Benchmarking: Telecommunications Human Resources

Telecommunications Human Resources Benchmarking Consortium

The Telecommunications Human Resources Benchmarking Association (THRBA™) shares information to improve productivity, quality, and cycle time among Human Resources professionals in the telecommunications industry.

To identify "Best in Class" business processes, which, when implemented, will lead member companies to exceptional performance as perceived by their customers.

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This service is provided by The Benchmarking Network, Inc., an international resource for business process research and metrics. We lead studies with over 140,000 process leaders in over 65 countries. We provide benchmarking training and research to individual companies, professional and trade associations, and industry and process based groups. Since 1992, our over 300 benchmarking studies have spanned virtually all processes and industries to identify measures and collect data.

1st National Bank of Arizona 21st Century Insurance Company 3M 3VR Security Inc. 4DataLink 7-Eleven Inc. 84 Components A To Z Health Care, Inc., & APDS Health Supplies A. Post A. T. Wall Company A.M.A. AA EXCHANGE CO AAA AADC AAFES AAL Capital Management Corporation AARP ABB Alstom Power ABB Inc. Abbott Laboratories Ltd. Abbott Northwestern Hospital ABC Company ABC Logistics ABC Online ABCBS ABI Abitibi-Consolidated ABM Janitorial ABN AMRO ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation Absa Absolutelynew ABX Access Diabetic Supply ACCRA BREWERY LIMITED Ace Hardware ACE World Companies ACE/ESIS Acerta Acheson Industries ACHS Acibadem Ackon Proyectos SL Acktis ACL CABLES LTD ACMI Corporation Acnielsen Acosta Sales And Marketing Inc. Acquirex ACR ACS Industries ACSS, Ltd. ACT Health ACT Inc. Actewagl ACTIVA FM Acuity Brands Adams Bank & Trust Adaptive Driving Alliance Adelphia Communications Adena Health System Adfast Corp Adnik Inc ADP ADS Alliance Data Systems, Inc. ADT Security Adu & Company Advance Info Service Advance Modules Sdn Bhd Advance Watch Co (FE) Ltd Advanced Assembly Automation Advanced Electronics Advanced Graphic Printing Advanstar Communications Advanta Energy Corp. Adventist Health St. Helena Hospital ADVO, Inc AECL AEGIS Aegon Direct Marketing Services AEP - American Electric Power Aerospace Testing International AET Shipping Ltd AEXP Afadf Affinity PS AFG-Engineering Afni, Inc AGA S.A. AGC AGD Age Concern Enterprise Agere Systems Agilent Technologies AGL Resources, Inc. AGOC AGY AHIP AHM AIG Intl. AIM Trimark Investments AIMCO Air Canada Air Products And Chemicals, Inc. Airbus Airdyne Airgas AIS AIU South East Asia Ltd. AJG AJILON AKM Ltd Alabama Publishing Group Alamo Children's Advocacy Center Alamo City Dental Supply Co. Alaska Airlines Albertsons Alcan Global Pharmaceutical Packaging Alcatel-Lucent Alcoa Alexian Brothers Medical Center Alhamrani United Company Aliant ALJ Alliance Alliance Capital Management Alliance Credit Union Alliance Data Systems Alliance Pipeline Ltd Alliant Energy Alliant Techsystems Inc Allianz Life Insurance Company Of North America Allied Allied Building Products Allied Doctors Medical Systems Administrators Allina Hospitals & Clinics Alloy Polymers, Inc. Allstate Insurance Company ALLTEL Communications, Inc. Aloric Inc Alpha International For Research Alpha Technologies Alpharma Alpro SRL Alstom Altaiseir International Hospital ALTEC Alter Farmacia S.A. Alti International Altus Economics Alzheimer Society Of Ontario Amaze Entertainment AMBH Service Pte. Ltd AMC Mortgage Services AMCORE Bank Amdocs, Inc Ameren Corporation Amergen Energy America Online American Business Financial Services American Cancer Society American Communications Network American Eagle Airlines American Express American Family Insurance American Hospital Association American National Bank American Public Power Association American Re-Insurance American Red Cross American Standard American Water Americhem, Inc. Americo Financial Life & Annuity Insurance Company Amerifi Mortgage Group, Inc. Ameriprise Financial Ameristar Ameristar Casino Hotel Ameritrade Ameritrust Mortgage AMGA Spa Amgen AMI Semiconductor, Inc. Amore Pacific Co. AMP AMP Capital AMTI Amtrak Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ANCFCC Anchor Bank Andersen Corporation Andromaco Andrx Corp Angel Medical Systems Angiodynamics Anglicare Central Queensland Ltd Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. Anoplate Corporation Antigua Distillery Ltd Antipodes Publishing ANZ Banking Group Ltd Aoushco AP Technoglass APA Cables & Networks APC APDS Health Supplies And A To Z Health Care, Inc. Apelles APEX Analytix Aphelion Precision Technologies APIS Apotex Inc. Applett Management Pte Ltd Applied Materials, Inc. Applied Value Apria Health Care/Billing Center April International Inc APS Aptium Oncology APV Arab African International Bank Arabian Construction Company, W.L.L. ARAG Aramark Facility Services Aramco ARC Energy Limited Arcom Publishing, Inc. ARCOR Ardillo & Associates Ariat Arkay Industries, Inc. Armstrong World Industries Arrow Electronics. Inc. Arrowhead Electronic Healthcare Arteriorshome Asante Health System ASC Pty Ltd ASCG Incorporated Asentinel ASG Ashisco Co. Ltd. ASHP Asna Associates Aspect Communications Aspen Pet Products Aspreva Pharmaceuticals ASRC Service Center Asset Management Resources Assurant Solutions, Inc. Assured Care Astrazeneca Kft. Asturiana De Zinc S.A. Asurion Insurance Services ASW AT&T ATB Financial ATC Logistics & Electronics Atco Athena Diagnostics ATI Systems, Inc Atlanta Development Authority Atlantic Health System Atlas Capital Services, Inc. Atlas Copco Airpower Atlas Worldwide Holdings, Inc. Atmel Attorney's Title Insurance Fund AUCHAN Audi AG Audio Visual Machines Augustine Motors Aurora Health Care Austin Cancer Centers Australia Gas Light Australia Post Australian Tax Office Australian Trade Commission Autocam Autodeal Autodesk Autoliv Canada Inc. Av4com Avaya Inc Avcorp Avecia Biotechnology Aventis Avery Dennison Aviall Inc Avista Corporation Aviv Avmed Health Plans Avnet EM Avon Products, Inc. AVX Corporation AWALNET AWG Facilities Services AXA AXA Assistance USA AXA Financial Company AXA Pacific Axalto Axcess Diagnostics Axle Alliance AXTEL Azzawya Oil Refining B Digital B.T. A/S B&G B&M Latin America B21 BAA BAE SYSTEMS Baker Fresh Foods Phils., Inc. Baker Furniture Baker Hughes Inc. BAL Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems Ltd BALLARD MATERIAL PRODUCTS Bally Total Fitness Baltimore Aircoil Company Baltimore Medical System Baltimore Sun Banco de Venezuela - Grupo Santander Banco del caribe Banco General Banco Itau BANCO POPULAR Bancorex Bank of America Bank of Asheville Bank of China Bank of Montreal Bank of Nova Scotia Bank of Scotland Bank of Boston Bankers Insurance Group, Inc. Bankers Life and Casualty Company Bank Financial bankserv limited banksys Banorte Baptist Healthcare System Baptist Medical Center Barclaycard International Barclays bank Bard Brachytherapy, Inc. BARLOWORLD LOGISTICS Barnes Engineering Company Barton Malow Basell Polyolefins Basin Electric Power Coop BasWare Bata Limited International BATB Batofar Battelle Baxter Healthcare Bay Alarm Company Bay Pines VAMC Bayantel, Inc. Bayer BBD&C BBVA Compass BC Hydro BCBSRI BCBST BD (Becton Dickinson) BDT Beal Portfolio Management Beaumont Enterprise Beckman Coutler Behr Industries Corporation Belgacom belgrade stock exchange Belkin Corporation Bell Canada Bell Equipment Bell Hellicopter Textron Bell Mobility (Entergy) Belleli Saudi Heavy Industries BellSouth Corporation bematech s/a Benchmark Electronics Benefit Planners Benjamin Moore Berlitz Canada Inc. bernard c harris publishing com Best Buy Best Nawin & Mark Co.,Ltd. Best Software, Inc. BestPractices International S.A. Bethany Press International Bethesda Living Centers Beyond Capital BGE - Constellation Energy Group Bharti Airtel Limited BHARTI CELLULAR LIMITED BHP Billiton Bhrigus, Inc. Bhutan Development Finance Corportaion Limited Big Island Drafting Big Ray's Bio-Rad Biogen Idec BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. Biosite Inc BIPORIS Bird Technologies Bison Building Materials Biztech International Black Hills Corporation Black Mountain Black & Decker Blackmon Accounting Blood Centers of America Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Blue Cross and Blue Shield of SC Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Blue Cross of California Blue Shield of California Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Inc. BlueScope Steel Ltd BM inc BMC HealthNet Plan BMC Software bme global BMI-T BMS BMV BMW BMW South Africa BNA BNHCI BNP Paribas BNR BOC Gases Ltd Bocconi University Bodene Boehringer-Ingelheim Boeing Integrated Defense Systems BofA Securities BOI Bombardier Inc. BOMI Institute Bonneville Power Administration Bookspan BorgWarner BOS Automotive Products, Inc. Bosch Bosh Boston Financial Data Services Boston Medical Center Botsa Feela Botsford Healthcare Continuum Boulay Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc. BP Brake Bros Limited Brambles LLP Brandywine Realty Trust BrasilWay Braskem BRD Bridger Brink's Home Security, Inc. Bristol West Bristol-Myers Squibb Britannia Finance Ltd British Airways British American Tobacco British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch Britsec International BRK Broadspire Broadview Security, Inc. Brooks Ballard Mortgage Brookville Star Brown & Haley Bruce Power Brunei Shell Petroleum BSC BSH Home Appliances BSW BT BU OB/GYN Foundation Inc Buffini and Company Builtcare Burlington Safety Laboratory of California, Inc Burnham Real Estate Bushnell Performance Optics Butcher Engineering Butterfield Bank Buyer Advertising BWXT Pantex C-FER Technologies C&P Inc. Cabot Corporation Cadbury Adams Cadbury Schweppes CAEtech CAI CalAmp Corp Caldwell Holdings Caldwell Mfg Co California Acrylic Industries, Inc. California State Automobile Association California Water Service Calpine CalPro Research Caltrans Cambridge Health Alliance CAMC Cameco Corporation Cameron Valves Campbell Chiropractic Canada Border Services Agency Canada Bread Canada Life Canada Post Corporation Canadian ANimal Health Institute Canadian Consulate General Canadian Forces Housing Canadian Intellectual Property Office Canadian Pacific Railway Canadian Tire Financial Services Canon ITS Canyon Ranch Cape Administrative Academy Cape Peninsula University of Technology Capital International Capital One Capral Aluminium Limited Car Care Products, Inc. Cara Capital Corporation Carbones del Cerrejon Cardinia Shire council Career Education Association Cargill Caribbean Hotel Association Caring Communities of Pennsylvania, Inc. Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center Carleton University Carlton Chemicals CarMax, Inc. Carmel Olefins Carmin Industries Carpenter Technology Carraway Methodist Medical C enter Carrier Carter BloodCare Carthage Capital Group CARTI, Inc Casa de las Amigas Casio Inc. Castle & Cooke, Inc. Catalyst Learning Caterpillar, Inc Cavit ABI Rehabilitation CB Richard Ellis CBFSAI CBI Research, Inc. CBM of America CBS CCA Advertising CCD CCHMC CCI CCIC CCSD CDO-Foodsphere Inc. CDPHP CDW CEB CECED Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. Celera Diagnostics Celestica Celestica de Monterrey Celestica Inc Cemex Cendant Censys Center Partners CenterBeam Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centex Construction Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Central Baptist Hospital Central DuPage Hospital Central Maine Power Co. Central Northern Adelaide Health Service Central Transport International, Inc. Century 21 Century Mold Co. Cephalon Ceridian Cerner Certified Merchant Services, LLC Cessna Aircraft Company CFC CGI Chaingkham Hospital Champions for Christ Centre Charles Schwab CHARLOTTE PIPE & FOUNDRY Charter Communications Charter plc Checkpoint CHEP Cherry Corp Chestnut Hill HealthCare CHG Companies, Inc. Chicago Board of Trade Chicago Building Components Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank Chicago Police Department Chick-fil-A Chico's Child Care Association of Brevard County, Inc. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Children's Medical Center Dallas ChildServe, Inc. China Banking Corporation Chinatrust Bank Ching Yi Technology Pte Ltd CHNP Choice Hotels International Christian Resource Pty Ltd Christus Health CHS Inc. Chubb Security Chugach Electric Ass'n. Inc. Chumnaj Oversea Trade CIBA CIBC CIBC Mellon CIC Middle East CIEMEX-USA CIM DE LA BAIE Cinergy Corp. Cingular Wireless Cintas Corporation CIP Cipha Cisco Systems Citgo Petroleum Citibank NA Cards Citizens Bank Citizens Communications Citizens Gas & Coke Utility CITPO Citrus Memorial Hospital City and County of Denver City of Albany City Of Calgary City of Cape Town City of Charlotte, North Carolina City of Dallas City of Detroit City of Edmonton City of Fresno City of Gadsden City of Glendale Water & Power City of Goodyear City Of Henderson City of Houston City of Johannesburg City of Key West City of Lakewood City of Lawton City of Lebanon City of Lethbridge City of Mesa City of Minneapolis City of Oklahoma City City of Philadelphia City Of Phoenix City of Plano City of Richland City of Roanoke City of San Jose City of Springfield City of Sun Prairie City of Tallahassee City of Vancouver City of Vero Beach City of Winter Haven Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore` CJ Telenix Clack Cat Communications Claims Servicing of America Clarcor, Inc. Clariant Clarity AG Clarke American Clarke Inc Classic Components Clausells Clinical Lab Claviers Martin Clemmer Steelcraft Technologies Inc. Cleveland Psychosocial Agency Cleveland Publc Power CLICO Cliffstar Corporation CLP Power HK Ltd. CLS CM Smith Agency, Inc. CML Innovative Technologies CMS Energy Corp CNA ART CNH Capital CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. Co-Nexus Cobbs, Allen & Hall Cocolife CoCT Codexis Codner & Co COE Manufacturing Co Coesfx,Inc Coherent Inc. Colgate Palmolive Colliers Turley Martin Tucker Collins & Aikman Colonial Life & Accident Colony Management Services Colorado Springs Utilities Columbus Consolidated Government Columbus Metropolitan Library Columbus Water Works Comcast ComEd Comerica Bank Comextra Comgas Command Management Services Commercial international Bank Common Sense Solutions Commonwealth of Pennsylvania CommScope Inc. Compania Minera Antamina S.A. Compass Bank CompBenefits Competisys Corporation Compli Caribe, LLP Compucom CompUSA Computer Associates Computer Sciences Corporation Compuware Corporation Comtech Systems, Inc. Comune di Cagliari Con-Way Concentra Financial Conducive Technology ConEd ConnectEdu Connexus Energy ConocoPhillips Consac Industries Consep Consolidated Smart Systems Consolidted Health Services Constellation Brands Constellation Energy Contax Contrack International Inc., ConvaTec Convergys Conversant Inc Cook Childrens Medical Center Cooper Cameron Valves Cooperative Finance Corp. Coopervision Coors Brewers Ltd Copes Copperweld Canada Coral International Hotels & Resorts Core3, Inc. Coronet Foods, Inc. CorpGov.Net Corpora Corporativo Grupo Boro Corsair Conveyor Corporation Cosma International Cosmote Countrywide Financial Corp County of Monroe County of Riverside County of San Bernardino County of San Mateo Couran Cove Island Resort Covansys Covenant Health Cox Communications CP Americas CPF CPI CPL LTC CPPNA CPS CQ Inc. Crane Aerospace & Electronics Crawley Borough Council Cray Australia Creative Labs Europe Cricket Communications Crittenton Hospital Medical Center CRM Facilities Management CrossChem Limited Crossnet Crowe Chizek CRP Inc. CRS Crunch Fitness International Crystal Financial Crystal Geyser Water Company CSAA CSE CFSBLD CSIR CSIRO CSS Assurance CSS Industries CTI4 CTQ Processes AB CTS Communications Components Cubellis Associates Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc CUIPI Culligan Cummins Inc. Custom Computer Specialists, Inc. Cutter Aviation Cuyuna Regional Medical Center CVS CVS Sistema srl CWI CWS Cyberspace Solutions Cymer, Inc. Cytec Engineered Materials D&R Manufacturing Ltd. Dacosta Mannings Inc Daewoo Motor Daily Bread Food Bank Daily Press Dairyland Power Cooperative DAIS Dal-Tile Dalkia Brasil SA Dana Corporation Danbury Health Systems Danshir Darden Restaurants DAS Legal Expenses Dassault Systems Datacard Group Dataguide DataLabs International Datatrac Information Services, Inc Day & Zimmermann NPS, Inc. DBS Bank DC WASA DCA De Diego & Asoc De Jonge M&A De Persgroep De Winter International Limited Dearborn Publishing Debis Fleet Management DECA Inc. Decoma Dedic Defiance Metal Products Definity Health Delafield Corp Delft Ingenious Design Delinea Dell Inc. Delphi Delta Air Lines, Inc Deluxe Corporation Dendreon Denovo Denso Sales CA Inc. Dept. of Municipal & Provincial Affairs, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador Design Engineering Detroit Diesel Reman North Deutsche Bank Development II, inc. Devereux Foundation DeZyn DFS, Inc. DFW Technology DHBNZ DHL Express Diageo Diagnostic Products Corporation Diamond Products Diario La Prensa Didimalang Mining Services Digene Corporation DiGi Telecommunications Digital Dog Digitas Dinkum Technology Pte Ltd Direct Energy/Centrica DIRECTV Discovery Disneyland Dispenser Services of the Carolinas District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Diversified Information Technologies DiversityInc Dividend Capital DKSH DMR Counsulting DMS Electronics Ltd DNT Int. Dobson Cellular Systerms, Inc. Documentos y Digitales de El Salvador Dodsal Pte Ltd Dofasco Inc Dominion Resources Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Dorsett Health Care Facility Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans Home DPWN DQE (Duquesne Light) Draexlmaier DRB-HICOM Dream Works Co., Ltd. Drexel University DRS Sustainment Systems Inc. DSC Logistics DSC Window Fashions DSM Services USA, Inc. DST Output DSTA Delta DTE Energy Du Fresne Manufacturing Dual Temp, Inc. Dubai Institute for Human Resource Development Dubai Municipality Dublin Airport Authority Dublin City Council Dublin City University Duke Energy Dupont Duro Bag DWP Dynamic Office Solutions Dynegy E-Novation E-Wise Knowledge Library E4E Tech Support EADS Defense & Security Systems Limited Earth Tech Canada Earthlink, Inc. East Sussex County Council Easter Seals EastLink EasyLink Services Eatel Eaton Corporation eBay Inc. EBCI EBSCO Publishing Echostar Eclipsys Corporation ECOBANK-BENIN Ecoboard Industries Ecolab, Inc. Econoler International Inc. Economic Opportunity Board Ecotune Ltd. Eddins-Walcher Company EDF Edgewood Retirement Community Edison Electric Institute Editora Globo Educ-Link Marketing Educational Testing Service Edwards Lifesciences EEC Energetics EFDA-CSU EFFCU EFG Eurobank EFK EGAS EGC Eglobalex Ehi-Passiko Training Company Pte Ltd Eimskip Eisai Inc. Ekpac China Limited Elderplan Electolux Construction Products Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund Electricity Authority of Cyprus Electrolux Home Products Element Six Eli Lilly Elision Ltd Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare Elusys Embratel EMC Corporation EmCare, Inc EMCO Enterprises, Inc. Emerio Globesoft Pte Ltd Emerson Process Mgt EMI Music Empire Blue Cross Employers Association of West Michigan EMU University Enamics Inc. Encad, Inc. Encore Credit ENDESA Endries International, Inc Enelven Energex Energy East Energy Insights Enersis ENMAX Corporation ENSR International Entergy Corporation eNucleus Environmental Agency of Slovenia Enwin Utilities EPB EPCOR Utilities, Inc. EPI-USE Epic Eprovion Epson Equant Equinox Project Resources Inc. Equitable Resources Inc. Equity One Ergo Ergon Energy Corporation Eric De Bruyckere Erickson Retirement Communities Ericsson Erlanger Health System Escalator Handrail Company ESI Canada Eskom ESL Federal Credit Union ESP Essex Manufacturing eStore Services, Inc. Ethical Pharmaceutical Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. Ethyl Corporation ETMGgroup ETS Eugene Water & Electric Board Euro Tech Services Eurobank S.A. Euroclear S.A. Eurocontrol Experimental Center Eurocopter Euromedica Euromoney EV3 Inc. Evertec Inc. Evoltas Solutions Ltd. EWP US Liaison EXAchem SCM Pte. Ltd. Exactmobile Excellus BC/BS Exelon Exempla Healthcare ExL Pharma Exostar Experian Export Development Canada Express Technologies ExxonMobil Fairmont Supply Company Fairview Hospital Family Crest Real Estate Family Health Centers FARBA Farmers Insurance Company of Flemington Farrell's Electronics Fast Vision Internet Solutions Faurecia Interior Systems Fayette County Memorial Hospital Fayetteville Public Utilities FCI Federal Express Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco Federal Prison Industries, Inc. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Ferris Baker Watts FGMK Fidelity Investments Fieldstone Mortgage Company Fifth Third Bank Figtree Smash Repairs Filtronic Finberg Capital Management Finland Trade Center Fire Mountain Gems Firestone Building Products Firmenich, Inc. First American Payment Systems First Choice Resources First Data Corporation First Data Merchant Services First Energy Corporation First Financial Bank First Franklin Financial First Merit Bank First National Bank of South Africa First Technology First Tennessee Bank Firstaff Health Care Services Inc. FirstBank Data Corporation Fiscal Services Limited Fischer & Company Fischer Imaging Corporation Fisher Clinical Services Inc. Fiskars Brands, Inc. Flexi-Mat Corporation Flexible Communication Company (Flexicom) Flextronics International Flinders Medical Centre Flint Energy Services Flip Productions Ltd Florida Power & Light Florida Rock Industries, Inc. Flowers Hospital Flowserve Fluor, Inc. Foley's Department Stores Fonterra Foot Levelers, Inc. Football Academy Belgrade Foote Heath Systems Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America Ford Motor Company Forefront Engineered Solutions Forehtought Financial Services Foreign Affairs Canada Forethought Financial Services Foreword Financial Fort Knox National Company Fort Wayne Radiology Fortegra Fortis Forward Dynamics Foster Plastics Industries Foundation for Revenue Enhancement Foundation Surgery Affiliates Four Seas Co Ltd Fox World Travel Foxconn Foxwoods Resort & Casino FPL - Florida Power and Light FPT Fresenius Friedrich Air Conditioning Frist Allied Frontier Fry Reglet Corp. FTS Business Services Fujitsu Computer Systems Fulton Industries FVG International G&P Logistics Corporation G&W Electric Co General Authority For Investment and Free Zones Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Gandum Mas Gap Inc. Gapbuster Worldwide Garden Ridge Gary Underwood Insurance Agency Gateway Funding Gateway Regional Medical Center Gauteng Shared Service Center GB Biosciences GE Geller & Company Gemco Inc. Gemco National Industrial Security Gemplus Genentech General Dynamics General Motors General Parts, Inc. Genesis Energy Genzyme Corporation Geocel Corporation Geodynamics Georgia Backyard, Inc. Georgia Power Company Georgia Systems Operations Georgia Transmission Corporation Georgia-Pacific Corp. Gerber Products Company Giant Cemet GIE AXA Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Inc Gilat Gilbarco-Veeder Root Gillette Gist Ltd GKN Sinter Metals, NAO GlaxoSmithKline Global Crossing Global Resource Strategies Global Support Global Technology Systems Consortium Global Village Telecom GlobalPOPs Globo TV GM GM Logistics GMAC Mortgage Corp. GNLD GNP Go Daddy Software Gold Fields Shared Service Golden Hour Data Systems Golden Valley Memorial Hospital Good Samaritan Health System Good Samaritan Hospital Goodman Fielder Goodrich Corporation Goodwill Industries International Goodyear GOST GOW GP America, Inc GPLC GPRMC Gradient Corp. Grafco Industries Graham Hospital Graham Packaging Grainger Grampian Foods Siam Grand River Hospital Grand Victoria Casino Grange Insurance Great American Insurance Company Great Lakes Chemical Corporation Greater Toronto Airports Authority Green Packet Bhd Green Wing Groov-Pin Corp. Grupo BAL GSMLI GTBuilding GTECH Corp. Guam Water Works Authority Guardian Electric Mfg. Co. Guardian Medical Transport Guidant Guideline Risk Management Services Ltd Gulf View Publications Gulfstream Aerospace Gundersen Lutheran H.B. Fuller H.E.B. Grocery Co. H.N. Corporation Limited H&R Block Hach Co. HADCO Haerter Stanztechnik Hail Creek Coal Halifax Regional Municipality Hallenstein Bros Ltd Halliburton Energy Services, Inc Hamilton City Council Hamilton-Sundstrand Hand Held Products Harland Financial Solutions Harleysville Insurance Harman Becker Harmony Construction Harrah's Entertainment Harris Bank Harris Corporation Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. Hawker Beechcraft Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc. Hayes Realty & Investment Co Hayman Ltd HaysMedicalCenter HB Fuller HDIS Medicaid Health Net Federal Services Health Net of California Health Network Laboratories Health Services Australia HealthCare Partners HealthPlus of Michigan HealthSouth Healthtech Inc. Healthy Connections, Inc. HEART Trust/NTA Hearth & Home Technologies Hebert Research Hellenic Aerospace Industry Helmer Help Line/ Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley Helsinki Pediatricians Company Hendrickson Henkel Technologies Henley Medical Hennepin County Human Services Department Hennessey Capital Solutons Henry Ford Health System Herbalife International Herfy Food Services Co. Ltd. Hernando County Utility Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Hertz Europe Service Centre Hewlett-Packard Hexion Specialty Chemicals HG Ltd High Industries, Inc. Hill & Knowlton Hill-Rom, Inc. Hillmar Industries Ltd Hills Governance Center-AIM Hillsborough County Public Works Department Hilton College Hind Wing Co. Ltd. HireRight Hitachi America, Ltd. Hobby House Press, Inc Hoffmann La-Roche Holiday Builders Hollingsworth & Vose Holt of California HomeAmerican Mortgage HomeTeam Pest Defense Homewood Health centre Honda of America Mfg., Inc. Honeywell Hopkins Mfg Corp Horace Mann Insurance Company Horizon Bank, NA Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ Horizon Healthcare Horizon Moving Systems Hospitality Sign Co. Houston Dept. Health and Human Services HSBC Bank USA, NA HSH Insurance Hub Cities Consortium Huber Engineered Woods Hudson Advisors Hudson City Savings Bank Hughes Christensen Hult International Business School Huntington Bancshares Huntwood Husky Energy Inc. Husky Injection Molding Systems Hussmann Corp. Hyatt Corporation Hydro Aluminum Puckett Hydro One Networks Hydro-Quebec Hypercom Corporation Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. II Stanley Co., Inc. IBC Iberdrola IBM Iceland Telecom ICG Commerce ICI Paint of North America ICon Northern Rubber Ltd. ICT Communications Ltd Idaho Transportation Department Ideal Industries IFS World Operations AB Ikano IKON Office Solutions Illuminat Imagitek IMP Pumps Impax Pharmaceuticals Imperial Oil Limited Import Tire IMT Technologies Independence Blue Cross Indiana Printing & Publishing Infocom INFOHEALTH Management Corp. InfoNXX Information Builders Inc Informed Financial USA, Inc Infotronic International Ltd. ING Clarion ING Direct Ingram Micro Inland Hospital InnoPlas Corp Innovative Edge Pte Ltd Instranet Insurance Corporation of British Columbia InsWeb Integrated Communication Technology Co.,Ltd Integrated Customer Services (ICS) Intel Corporation Intelesys IntellSol Technologies Intentia InterContinental Hotels Grp Intergraph Corporation Interlink International Association of Public Transport (UITP) International Automotive Research Centre International Paper International Rectifier International Road Dynamics, Inc. International Trade Administration, Dept of Commerce International Trading Services, Inc. International Truck & Engine corp. Intertruck Distributors (North) Ltd Intex Partners Invacare Corporation Invensys Operations Management Inverclyde Council Invitrogen Corporation Iomega Ion Automotive Iowa Department of Administrative Services - Human Resources IP Unity IR Security and Safety IRS (Taxpayer Advocate Service) Islands Souvenirs, Inc. ISU Stetson-Beemer ITT Industries IXIS Capital Markets IXOS Software Izopur J B Hunt Transport JP Morgan Chase J.D. Irving, Limited J.H. Bennett & Co., Inc. J.M. Huber Corporation J.R. Simplot Company J&J Jack in the Box, Inc. Jackson Memorial Foundation Jackson National Life Insurance Company Jacksonville Airport Authority Jacobi Medical Center Jaguar JAL International Jamaica National Building Society James Avery James Creelman Jasco International Jasper Engines & Transmissions JD Williams Jefferson County Public Schools Jefferson Memorial Hospital Jefferson Surgery Center Jefferson Xray Group, P.C. Jem America Jenkins Brick Company Jeppesen Jet Propulsion Laboratory JetBlue Airways Jim Beam Brands Company Jim's Dodge Country JLG Industries, Inc. JM Family Enterprises John Crane UK John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. John Harland Johnson & Johnson Johnson Controls, Inc. Joslin Diabetic Center Jostens Inc JR Ltd. JSA Healthcare/AmeriDrug JT Schlager Jumeirah Beach Hotel Jump Trading Juniper Financial Juniper Networks Inc Kalidoscope Ventures Kalsec, Inc. Kanbay Incorporated, Inc. Kansas Children's Service League Kansas City Board of Public Utilities Kansas Public Employees Retirement System Kaplan University Karis Inc. Karta Technologies KAS Security Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre Kaydon Custom Filtration Corporation Keane, Inc Kelly Scientific Kelron Logistics KEMET Electronics Corporation Kenergy Kennametal Kennedy Incorporated Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance Companies Key Polymer Corporation Keyspan Energy Keystone Education and Youth Services Kiewit Development Company Kinder Morgan King Faisal Hospital Kleerdex Company Knife River Corporation Knights of Columbus Knoxville Utilities Board Koch Business Solutions, LP Komni Corporation Kopanong Local Municipality Korea Management Association KP and Associates Kraft Foods Global Kronos Incorporated Krueger International KT (Korea Telecom) KTH Parts Industries, Inc Kum & Go, L.C. Kumba Resources Kustom Signals, Inc. Kuwait Food Company Kuwait Oil Company Kwajalein Range Services Kyocera Wireless Corp. La-Z-Boy Inc. Laboratory Corporation of America Laclede Gas Company Lafarge North America Lafarge Roofing Technical Centres Ltd Lakeland Electric Lakota Technical Solutions, Inc. Lands End Lanier Worldwide, Inc. Lanka Dot Info Pvt Ltd. Lansing Board of Water & Light Lantech Larned State Hospital Las Vegas Hilton Las Vegas Springs Preserve Las Vegas Valley Water District LaSalle Bank Corporation Laser Tek Lassen Scientific, Inc. LATICRETE International Latin America Logistics Center Lattimore Community Surgicenter Laurens County Health Care System Le Relais Lean Sigma Institute Lear Corporation Learning Zone LeasePlan USA LeaseTeam Inc LeCreuset of America, Inc Lee County Electric Cooperative Leggett & Platt Lenawee Health Alliance Lend Lease Lendcorp Mortgage Brokers, Inc. Lennar Levi Strauss & Company Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District Lewistown Hospital Lexign Inc. Lexington Herald-Leader Lexmark International LFR Inc. LG&E Energy LGE Liberia Build Project (LBP) Liberty Mutual LifeBridge Health Lifecor, Inc LifeScan Lifestyles Ligand Pharmaceuticals Lighthouse Credit Foundation Lilly Limited Brands Lincoln Lincoln Surgical Hospital Linvatec Lite-On Technology corp. Litehouse, INC Lithonia Lighting Littelfuse, Inc. Little River Casino Resort Littleton Public School LJ Technical Systems Ltd LLI/CMI Construction, Inc. Lloyds TSB Lockheed Martin Loftus Engineering, Inc. Logis Consolidators pte ltd London Health Sciences Centre London Hydro London Luton Airport Operations Limited Long Island Power Authority Lonmin Platinum Lord, Bissell & Brook LLP Lorillard Tobacco Company Los Angeles County Fire Department Los Angeles World Airports Lower Colorado River Authority Lowes Food Stores LoyaltyCustomer Inc. Lukens Energy Group Lumley Insurance Luther Village Luxottica Retail LuxSpan Inc. Lymans technologyM & M Roofing, Inc. M. Holland Company M&T Bank mac carpet Mack Interact Mackay Port Authority Macronix International Corp. Madden Communications Maersk Broker K/S Maersk Logistics Singapore Pte Ltd MAG Magna Steyr Magnussen Home Furnishings mahidol university MAI Maine Medical Center Mainland Products Ltd Maitland Private Hospital Majilite Corporation Major League Baseball Team MAKING PROCESS ICE Malaspina University-College Malaysian AE Models Holding Berhad. Malaysian Employers Federation Mallinckrodt Baker/Tyco Healthcare management science Manager Manels Mangaung Local Municipality Manheim Mank ofMontreal Manpower Services Mansfield Plumbing Products mapletree investments pte ltd MARAFIQ Marathon Oil Corporation marco minutti trading company srl Marconi Communications SpA Marcus Comunications Maricopa Integrated Healthcare System Maritime Innovation Maritime Transport Sector MARKEM Corporation Marketing Maroc Telecom Marriott Corporation Marsh, Inc. Marta Police Dept. Martti Juhani Stoor, Soc. Unipessoal, Lda Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital Maryland Aviation Administration Marymount Hospital Massachusetts General Hospital Massey University (Auckland) MassHousing MassMutual Mastercraft Masterfoods Mat-Co Forms Inc. Matamoros in bond companies association Matria Healthcare Inc. MAURICE LACROIX SA Mauritian Eagle Insurance Co Ltd MAXIM Technologies MAXIPREST Maxon Furniture Mayan Resorts Mayo Clinic of Arizona MCAP Mortgage Corp McCain Foods USA Inc. McCormick McDonald's Corporation McFadden Contracting McGraw-Hill Construction MeadWestvaco Mecklenburg County Government Mecosoft Systems Pvt Ltd Mecosta County General Hospital Mecsics & Associates Medaire, Inc MedCentral Health System MedExpress Urgent Care MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd MedImmune, Inc. Medinst Mediprobe Research Medtronic Meeting Strategies Worldwide MEF Limited Megamak Mellon Human Resources & Investor Solutions Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Memphis Light Gas & Water Mercy Miami Hospital Meridia Hospital Meridian Home Care Meridian Knowledge Solutions Merrill Lynch Mesa Consolidated Water District Messier Services Met Life Metavante Methodist Dallas Medical Center Methodist Willowbrook Hospital MetLife Metro Christian Worship Center Metromedia Marketing MGM Grand Hotel and Casino MGMA Michelin Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center Microsoft Microsys Midmark Corporation Midwest Energy, Inc. Miele Milestone Cosmic Creations Pte. Ltd Millbrook Distribution Services Millennium Corporate Solutions Miller Coors Brewing Company Millipore Corporation Milton Hershey School Minacs World Wide Minco Products, Inc. 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BrandsZero Variance ZF Lemforder Corp. Zingaro & Company ZivaGuide Zocabella World Linksg Zomax Contact Centre Services Zorch Software Zurich Insurance Benchmarking Strategies In Accounting And Finance CHAPTER 1 BENCHMARKING OVERVIEW OBJECTIVES At the end of this chapter you will be able to: * Define Benchmarking. * Determine how Benchmarking can help you add value to your organization. * Understand how Benchmarking is integrated with the quality movement. * Understand why Benchmarking is important to accounting and financial managers. * Discuss the factors that have led to the growth of Benchmarking. * Discuss some of the major cases that have driven the growth of Benchmarking. * Review basic Benchmarking data in accounting areas. INTRODUCTION Executives are continually faced with the ongoing challenge of improving performance. From accounts payable clerks to chief financial officers, accounting and finance professionals are discovering new approaches to increasing efficiencies within their organizations. Benchmarking is a tool that identifies “Best Practices” by making process comparisons both inside and outside your organization. Competitive factors are driving the growth of Benchmarking. No longer is “Doing It Better Than Before” competitive. “Being The Best”, is becoming the standard for every corporate function and process including accounting. This chapter is designed to give you an understanding of the background of Benchmarking and how it has evolved in organizations today. As an effective Benchmarker and promoter of Benchmarking concepts, you will need to be able to discuss some of the success stories from other companies and other industries. This chapter presents the overview of the process. Cases by Ford Motor Company and Xerox discuss how each has contributed to the growth of what we now call Benchmarking. In addition, this chapter presents the results of basic data gathering from benchmarking studies in accounting areas. WHAT IS BENCHMARKING? Using Benchmarking techniques, companies share non-public performance information to identify the operational processes that really work. They begin by measuring each other’s operating data, identifying the best performer out of a group, then adapting the practices that make them the best. Benchmarking provides the participants with the guidance they need to make informed business decisions. Besides the need to improve many managers are using benchmarking to gain an understanding that they are doing everything that they can be doing for their organizations. Benchmarking creates a non-threatening environment to review all the possible areas for improvement. Benchmarking is both a project and a process. As a project it is a one time event; as a process it is continual and integrated into the daily operations of the organization. Team members get most of the value out of a study by understanding day to day operations. Leading organizations also involve front line management in the process. You will find Benchmarking to be a hunt for opportunities. Each organization, even the best, will always have some activities that fall short of highest performance. Measuring performance becomes the first step in the analysis we call Benchmarking. By identifying the gap between your performance and others, you can then peel back the layers of an organization to understand the processes that drive excellence. WHY BENCHMARK? Benchmarking Creates Value For The Organization Benchmarking, when used as a tool, creates value through four essential means: * Focusing the organization on key performance gaps. * Bringing in ideas from external organizations and identifying opportunities. * Rallying the organization around the findings to create a consensus to move forward. * Implementing ideas into your operations to yield better quality products and services. Most executives probably have a good understanding of their company’s bottom line results. However, aggregate data can sometimes hide poor performance in one of the thousands of processes that make up today’s corporation. For most, there is no baseline to determine relative performance. Benchmarking provides insight into where you are and where you can be. The leading companies typically ask—“If I am one of the best companies, why do I want to Benchmark?” The answer is twofold—first, it is not possible to know where you stand before you measure. Secondly, since all organizations are a mosaic of processes and functions, even the best companies can expect to find at least one area that can be improved. We will use Benchmarking to perform a more detailed study after identifying areas which have the largest performance gaps. We will develop measures that we can use to compare our performance. We will rank the cost and quality to best performers. Then we will adapt the practices from the best to improve our performance. Companies realize that in order to get information they have to give information. Most companies that Benchmark recognize that sharing information with other companies is useful because: * Many functions are really not strategic in nature. * Minimizing administrative costs does not jeopardize trade secrets. * Presentations at professional and trade associations do not give enough comparative performance information on which to evaluate alternatives. In most organizations, a significant untapped potential exists. Opportunities that are known to the organization usually do not pass internal political hurdles. At the same time, new ideas do not become known to the organization. Benchmarking allows you to accomplish at least three objectives: * Identify ideas. * Sell your ideas. * Make better decisions from a larger base of facts. In addition, Benchmarking looks outside one’s environment to explore outside opportunities such as: * Practices in other countries that are viewed as innovative and appealing. * Hardware and software purchases (usually so complicated that decisions are frequently made in a vacuum). Initially, you can determine the magnitude of potential opportunities by reviewing public information. We will call this process competitive analysis. Competitive analysis can be performed using financial statements or reviewing public data sources. However, public information is only the first step in identifying the best performers. As you quickly realize, comparisons from financial statements can sometimes be misleading. Different accounting practices and company situations can cause published data to lack 100% comparability. Comparability can only be achieved when the analysis is driven to the core process level. Throughout the Benchmarking process, we will constantly be sifting through data from different companies to identify “Best Practices”. An example of how a Benchmarking study can use competitive analysis to identify Selling, General and Administrative (SG&A) expenses as a key gap. This information can be obtained from public sources and can become the first step in assessing which area to Benchmark. Since process performance is masked at the SG&A level, then it will be necessary for us to analyze performance by breaking the area down into its functional components of accounting, finance, information systems, legal, marketing, sales, etc. From functions we begin to identify common activities. Eventually we drive down to the individual products and services of an organization. It is at this level that meaningful process differences can be identified and changes implemented. It is at this level that you can measure the efficiency of producing a paycheck or paycheck quality as defined in terms of timelines and accuracy. Benchmarking Helps You Size Your Staff Many use Benchmarking in connection with downsizing efforts instead of process improvement. “Percentage” cuts (“Let’s take 25% out”) frequently do not have the focus and do not improve underlying processes. “Cut the fat” becomes “cut to the bone” in some cases. Benchmarking can help tailor the sizing of an organization to its workload in order to maintain the quality of its products and services. You can use Benchmarking to substitute small organizational adjustments for big cuts. By providing a continual process of fine tuning, you may eliminate the need for large scale layoffs and promote organizational stability. Benchmarking Keeps You Competitive Global competitive pressures are forging new relationships among organizations. The increasingly intense competition from imports, initially based on low wage rates, has moved to include the quality arena. Without comparative information, companies in many industries will fall behind as the upstarts and foreign concerns erode market share and profitability. Today we hear those falling behind competitively blaming their market losses on “structural advantages” which is one way of saying “I can’t do anything about it.” If that were the case, Wal-Mart would not have challenged Sears in the retail field and Compaq would not have challenged IBM. If today’s leaders continually improve themselves, they will be able to sustain their competitive advantage. The competitive threat is real. It is a war without tanks or troops. U.S. companies will compete in the global marketplace on quality and price. Accounting professionals are on the front lines. They will play roles in data gathering, analysis, and interpretation. They will also be challenged to improve their own operations. The message of Benchmarking is linked to the message of quality and cost. Over time, tomorrow’s leaders will redefine the dimensions of quality and cost. Figure 1-2 shows how, it will be necessary for us to determine competitive leadership and implement the practices that will keep our organizations competitive. This process of measuring our performance is continual, not just a one shot effort. The chart shows performance today and the future direction of change for a group of competitors. As we see, leadership is defined as having the highest quality at the lowest cost. For most, this improvement will be achieved and leadership maintained. Others will get left behind or will actually slip. Benchmarking promotes an understanding of competitive standing and provides responses to maintain leadership. Benchmarking Links Corporate Performance to Customer Needs Benchmarking studies begin with the customer to define the needs for improvements to productivity, quality and cycle time. There are two classes of customers. First, corporations look at the needs of external customers. From this assessment, customer needs drive changes to products and services. Secondly, corporations have defined customers of internal products and services. Internal services now have customers, prices, and multiple sources. Internal suppliers get the same feedback from their customers as does the corporation to improve its products and services. Hhow we measure an organization’s processes and the relationship these processes have with customers. Through Benchmarking, it is possible to define gaps in the products and services provided as well as approaches which will redefine customer supplier relationship. Benchmarking Promotes Total Quality Management (TQM) Quality means “doing it right the first time and every time after that.” It also means using the best processes to get the job done. Finally, it is a cultural commitment to constant improvement. Benchmarking, as a tool, supports organizational efforts for continuous improvement. Many organizations use Benchmarking as a tool to generate findings leading to process improvement. For organizations with established TQM programs it is important to understand the relationship between the tools. Benchmarking studies can be performed as either stand alone studies or integrated within the TQM methodologies. Benchmarking supports the quality efforts of companies in at least six different ways by: * providing an adequate environment for organizational change through continuous improvement and “Best-In-Class” practices and results; * creating objective measures of performance which is driven by “Best-In-Class” targets instead of past performance; * supporting Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria (see Chapter 6); * providing a customer/external focus; * substantiating the need for improvement; and * establishing data-driven decision making processes. You will find that successful Benchmarking efforts are linked to the strategy of the corporation. Benchmarking programs recommend changes that impact productivity and quality. Linkage to strategy is an important element to the puzzle since it will be necessary to coordinate efforts to generate a singular corporate direction. Benchmarking efforts that do not lead to change have no value. BENCHMARKING IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS Becoming one of tomorrow’s leaders requires a long term commitment to improvement. Companies are constantly seeking higher and higher levels of performance. However, as organizations improve, competitors continue to redefine the term “Best”. A Benchmarking program can fit into and feed annual organizational planning and budgeting cycles. The results of Benchmarking can be used as a guide for developing short term plans in the organization and therefore prioritize the issues facing the organization. Executives can then make more informed decisions based on the best opportunities. As we discussed, one objective of Benchmarking is to achieve a real breakthrough in performance. Through the identification of practices that contribute to improvements in efficiency as well as quality, it is possible to leap ahead of the competition and establish a new standard of performance. WHY BENCHMARKING IS IMPORTANT TO ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL MANAGERS Benchmarking is one of the tools that will enable accountants and other financial professionals to measure and identify performance gaps. Understanding the gaps enables management to better control the performance of the organization. This can provide a competitive edge over organizations that do not know how to find gaps and the resulting opportunities for improvement. There is a constant demand on accountants to decrease cost and improve the quality of their services. Corporations often view accounting as overhead and move to minimize its expenses. Benchmarking can help management to achieve true reductions in cost while improving the quality of accounting services. Accountants are also uniquely qualified to lead or participate in a Benchmarking program for the following reasons: * They regularly use analysis techniques. * They are accustomed to objective, quantifiable measures. * Accounting is often the language of business. Benchmarking provides accounting and financial management with the information to make more confident decisions on such issues as: * Staffing & Skill Mix. * Compensation Techniques. * Systems & Software Purchases. * Training. * Work Expectations. Benchmarking accounting and finance is similar to Benchmarking other areas. Each process is first looked at from a high level, then we will look at the smaller parts, which are each analyzed separately. Companies align their organizations to suit their business needs. The challenge for the Benchmarker is to build a common basis for comparisons. The basic structure used to define comparability between accounting and financial organizations. To benchmark a whole area, accounting, would be meaningless. Simply lining up the size of the two organizations would not consider business differences (e.g., company size, industry, etc.). Therefore, the analysis is performed at the next level. A process flowchart lays out all the functions of accounting. The table shows five; in reality there will be more. At that point, it will be possible to align the various common products and services of each organization and measurement can begin. The table shows some examples of typical measures. OVERCOMING RESISTANCE TO BENCHMARKING EFFORTS You will find that traditional barriers between departments and organizations tend to inhibit free flowing discussions about performance. Appraisal systems in the past have had the effect of punishing performance instead of providing incentives for higher levels of excellence. Territoriality has been difficult for most organizations to overcome. Your plans for Benchmarking should meet this challenge. In order to build acceptance for the process, organizations have adopted philosophies that promote cooperation. In the following chapters we will discuss: * clearly communicating the mission for the efforts; * providing tools for improved performance when improvement is identified; * developing wide participation in Benchmarking efforts to overcome the “not invented here” syndrome; and * training to develop a true understanding of the process. We look to Benchmarking as a means to identify opportunities throughout the organization. Organizations should be prepared to develop processes that incorporate participation across traditional boundaries. HISTORY OF BENCHMARKING To sell the idea of Benchmarking to those resisting, it’s useful to turn to history. As you will see, Benchmarking is not really new. In business life, companies have gone to great extremes to find out where they stand competitively. The whole field of financial analysis has focused on determining the relative standing, and response, to competitor actions. Benchmarking, however, is not the old style competitive analysis that companies have done in the past. One story which continues to circulate relates to one company who would fly a helicopter over a competitor’s plant to count the cars in the parking lot and measure the size of the building. You will find benchmarking analysis far more effective than any estimates gained from competitive sources. Today’s Benchmarking activities are performed in the open with all parties directly involved. Clearly, this shift did not happen overnight. Traditional barriers among companies had to come down and the success of cooperation had to be demonstrated. Leaders like W. Edwards Deming set the stage for this new cooperation. In addition, formal processes like the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the Deming Prize promote the acceptance of shared performance. The Benchmarking activities we will discuss in this book play a major role in winning those awards. With increasing numbers of companies participating, the number of Benchmarking studies is growing rapidly. By the early 1980’s, companies like Ford and Xerox were in financial trouble. Lack of progress in their basic product lines, coupled with lower cost products in the marketplace almost destroyed the two former giants in their industries. Both rushed to improve quality as quickly as possible. Ford began its efforts following the continuous process improvement philosophy known as Kaizen. Ford’s measurement efforts led to breakthrough findings using the process that today has developed into Benchmarking. FORD COMPARES ITSELF TO MAZDA Background One of the earliest process improvement efforts began in 1980. A Ford Motor Company team visited Mazda, in Japan (a company in which Ford has a 25% interest). Their mission was to make an in-depth analysis of processes. Ford measured dozens of processes, and found that its accounts payable department had nearly 500 people in the United States while Mazda had only nine. A gap like this was just too hard to ignore. This initial measure was only the beginning of Ford’s research because it was not possible to unilaterally revise the number of employees. The work load was just too great and by merely cutting back, work would not get done and suppliers would not get paid! Therefore, the underlying processes needed to be changed. From this very basic performance indicator, Ford began its search for the processes that would eliminate work that did not add value. As a first step, Ford identified further Benchmarks impacting accounts payable performance which assisted them in identifying three important business differences: Billing Training * Ford had more suppliers than Mazda. * Ford captured and matched more data elements on each payment transaction. * Ford’s payments were triggered by invoices from its suppliers - Mazda’s processes did not. The differences that these measures suggested led the Ford team to look further at process differences and potential opportunities. This objective was to not only meet the competition, but to generate ideas to exceed competitor performance. A few of the areas that they considered included: * Instituting a supplier review. * Re-engineering the requisitioning, receiving, and payment processes. * Automating the information flow between Ford and its suppliers. The timing of these efforts was critical. Ford, in the early 1980’s, suffered from diminishing market share and was almost on the verge of financial crisis. The organization accepted the concept that radical change was necessary for survival. What Ford Did in Accounting, Purchasing, and Material Handling The first thing that Ford did not do is automatically automate poor operating practices. The team realized that the impact of automation alone would not account for the productivity difference. Mazda did not have more automation than Ford. Ford realized that additional research would more fully explain the differences. The Ford team looked into the whole process of requisitioning, receiving, and disbursements. They mapped out the basic business processes and found that Mazda was missing some steps. Japanese companies did not invoice each other! -- instead they paid when they received the goods. In the United States, the practice of invoicing has developed over several generations. Originally, it was considered a prompt for payment of late accounts. After a number of years, it has now developed into a routine and required document. They realized that eliminating invoices was not a practice that would be readily accepted by their vendors. Typical accounting controls in the United States require an adequate audit trail of events leading to the payment of a supplier. In the West, invoicing creates several tasks within accounting: * Someone has to prepare it. * Someone has to receive and route it. * Invoices require filing and storage. Second, the invoice must be reconciled to all the other documents: * Purchased quantities can differ. * Pricing may be inconsistent. * Τerms may vary. Finally, since there is always a follow-up step, Ford found that employees did not always strive to maintain simple or consistent terms. * They formulated various terms and conditions. * Suppliers misinterpreted terms. * Inconsistent business practices in the purchasing and material handling activities, with respect to pricing and receiving disciplines, required resolution in the accounting activities. Mechanically, Ford did not have a problem eliminating invoices, but it had to change its basic processes with its suppliers. Ford decided on a program of: * Redefining the terms of the relationship to move away from the need to invoice on a regular basis. * Standardize payment terms on a total supplier basis, rather than by individual purchase order. * Communicating with suppliers to assure them that sufficient controls continued to exist. * Instituting disciplined receiving practices for inventory and payment control purposes. * Ensuring that all the terms and conditions were on the purchase order and understandable by all parties. Ford modified the purchase terms with its suppliers. The usual “30-45 day payment upon shipment or receipt” was changed to “all bills paid at a fixed time based on the FOB term” (ownership transfer point). The result of these terms is to substitute, in writing, the same principles that Mazda used to pay its vendors. A built in payment delay assured that neither party would suffer or benefit from changing to the new process. Figure 1-5 visually describes this relationship. After changing terms, Ford communicated to its suppliers’ accounting professionals that this change did not threaten the integrity of their accounting, but instead improved the efficiency of the operations. Some basic vendor changes were also required: * Basic information was required on the shipping document - P.O. #, quantities,etc. * Over-shipments and under-shipments would be required to be settled indepen-dently as close to the time of payment for the shipment involved. * Vendors would electronically provide advance shipment notice so that the receiving location had information regarding material in transit to their plant. What They Did In Operations Ford reduced the number of vendors by about 60-70%. This reduction resulted in closer working relations with each supplier and increased focus on an overall relationship which included the price, the quality of the product, and all the other factors that promote an effective relationship (delivery, availability, documentation, etc.). How It Impacted Purchasing In the “new” invoiceless environment, the purchase order becomes more important because it dictates the purchase price to be paid and the terms. The lack of a follow-up procedure means that the P.O. would have to be written with 100% accuracy or the wrong amount would be paid. The purchasing agents now own the whole process. What About Automation? Having worked out the details of the process, it could now be automated. Ford instituted Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between suppliers and purchasing and receiving. On this basis, automated releasing can be done and tracked from the vendor to delivery dock. Suppliers can also inquire about the status of specific orders and can identify when they will be paid. The invoiceless system can be automated by using fewer data elements at each point of data capture. This cuts down the amount of time it takes to enter a transaction while improving the overall accuracy of the transaction. In a three-way match system, not tied to a specific contract at all times, it is possible to continually make errors in fields, thereby creating reconciliation problems. Results Ford Motor Company found that the results of Benchmarking were not achieved overnight. It has taken them over 10 years of effort to educate the suppliers to change their practices. In fact, changing to two-way matching was really an exercise of changing the environment, not changing internal practices, and has resulted in an 80% reduction in accounts payable staffing requirements. According to the Ford team that worked on the project, today they are as good as Mazda. Is Ford finished? No. Ford realized that there are other ways to improve building on this success, they have begun to explore other areas of improvement. XEROX BENCHMARKS L.L. BEAN Another commonly cited success story is the study that Xerox performed with L. L. Bean (1), a mail order clothing business. That study reviews the organization of the warehouse distribution and logistics function. To L. L. Bean, this is a critical function -- the ability to quickly ship a customer order is of paramount importance. To Xerox, the warehouse/logistics function was an afterthought, behind technology and marketing. In the early 1980’s, when the study was conducted, Xerox was performing poorly. Competition from Japan was fierce and Xerox was faced with financial difficulty if it could not figure out how to compete. Benchmarking was still in its infancy and the concept that you would actually share information was foreign to most companies. Nonetheless, the potential benefits were there if the two would cooperate. The distribution and logistics function was also facing the effects of deterioration and was in need of reorganization. There was potential for the elimination of the bottleneck in the warehouse. Technology was thought to be a key, but there was insufficient data to confirm any of the theories. L. L. Bean was thought to have the best performance, but its function was manual! Xerox’s order filling procedures were Benchmarked against L. L. Bean’s and found to pose the greatest opportunity. Site visits were conducted. Through a series of follow-up interviews and site visits, Xerox determined that L. L. Bean organized its warehouse so that the fast moving inventory (shirts, promotional items, etc.) were located near the loading dock. This minimized the amount of time it took to pick an order and get it loaded on a truck. Additionally, incoming inventory was stored using an automated system for maximizing space more efficiently. Xerox took these findings and implemented them at their warehouses. Its overall order filling efficiency improved and costs were reduced. A LOOK AT RECENT STUDIES Healthcare financial management is rapidly finding itself in the same kind of competition as corporations in the United States. Healthcare is beginning to follow the same patterns of downsizing and reductions that have become common in other “protected” industries in the last ten years. The 1994 Healthcare Accounting and Finance Benchmarking Study: The healthcare accounting and finance study surveyed hospital and non-hospital organizations to gather statistics about key common performance measures. The survey was distributed to 1,000 hospital and non-hospital organizations. Approximately eighty organizations and forty hospitals returned the results for tabulation. The three major areas in this study focus on hospital and non-hospital accounting performance using measures of service cost, operational performance statistics and training costs. The study identified critical gaps and established ranges of expected performance. The purpose of this study was to develop the initial snapshot of measures. Using this data will require a “gap validation” phase to ensure that these statistics are adequate representations of comparable statistics for any individual organization. This study focused on gross measures as a tool for identifying gaps but did not look to explain the underlying causes for the gaps nor identify which processes could be used to close the gaps. General Ledger Hospitals generally have a longer error rate in accounting records than other companies. When comparing the total number of journal vouchers with errors, hospitals demonstrated the ability to record transactions better than commercial companies. The results suggest that if you require correction to more than 2% of your journal vouchers, that a significant gap exists and that you should look for changes to process. Days to Close Books Another benchmark for performance efficiency are the number of days it takes to close the books. Hospitals are slower than non-hospitals with the best organizations closing their books in 3-5 days. A significant driver for most companies is need. Need for the longest is usually defined as support for board meetings. Billing Measures On the surface, one would expect that hospital billing to be quite complex when compared to other industries. As shown in Figure 1-8, one measure is the percentage of effort dedicated to the billing function. Since the staff can vary, looking solely at the statistics will not explain the process differences. As we see, clearly many of the companies dedicated a larger percentage of their employees to billing. Since some of the companies tended to be small, this is not unusual. The results of this survey suggest that companies with more than 1% of the total hospital staff in billing processes should review their staffing and procedures. Billing Salary Cost A second measure of billing performance is a look at the salary cost per transaction. This measure is an indication of the total effort required to produce a bill. As Figure 1-9 shows, hospitals fared favorably against non-hospital organizations in total salary cost per billing transaction. The direct salary cost per bill was higher through the median while the upper range of companies spend a substantially greater amount of salary expense producing bills than the typical hospital. The results suggest that if a hospital is spending more than $5 per bill, that it should review the costs in this area. Billing Cycle Time Cycle time (minimum time to process a patient bill) can also indicate areas for improvement. This measure indicates how fast hospitals get their bills to their patients. Hospitals scored significantly worse than general industry in this measure. A few explanations could be the amount of lag time caused by physician attestations or the time to collect billing documents from different locations within the hospital. Recent Benchmarking studies suggest that there are practices to shorten these times. As Figure 1-10 shows, if the minimum time to process a bill is greater than twenty-four hours, this should be an area of focus. Billing Training In training staff, hospital billing departments generally spend less time in all its departments than do non-healthcare companies. Accounts Payable Accounts payable benchmarking can assist in decisions related to staffing and departmental structure. The areas of cost per transaction and organizational structure became the focus of this area. The first focus was the salary expense per accounts payable transaction. As we see, generally hospitals spend less than commercial companies in their costs per transaction. The results suggest that if a hospital’s costs exceed $3 per accounts payable transaction, they should conduct a further review of the area. Cross Training Another area explored was cross training. Industrial companies tend to have more employees cross trained than hospitals. Hospitals should determine if opportunities to cross train employees can promote effectiveness. AP Supervisor Ratios A second focus of this area was the ratio of staff to supervisors. Staff to supervisor ratio can tell you if an area contains too many supervisors and not enough workers. Staff to supervisor ratio is also influenced by the size of the organization, with small organizations having a lower ratio due to their size. The data suggests that organizations that do not have at least a four to one ratio should review their staffing structure. SUMMARY Benchmarking is a continuous process which can ensure that the most innovative and efficient processes are being adopted throughout the organization. In this chapter, we focused on the importance of Benchmarking and how it can enhance performance measurement and evaluation skills. Many organizations have been adopting Benchmarking techniques in response to competition from home and abroad. These efforts have run in parallel with the Total Quality Management movement. Benchmarking is also impacting accounting and financial areas in the same way it has supported efforts in other areas. Benchmarking is especially important to accounting and financial managers since they are continually pressured to be more cost effective and maintain the highest standard of quality. The best way for Benchmarkers to understand the possibilities of the process is to understand what others have done in the past. The Ford and Xerox examples describe how organizations have approached the process in accounting and non-accounting areas. In addition, it is important to understand the world-wide competitive context that Benchmarking supports.