Sign & Digital Graphics

October '14

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • October 2014 • 109 bers. Only the practices or processes on which the metrics are based will reveal why. The chart above, derived from the book Benchmarking: The Fundamental Questions (Smith, G., Ritter, D. & Tuggle, W., authors, 1993), helps to understand the differences between the effect of comparison analysis and best practices to benchmarking. The key is mastering how to recog- nize best practices. A best practice is the process of finding and using ideas and strategies from outside your company and industry to improve performance in any given area. Big business has used best practice benchmarking for decades and realized billions in savings and revenues in all areas of business operations and sales. Small business can reap even greater rewards from best practices because, unlike large corporations—which oper- ate like a cargo ship, taking three days to turn and five days to stop—smaller businesses are as nimble as speed boats, which can turn on a dime and make quick course corrections. The benefits of adopting best prac- tices in a small business include: Reduced Costs: Small companies often do not have the deep financial pockets of big business to "re-invent the wheel," but by learning what other companies have successfully done, a small business can save money without testing new ideas. Avoiding Mistakes: Solving busi- ness problems on your own can result in costly trial and error. Learning what others have done can keep your business moving forward. Finding New Ideas: Clutching onto a "Not-Invented-Here" attitude can spell disaster for small business. Learn to bor- row the best from beyond your company. Improved Performance: When your business looks for best practices outside your business, a wonderful thing hap- pens. You raise the bar of performance and set new standards of excellence to propel your company forward. Benchmarking = Open to Change It comes as little surprise that today's marketplace is more global in nature than ever before. For that reason alone, small businesses can ill afford to be inflexible and inwardly focused. Many small busi- ness owners regard their operation as too unique to warrant any comparison across different industries and market segments. But most business analysts dis- agree—noting that companies can learn from the experiences of organizations from a wide range of industries and the comparison enterprises are more willing to share information about themselves with outside businesses that pose no competitive threat to them. After all, new lessons in business effi- ciency, innovation and financial success can be found every day in all types of businesses, right? When Xerox raised benchmarking to an art form and con- sidered it a science, they created the framework upon which most companies today begin their analysis. Xerox established a five-step process to benchmarking: Planning—determine precisely what is to be benchmarked, identify the com- parative companies and the select the data collection methods to be used. Analysis—determine the present- day "gap" in performance or results, and project future performance levels to be attained. Integration—decide how benchmark findings (a.k.a. best practices) will be communicated, taught and/or acquired, Competitive Comparison Analysis Only Benchmarking (Adding Best Practices) Looks at results Looks at the way results were achieved Checks what happened Checks how things are done Always competitive May not involve the competition Tough to uncover information held secret Shared; Information is easier to obtain Conducted independently Conducted in cooperation with others Used to assess the competition Used to achieve improvement goals Goal is industry/market knowledge Goal is process improvement knowledge Focus on company needs Focus on needs of the customer Sign & Digital Graphics MArketPlACe AUGUST 2014 (800) 669-0424 106 • August 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S MARKETPLACE ADA SIGNS ADVERTISING FLAGS BANNER FRAMES Wholesale DIGITAL PRINTER 13 oz Vinyl Banners Full Color 320.965.2297 hems & grommets includes as low per sq ft $.89 as BANNERS BANNERS BANNER STANDS Wholesale to Trade Only F U L L C O L O R V I N Y L B A N N E R S FREE HEMMED EDGES FREE GROMMETS 89 ¢ 89 ¢ /sq.ft. 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