Strategic Planning with the Benchmarking Framework
Benchmarking is a technique that enables better strategic planning in business.
Benchmarking involves looking at other examples of best practices used by competitors or within other industries. Benchmarking may be used to evaluate products, services, processes or functions.
Benchmarking accelerates the learning process by allowing a company to identify weak points that will yield the greatest improvements, as well as understanding strengths that can be leveraged for strategic advantage. Benchmarking studies follow methodologies similar to the following:
- Identify your problem areas: Because benchmarking can be applied to any business process or function, a range of research techniques may be required. They include: informal conversations with customers, employees, or suppliers; exploratory research techniques such as focus groups; or in-depth marketing research, quantitative research, surveys, questionnaires, re-engineering analysis, process mapping, quality control variance reports, or financial ratio analysis. Before embarking on comparison with other organizations it is essential that you know your own organization's function, processes; base lining performance provides a point against which improvement effort can be measured.
- Identify other industries that have similar processes: For instance if one were interested in improving hand offs in addiction treatment he/she would try to identify other fields that also have hand off challenges. These could include air traffic control, cell phone switching between towers, transfer of patients from surgery to recovery rooms.
- Identify organizations that are leaders in these areas: Look for the very best in any industry and in any country. Consult customers, suppliers, financial analysts, trade associations, and magazines to determine which companies are worthy of study.
- Survey companies for measures and practices - Companies target specific business processes using detailed surveys of measures and practices used to identify business process alternatives and leading companies. Surveys are typically masked to protect confidential data by neutral associations and consultants.
- Visit the "best practice" companies to identify leading edge practices: Companies typically agree to mutually exchange information beneficial to all parties in a benchmarking group and share the results within the group.
- Implement new and improved business practices: Take the leading edge practices and develop implementation plans which include identification of specific opportunities, funding the project and selling the ideas to the organization for the purpose of gaining demonstrated value from the process.
Other Strategic Planning Frameworks
- 4P's Marketing Mix
- Seven S (7S) Management Framework
- AIDA - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action - Buying Process
- Ansoff's Matrix - Product-Market Growth Matrix - Expansion Strategy
- BCG Growth-Share Matrix
- Bass Diffusion Model - Product Adoption and Innovation
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- Choice Model for Decision-Making Behavior
- Competitive Advantage
- Core Competence - Collective Learning in the Organization
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Delta Model
- ERG (Existence, Relatedness, Growth) Theory of Motivation
- Experience Curve
- Framing Effect on Psychology and Marketing
- GE (McKinsey) Matrix
- Growth Phases
- Predicting Industry Evolution and Change
- OODA Loop - Observe, Orient, Decide, Act
- PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) - The Deming Cycle
- PEST Analysis - Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal Factors
- Perceptual Mapping - Brand Marketing
- Porter's Five Forces
- Product and Marketing Positioning
- Product Lifecycle (Industry Lifecycle)
- Root Cause Analysis
- SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunties, Threats
- Technology Adoption Curve
- Value Chain
- Balanced Scorecard
- Customer Segmentation
- Pricing Strategy & Price Optimization
- Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
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