Most new generation organisations have management models and processes for measuring and managing organisational performance. However, the application of these models and the direction the company needs to take are not always clearly established. Organisations need a clear picture of where they want to go, where they are and how to bridge this gap in order to successfully get to the future intent. It is also important for organisations to have a solid base from which to start a new strategy. In the past couple of years, organisations have strived to build such a solid base by re-engineering, continuous renewal, total quality management, downsizing and a plethora of other techniques. But, getting the foundation in order and just slowly getting better at what we do is not enough in today's competitive environment. Continuing in this manner is only going to keep a company in the race, when the object is to win the race. A company needs to become the world-leader in key processes to ensure survival into the future. Benchmarking can be defined as the search for industry best practices that lead to superior" performance. The emphasis is on "best" and "superior". There are no limitations on the search; the more creative the thinking, the greater the potential reward. Unlike traditional competitive analysis that focuses on outputs, benchmarking is applied to key operational processes within the business. Processes are compared and the best process is adapted into the organisation. It is a process of learning to be better while becoming the best. The purpose of this study was to provide a way for a company to get ahead in the race by means of benchmarking. The reason for benchmarking stems from this need to get ahead of others. One first need to know where one is compared to others and then to understand why the others are ahead. With this understanding, processes can then be adapted and changed to ensure that the company gets ahead of its competitors. Benchmarking is not guaranteed to be successful - it needs to be managed and nurtured in the organisation and allowed to grow throughout the organisation to finally become a way of life. It also needs to be integrated into continuous, key business processes in order to ensure that the benefits can be reaped into the distant future. The end-result of this study was therefore a guideline for creating, managing and sustaining a benchmarking capability in a typical South African corporation.
Dissertation (MEng (Industrial Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2006.