Benchmarking: A Tool for Sharing and Cooperation

Journal for Quality and Participation vol. 23 issue 4 - September 2000

Abstract: The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) began its quality efforts in 1994. KSC and its contractor organizations were encouraged to use benchmarking and to share information in a collaborative approach to improve processes. To address the needs of a benchmarking study with competitive organizations working together to function as one, a consortium approach was developed which adapted the fundamentals of traditional process models to a methodology that addressed the constraints of such collaboration. The consortium approach fostered cooperation among the competitive organizations, with each participant sharing in the efforts of time, resources, and research to benchmark a common process. The benchmarking process followed the plan-do-study-act (PDSA) quality improvement cycle. Nine initial steps are presented that involve planning the process and selecting benchmarking process participants. Although benchmarking requires a significant expenditure of resources, consortium benchmarking can be a cost-effective alternative by reducing the cost to each participant.

Keywords: Case study - Aerospace industry - Quality - Collaboration - Benchmarking - Partnerships - Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle

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