Ibis Associates


May, 1999

Volume 1 No. 2

In the last issue, we discussed the term best practices. Best practices describe the optimum ways to perform a business process. They are the means by which leading organizations have achieved top performance. They also serve as goals for other organizations striving for excellence.


APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) defines benchmarking as "the process of identifying, understanding, and adapting outstanding practices and processes from organizations anywhere in the world to help your organization improve its performance." Note that the definition uses the word "outstanding" and not "best." What is best for your organization depends on your unique situation

Internal benchmarking measures one part of the organization against another. One organization that has a few branches may compare these branches to ascertain the best in each. The major advantage of internal benchmarking is that it identifies best practices within an organization. These are methods that work within an organization's culture and environment. It is also less expensive and less time-consuming than other forms of benchmarking. Internal benchmarking will not reveal where you stand relative to your competitors or others using the same process.

Competitive benchmarking involves assessing a company's performance against that of its competitors. It is what most people think of when they hear the term benchmarking. Often its problems outweigh the results. Obviously, competitors can be very hesitant about sharing information. In addition, qualitative information is often lacking or insufficient—the participants find out where they stand from a metrics standpoint, but not how they can improve.

Universal benchmarking offers the richest source of insight. Organizations can focus on the best performers, regardless of industry. They can obtain insights that allow them to leap ahead of competitors, instead of merely keeping pace.

How Do You Use This Knowledge?

The use of benchmarking and using these practices for constant improvement to your business is necessary in today's competitive world. Terms such as TQM (total quality management) mean that your organization must perform at its peak proficiency and overcome any complacency in workers. Just remember you don't have to reinvent the wheel, especially if it has already been invented. Benchmarking allows you to look at your organization in different ways, from different angles and make a difference.

How Can Ibis Associates Help Your Organization?

Talk to us about best practices and benchmarking. Let us teach you to become an organization that many wish to emulate.


Risk management tries to identify and manage risks and threats that could impact the organization. Traditionally, risk management was thought of as getting the right insurance. Insurance coverage usually came in standard packages, so risk management was not taken seriously. However, this impression has changed dramatically. What are the risks that can be managed? There are: insurable risks, liability risks, personnel risks, property risks, financial risks, environmental risks and others. Our discussion starts next issue.


Smile of the day

Killing time murders opportunities.


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