The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0 aims to offer a structured approach to benchmarking, helping companies to get fresh and valuable ideas to solve internal problems.
The Benchmark Planning Canvas
The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0 aims to offer a structured approach to benchmarking, helping companies to get fresh and valuable ideas to solve internal problems. This tool was created in 2022, originally, to help my students at the Master in Consultancy and Entrepreneurship organize and structure the work during the analysis phase of their Business Solution Design journey.
The initial version of this tool was actually quite simple and straightforward – but also too simplistic and a little unclear, I think.
Benchmark is “identifying best practices that can lead to improvements in operations and customer service”
Shafer & Coate (1992, p.31)
The Benchmarking Process
This initial version was already based on a few sources – both academic and business-based. As with any initial version, this needed some improvements. The premise is that it covers most of the benchmark needs but also supports students and business analysts to follow both Drew’s (1997) and Alstete’s (1995) approaches.
Drew (1997) proposes a 5 steps process for benchmarking:
- Identify the object of study
- Select the superior performancer (benchmarking partner)
- Collect and analyze data
- Set performance goals for improvement
- Implement plans and monitor results
While Alstete (1995) works with a 4 steps approach:
Define goals, identify processes to compare, metrics, methods, and tools, benchmark targets
- Data Collection
Primary and/or secondary sources
Description of best practices, identification of performance drivers, and comparison
Recommendations and action plans
So, in 2022, we started using The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0.
How to use The Benchmark Planning Canvas
Ultimately, a benchmark is a valuable source of ideas for improvement and innovation. Looking around and seeing what others are doing – inside the company, in other companies or even in different industries – helps the company to find freshness to enrich the pursue for innovative solutions.
“Benchmarking must come to mean learning from others”Robert C. Camp (1995, p.250)
The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0 is a comprehensive visual tool designed to facilitate strategic benchmarking initiatives. Comprising six distinct blocks, it provides a structured framework for conducting in-depth benchmark analyses.
This initial block prompts analysts to define the specific objective of the benchmarking exercise. It guides them in articulating what insights they aim to glean from the process. For instance, if a company is looking to enhance its supply chain efficiency, the benchmark goal might be to identify best practices in inventory management and logistics.
Here, analysts identify the company or functional area that will serve as the benchmarking reference point. This selection is pivotal, as it sets the foundation for meaningful comparisons. For instance, if a retail business is aiming to improve customer service, they might choose a competitor known for exemplary customer satisfaction as their benchmark target.
This block focuses on the specific criteria or performance indicators used to assess the chosen benchmark target. It requires analysts to justify why these metrics are relevant and why the selected target is a suitable source for learning. For example, if the benchmarking goal is to improve product quality, metrics might include defect rates, customer complaints, and product return rates.
Methods & Tools
In this section, analysts outline the methodologies and tools they’ll employ for data collection and analysis during the benchmarking process. This might involve surveys, interviews, financial analysis, or even specialized business analysis software. Additionally, it addresses how the comparison between the company and the benchmark target will be conducted, ensuring a rigorous and systematic approach.
After the benchmarking analysis is complete, this block encourages analysts to distill the key takeaways and learnings. It’s a crucial step where insights gained from the benchmarking process are synthesized into actionable recommendations. For instance, if the benchmarking exercise identified inefficiencies in the company’s production process, the lessons learned might involve implementing lean manufacturing principles.
Type of Benchmark
This final block categorizes the benchmarking approach employed. It allows analysts to specify whether the benchmark is internal (comparing against internal departments or units), competitive (against industry rivals), functional (comparing with counterparts in other industries), or best-in-class (benchmarking against recognized leaders in a specific domain).
The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0 is a powerful tool that empowers organizations to systematically gather, analyze, and leverage benchmarking data to drive strategic improvements. Its structured format ensures a thorough and methodical approach to benchmarking, ultimately leading to more informed decision-making and enhanced performance.
To download The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0 tool
You can download The Benchmark Planning Canvas v2.0 for free here (colorful and English version). Just mind the Creative Commons license granted.
Alstete, Jeffrey W. 1995. Benchmarking in higher education: Adapting best practices to improve quality. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 5. Washington, D.C.: George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Camp, Robert C. 1989. Benchmarking: The search for industry best practices that lead to superior performance. Milwaukee, Wisc.: ASQC Quality Press. Cappelli P, Sherer PD (1991) The missing role of context in OB: the need for a meso-level approach. Research in Organizational Behavior, 13 Carpinetti, L.C.R.; Melo, A.M. (2002). What to Benchmark? A systematic approach and cases. Benchmarkking: an international journal. VOl. 9. No. 3. pp. 244-255. Drew, S.A.W (1997). From knowledge to action: the impact of benchmarking on organizational performance". Long Range Planning. Vol. 30. No 3. pp. 427-441. Shafer, Barbara S., and L. Edwin Coate. 1992. Benchmarking in higher education: A tool for improving quality and reducing cost. NACUBO Business Officer (November): 28–35.