There are several different kinds of benchmarking services available. Some of the most popular include strategic, functional, process, and internal or external benchmarking. Though each of these focuses on a specific area, they can occasionally overlap. Some companies may also wish to perform the benchmarking process in more than one of these areas. Many companies that offer benchmarking services will offer several different kinds of approaches.
Strategic benchmarking services are among the most common to be used by organizations. It provides them with a wide-ranging general view of the way businesses in several different kinds of industries compete. This method is frequently used by companies that wish to improve their general performance. It is a comprehensive process which gives fairly even attention to a variety of issues, as opposed to targeting and troubleshooting specific problems.
Functional benchmarking services are more specific. They are meant to help improve operations overall by focusing on a single process as it functions across different departments. It can often be easier to make company-wide improvements when they are made on an element that is found in all areas of the business. Once that common ground is found, the differences between various departments are usually less of an impediment to progress.
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Process benchmarking services tend to focus on a few key businesses that follow recognized best practices. By finding and observing specific good qualities of these companies, a business can determine which elements it can adopt and how it can structure its own operations to meet or rise above the other companies’ results. This type of benchmarking is often outsourced to solve short-term, specific issues.
Internal benchmarking services are used to determine best practices within an organization. This is done by comparing several aspects of different departments. It is typically one of the easiest benchmarking services to do because the company has access to sensitive information that would be difficult, if not impossible to get from an external source.
The process of external benchmarking, also known as best-in-class, is more complex than internal benchmarking for several reasons. It is the practice of learning the best practices of the top firms in the industry. Finding, verifying and analyzing this information can be a time-consuming process. It is not guaranteed that sufficient accurate information will be found. For this reason, it is one of the types of benchmarking that is best outsourced to an experienced professional.