Benchmarking is a method used to identify the best practices through comparison. Besides, this method is an effective way to analyse how well a company functions, recognizing its strengths and weaknesses. The comparison may be among competitors within the same competitive area, among companies with similar processes, but different markets, or among subsidiaries of the same organization in different countries.
The importance of Benchmarking does not lie in the detailed mechanism of comparison, but in the impact that these comparisons may have on behaviours. It can be regarded as a useful and necessary process to make improvements and changes.
A Benchmarking strategy aims at detecting the best practices through comparative processes. Benchmarking obtains information on the performance levels which, creatively adapted, may be useful to improve the global performance of the organization.
The term benchmark comes from the words bench and mark. This word, in its original sense, could be translated as quality measure in other languages. The use of the term may have been coined in 19th century England, when surveyors made a cut or a mark on a stone or wall to measure the height or level of an extension of land. The purpose of the cut was to secure a stand called bench, on which the measuring instrument was then placed. As a consequence, all the following measures were made based on the position and height of such mark.
This is a systematic, continuous and structured process with the main purpose of measuring and comparing processes in order to detect the best practices and transmit them to the rest of the structure.
- Internal Benchmarking: different areas within the same company are compared.
- Competitive Benchmarking: our company is compared to the direct competition.
- Functional Benchmarking: processes of companies with areas different from ours are compared.
- Regional or world class Benchmarking: different regions of a global company are compared, analysing certain areas or sectors (Super Elvis is a regional Benchmarking tool).
Regional Benchmarking enables comparisons of the same areas of the different subsidiaries of a global company. It takes one business area and analyses it in all the countries to detect and transmit the practices that offer better results.
The main key for the Regional Benchmarking process to be successful lies in the development and creation of KPIs (key performance indicators). The Regional Benchmarking approach requires a design of indicators different from any other analysis approach, since it must be focused on the search of those variables which may be objectively compared from one country to the other. To put it in another way: indicators must be globalized.
KPIs for Regional Benchmarking must have certain distinctive features in relation to any other performance indicator, such as:
- Be combined with global indicators (social, economic and environmental) that are allowed to be put in context.
- Harmonize regional matters, such as weather seasonality, currency and language.
- Be capable of being applied to regional blocs as well as global analysis.
- Maintain a temporal continuity and be useful in the medium and long term.
- Be linked to the formal internal processes of the company to accurately reflect its results.
Benchmarking analysis is not the final objective, but the starting point for a series of group actions that foster team work:
- Design of projects and strategies for the different regions.
- Discussion and implementation of better analytical standards.
- Growing attention and understanding of the business priorities, both of the region and of the other regions.
- Strengthening of communication processes that go beyond borders.
The most common argument against the possibility of carrying out a Regional Benchmarking strategy is the organizational incompatibility of the processes that may arise from geographical and cultural variables. This is a great fallacy. These differences are exactly what turn Regional Benchmarking into an effective tool: as a consequence of the discovery of "local innovations", many companies have been able to obtain a quick advantage when transferring such information to other operations within the same company.
Super Elvis is a Regional Benchmarking tool which facilitates the detection of the best practices and transfer them from one country to another. It is a management tool applied to data processing. This data processing will allow us to generate real time information, which will be applied to the strategy and the future decision making process.
The tool combines the statistical analysis with easy reading graphic representations. This is a tool under permanent development, since it evolves according to the needs of each company and the Benchmarking cycles that are closed (see "How is the Benchmarking process?" in the previous chapter).
Up to now, Super Elvis generates 4 types of different dashboards focused on different processes. In the future, new boards will be developed focused on other areas. Each laboratory/client may choose to use all or just some of them.
The first Super Elvis board exclusively feeds on the information generated by the Elvis of each country. It is focused on the efficiency analysis in relation to visited doctors and chemists. Examples of indicators: average of doctors and chemists visited x day and x PSR, average of intervals of the visits, etc.
The second board feeds on some Elvis System indicators and other data of the company. The approach involves analysing the sales force from the human resources point of view. Examples of indicators: absenteeism index, punctuality, operative costs of the teams.
Analyses the degree of use of the business in each country. It feeds on the data of the company and the indicators of the countries (World Bank, WHO, etc.) Examples of indicators: number of doctors and chemists visited in relation to the economically active population, sales growth in connection with the GDP, etc.
The fourth board calculates and compares the regional return of the investment. It feeds on Elvis indicators and financial data of the company to compare the investment/profit relation. Examples of indicators: ROI, distribution of costs per area, etc.
Super Elvis is customizable according to each client and their specific needs. Upon consultancy analysis, customized boards may be developed for other areas of the company desired to be regionally analysed and compared.
Is Super Elvis the same as Elvis System?
No, they are two management tools independent from each other and focused on different processes. Elvis System is a CRM developed for the pharmaceutical industry. Super Elvis is a Regional Benchmarking tool.
Do I need Elvis System to use Super Elvis?
No, but if you already have Elvis System in the countries you wish to implement Super Elvis, the dashboards that compare indicators of the medical and pharmaceutical visit will feed on the Elvis Systems that each subsidiary is using.
Can I compare any country and region?
Yes. Super Elvis is multilingual and, besides, it has regionalization tools, such as, currency converters and international social and economic indicators.
Can I compare regions separately?
Yes. Several Super Elvis can be created indicating which countries or regions must be compared by each of them. In this way, the data seen by a regional manager can be separated from the data seen by a global CEO, etc.
Can I develop Benchmarking boards for other areas of my company?
Yes. Apart from the default analysis approaches of the tool, we have a consultancy service to carry out the KPIs creation of the areas selected and the assembly of boards.