Benchmarking As a Management Tool
In modern management, benchmarking is a tool to find and implement best practices, thereby creating a competitive edge for greater organizational viability and agility.

Benchmarking can be divided into a number of categories of which some are; strategic or operative benchmarking, internal or external benchmarking, qualitative or quantitative benchmarking. Furthermore, benchmarking can be conducted within the same industry or cross-industry. Benchmarking can have a leading or supporting role and have the goal of better performance or world class.

Benchmarking is a method that can be applied to both strategic and operative issues. Strategy can be defined as those actions taken at the present time to assure success in the future. Operative management, on the other hand, has to do with all the day-to-day problems that must be solved right now to ensure that deliveries can be made to customers without a hitch. In this study, the emphasis of good practice is on the strategic, tactical and management systems levels, and not at the operative level. This would allow a higher and more ready benchmarking learning across industries and across functional areas.

Internal benchmarking means making comparisons between similar production units of the same organization, whereas external benchmarking would involve benchmarking within the same industry or with good examples outside the industry. In this book, we encourage benchmarking based on matching needs for learning, irrespective of whether the best practice organizations are within or outside your industry.

It is evident that in a lot of cases, quality and productivity may be exceedingly difficult to measure, not to say the measurements are subsequently used for the purpose of across industry learning. It is with this understanding that qualitative benchmarking is adopted in this project. The advantages are obvious, as the content and context of a best practice can be vividly described and readily appreciated by others, especially those who are not engaging in the same industry.

Benchmarking is a driver of change; a change that would continuously upgrade the level of excellence in organizational performance. In the process of finding and implementing best practices, learning will have to take place at individual level, group level and organizational level and at the end of the day, the organizations with strong organizational learning culture will succeed most in this race of excellence.