Learning by Example: Imitation and Innovation at a Global Bank

By David Strang | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Benchmarking as a Management Technique

Benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring
products, services, and practices against our toughest
competitors or those companies renowned as leaders. Our
goal is superiority in all areas—quality, reliability, and cost.

—David T. Kearns (quoted in Kearns
and Nadler 1992, 122–23)

Benchmarking is the search for industry best practices that
lead to superior performance.

—Robert C. Camp (1989, 12)

Benchmarking is a process companies use to methodically
track down business practices and approaches judged to be
among the best in the world. The essence of benchmarking
is to seek out, learn, and incorporate new operational
approaches by exchanging information with top-performing
noncompetitors.

—David Altany, 1991, 12

Benchmarking is the art of finding out, in a legal and
aboveboard way, how others do something better so it can
be imitated and perhaps improved upon.

—Jeremy Main, 1992, 102

Benchmarking: A continuous, systematic process for
evaluating the products, services, and work processes of
organizations that are recognized as representing best
practices for the purpose of organizational improvement.

—Michael J. Spendolini, 1992, 9

At Hewlett-Packard, benchmarking is defined as comparing
your business processes to perceived best-in-class processes
within other organizations in an effort to make significant
improvements in performance.

— Prior-Smith and Perrin, 1996,7

THIS CHAPTER provides an overview of benchmarking as a management technique. I begin by sketching its underlying logic and typical

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