Benchmarking Start-Up: Pitfalls and Successes


Burpo, Travis R.   (1998, ASQ)   Sulzer Bingham Pumps Inc., Portland, OR

Annual Quality Congress, Philadelphia, PA    Vol. 52    No. 0
QICID: 10695    May 1998    pp. 277-286
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Article Abstract

A benchmarking experience at a medical device manufacturing company revealed twelve pitfalls. First, there was inadequate management commitment. It would have been a good idea to present management with a proposal on the project and the resources needed for it. Second, there were inappropriate members on the benchmarking team. The core and project teams should consist of individuals interested in benchmarking and involved in the process being studied. Third, education resources covered only one benchmarking seminar and one workshop. Fourth, the team did not plan its activities adequately. Fifth, the team initially did not understand the difference between benchmarking and surveying. Sixth, some team members confused adapting competitors' ideas with stealing. Seventh, early stages of the benchmarking initiative emphasized metrics while not paying enough attention to processes. Eighth, some measurements were of noncritical functions. Ninth, the team at first did not understand its own work process. The internal process must be mapped and documented before examining other organizations' processes. Tenth, the process operators were not involved in the benchmarking initiative. Eleventh, site visits were made automatically, even when public domain sources would have provided adequate data. Twelfth, the team analyzed only competitors, while ignoring noncompetitors.


Benchmarking,Case study,Lessons learned,Manufacturing,Teams

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