Benchmarking is a management tool that compares products, processes and techniques with standard or competitor values in order to improve them.
In recent times, companies are focusing on improving the product development process. Many forward-looking industries are using new strategies, approaches, processes and technologies to modernise their functions. This is where benchmarking comes in handy.
Want to know more? In this post we explain what benchmarking is and how to use it to improve your industrial products.
Benchmarking What is it?
Benchmarking is defined as the method of measuring products, services and processes against what is expected of them or against those of other competing organisations.
By doing so, it provides us with the information we need to understand and identify areas, systems or processes that can be improved. This allows us not only to improve our products but also to optimise industrial processes.
In other words, it is a continuous process in which products are measured against comparable examples, rating their offerings, methods and results in order to gather best practices, as the goal is to improve the final performance and achieve a competitive advantage.
It is not about copying the competition, but identifying the potential for improvement. Benchmarking therefore analyses the current situation to draw conclusions on best practices.
Usefulness of Benchmarking
If you are looking to improve any process in your industry, benchmarking is a good way to find out how you can stand out and be more successful. How? By identifying where your product is at the moment compared to what you want to achieve.
Here are some of the benefits of benchmarking:
- It fosters development and drives continuous improvement.
- It provides knowledge about how your product compares to the competition in the market.
- It allows you to rank industrial processes and performance, compare it with others and highlight opportunities for improvement.
- It can accelerate innovation and reformulation projects through a better approach.
- The knowledge gained about our products enables us to implement improvements that lead to excellent results.
- Thanks to its benefits we can gain a competitive advantage.
Examples and types of benchmarking
We can analyse benchmarking from several different perspectives that will provide us with useful information, both at a technical level of our own products and their improvement processes, such as the case of benchmarking of microbial treatments that we carry out in INFINITIA, as well as the competition.
Technical benchmarking is performed by the product design and development team to determine its capabilities, especially in comparison with the main competitors.
Competitive benchmarking compares the product of a specific industry with respect to the main competition, especially in terms of critical attributes, functions or values associated with the products.
Helps you better understand how your processes compare with those of other companies in your industry to make them more efficient and profitable.
As the name suggests, it relates to strategy and how you can design a strategy to make you more competitive.
It involves understanding your competitors’ performance metrics and procedures, as well as making the necessary changes to your own processes.
Comparative performance benchmarking can reveal findings that require a plan for change in order to achieve effective and successful product improvements.
Applying Benchmarking to Improve a Product
In order to carry out effective benchmarking strategies, the following steps can be taken:
Define a specific topic, process or product for the benchmarking study. Then study your own process, learn how the work is done, think about what you can improve and look for similar industries or companies that may have better practices.
Collect information from both process descriptions and specific analyses. Conduct questionnaires, telephone interviews and/or visits to competitors’ facilities to find out what you can improve.
Compare the data collected, both numerical and descriptive, and determine the differences between your performance measures and those of your competitors, as well as the practices or materials that cause the differences.
4. Adopt changes
Once you have discovered what you can optimise, set goals and develop action plans to achieve them. Implement improvements and monitor the plans.
5. Monitor performance
Benchmarking involves looking at current trends and projecting future trends based on what you are trying to achieve.
To know that you have succeeded, benchmarking must be an ongoing process, and for this reason, performance monitoring is an inherent feature of benchmarking that you must not forget.
6. Continuous improvement
In addition to monitoring performance, continuous improvement is an essential attribute of benchmarking. This is because the goal is to improve a certain element of the industry, product or process. So it should not simply be something that is improved once and forgotten, but something that is sustained over time and evolves.
Do you want to improve the characteristics of a product or refine your industrial processes? We offer you the service of product development. At Infinitia Industrial Consulting we want to help you, that is why we have the best specialists in innovation and industrial strategy. Contact us and tell us about your case.