Don’t Be Afraid To Work With Your Competition

June 26, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Benchmarking is the practice of identifying companies with the best practices in a particular endeavor. Business managers usually study these companies and discern what makes them better. Subsequently, they plan and implement strategies that close the gap between the company’s performance and their own. Six Sigma Benchmarking is still a relatively new concept. Companies only initiated benchmarking on a wide scale in the early 1990’s, according to “Reference for Business”. That was when the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) and 86 companies established the International Bench-marketing Clearinghouse, which helps companies adopt best practices within or outside their industries.

Bench-marketing Clearinghouse was established to include 86 companies, so completely diverse from the others, but many which had a lot in common and so it began that the companies started exchanging ideas through a partnership. One company would become partners with another company and the two would share ideas. It may sound complicated, but it really is not. It is just a matter of two competitors working together to better their own company. By using the Six Sigma principles, it has proven to be beneficial to both parties.

ESTABLISHING A TEAM. Most benchmarking companies assign people from different functional areas to study best practices from other companies. For example, a manufacturer may send a team comprised of a plant manager, engineer, finance professional and product manager. The partner company does the same. Representatives from both companies then spend time studying each others operations.

Always make sure that you and your partners are exchanging information because, once your company gets successful by using this program, your partner company will likely want to share the information that is making your company successful as well as their own. Not all benchmarking policies are truly legal, so make sure you are not exchanging information outside the lay of the law and make sure you do not endanger the trust of your partner company by using things they might not want you to be aware of.

Be sure to stay in touch with your partner after all of the work has been done. It is true that by using the benchmarking plan of the Six Sigma program is a proven success, it is also important to reach out to other companies who are looking to network with you. Whatever it takes to help with the success of your company, whether it was your idea, or that of another company, it doesn’t matter when it comes to the bottom line.

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