The Benchmarking model at Carleton University applies internal research to identify issues, opportunities, and challenges, and uses information from benchmarking partners to improve a process, strategy, or performance metric.  This results in a business case for improvement – a details report on what changes should be made, why those changes should be implemented, and the expected value of those changes.  The Organizational Excellence Steering Committee provides oversight in all Benchmarking projects and a Quality Advisor is available to facilitate the project.

“Benchmarking is an improvement process used to discover and incorporate best practices into your operation. Benchmarking is the preferred process used to identify and understand the elements (causes) of superior or world-class performance in a particular work process.” (Robert Damelio, The Basics of Benchmarking , Productivity Press, Portland, Oregon, 1995). Damelio defines best practices as “those methods or techniques that result in increased customer satisfaction when incorporated into your operation.”

Harrington defines Benchmarking as “a systematic way to identify, understand, and creatively evolve superior products, services, designs, equipment, processes and practices to improve your organization’s real performance. It is a process where you adapt or adopt another organization’s process or product concept to your process or product.” (H. James Harrington, The Complete Benchmarking Implementation Guide – Total Benchmarking Management , McGraw Hill, New York, 1996)

Benchmarking involves working with one or more benchmarking partners. A benchmarking partner is “an external organization that agrees to cooperate by exchanging data and/or hosting a site visit with the organization that initiated the benchmarking project” (Harrington, 1996). Ideally, a benchmarking partner is a recognized leader or an award winner in the area that is being benchmarked.