Benchmarking Approach
Identify the objectives and the specific processes to explore
Conduct a literature review of academic and business journals
Search popular titles and other news sources (pre-internet)
Contact people in my own network for knowledge of good ideas and practices and tap into the networks of other people I know
- Identify potential best practices
Identify examples of people and organisations doing things that appear innovative, particularly effective or interesting. Map those practices to project scope to check they are relevant.
- Schedule interviews to find out more
Set up phone calls (pre Zoom & Teams) to interview people. There were some local visits but most were spread around the world so it was phone calls at odd times of day and night. This was hard work but it was also the fun part – discovering people doing good things who are happy to share their experiences – both good and bad. in most cases they present what they have done as progress on a journey and are just as interested in the experience of others.
- Write up the results
Write up best practices with context about how they arose and where they were applied. Often it is not the practice itself that provides the best lessons but the journey to get to it. We may not implement that particular practice but understanding its development can help us innovate and create our own best ways of doing things.
- Apply the lessons from the best practice of others
Strategic change is difficult, time-consuming and resource-intensive. It pays to learn from others’ experience and best practice research (benchmarking) helps us do that. What works and what doesn’t? How have others improved operations? What helped them do it? How did they track progress? What made it harder or easier? What success make it all worthwhile?
Since then I have applied process benchmarking to consulting engagements across a wide range of industries and countries for the private sector, public sector and not-for-profits. It is always interesting and useful. It might be a formal process or it may be just a small part of a consulting methodology but it helps people succeed. Find out more.
You too can share your best practices, get recognised and help others succeed. Currently in its 9th year, the International Best Practice Competition (IBPC), run by COER supported by the Institute of Management Consultants NZ, encourages organizations to share their best operational and managerial practices, processes, systems, and initiatives and learn from the experience of others. The International Best Practice Competition is a Virtual Event for 2023.
- Closing Date for Entries: Monday, 20 March 2023
- Best Practice Sharing Presentations: 01 to 28 June 2023
- Best of the Best – Awards Finals: 12 July to 17 August 2023
- Certificates, including Star Rating issuance to all participants after moderating and aligning the judges’ assessments: By 24 August 2023
- – Further information on this award can be obtained here.
- IBPC’s Organisation-Wide Innovation Award – Further information on this award can be obtained here.
- GBN’s Global Benchmarking Award – Further information on this award can be obtained on the Global Benchmarking Network’s website
- IBPC’s Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Excellence Award – Further information on this award can be obtained here.