Benchmarking: A vital tool
If you aren’t aware of how your organisation is preforming today, how can you possibly improve it? This is according to Rowan Miranda, Associate Vice President Finance at the University Of Michigan, who says that more companies should start evaluating business processes and transformation strategies regularly to achieve operational excellence. “By using best practice benchmarking businesses can evaluate overall performance management and scrutinise select initiatives that aim to deliver maximum improvements”. It was this logic that drove Miranda to launch Michigan’s benchmarking initiative a year ago.
Despite South Africa beginning to feel the effects of the recovering economy, FinanceMinister Pravin Gordhan is less optimistic about this year’s economic growth. Increases in food and oil prices, the introduction, at some point, of the new Gauteng toll system all point to inflationary pressure amidst Minister Gordhan forecasting inflation remaining within the target range. President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address and Minister Gordhan’sbudget speech all highlight a focus on costs. Miranda advises that businesses need to be closely examining cost improvement methods and efficiency programmes.
“The best process of evaluation is to study your performance and measure this against top performers locally and internationally. This pitting against the best organisations in the world takes courage but there is no doubt that this is the right thing to do.” He says that in deciding to undertake a benchmarking initiative executives will look to business best practice to help them progress towards enterprise performance management improvement. “Nobody likes to be criticised and it is always easier to stick your head in the sand. However this approach does not resolve anything. Acquiring business benchmark data, analysing the information based on fact is vital when embarking on any transformation programme or simply establishing a current performance baseline,” says Miranda.
The IQ Business Group, a privately-owned, South African management consulting company provides clients with access to the world’s largest repository of benchmarking information. Clients are measured against appropriate global peer groups, business processes are prioritised and clients are guided in terms of functional efficiency and effectiveness. A strategic partnership with The Hackett Group, Inc. a global strategic advisory and operations improvement consulting company, enables The IQ Business Group to utilise business best practices and implementation insights from more than 5000 business benchmarking engagements.
“For the benchmarking study to be accepted and recommendations to be successfully implemented it is important that all management is informed and supportive of what the benchmarking study is striving to achieve,” says Miranda.
The IQ Business Group is able to minimise disruption to the organisation by completing a benchmarking process in just 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the scope.
The IQ Business Group Benchmarking Process assists companies in ascertaining the following:
- Proven, repeatable, documented techniques to deliver measurable business performance management improvements
- Prompt progress toward enterprise performance management improvement
- Identify snags that might otherwise slow or even halt their initiatives
- Improving costs and driving efficiencies