Benchmarking as Research Methodology

In recent years, many Benchmarking Models have been proposed by scholars in management science including Xerox Rank’s Model (Camp, 1989), McCabe’s Model (McCabe, 2001), NPC Malaysia’s Model (NPC, 2007) and many more in the case of Royal Mail, IBM, Post Office and Coopers & Lybrand (Zairi, 1994).Until to date, there is no specific model has been developed to benchmark contractor’s performance, process and best practice in Industrialized Building System (IBS), as in the case of this study. Nevertheless, recent paper by Lessing et al. (2005) has charted characterizations of industrialized building and developed a scoring system for level of achievement which could possibly be a ground breaking in IBS’s Benchmarking conceptualization. Later paper by Oostra & Johnson (2007) has compiled an early effort to Benchmark IBS’s building concepts and their best practices. The study been conducted by comparing so called ‘best in the world’ IBS projects around the globe (e.g. Sekesui, Wenswonen, Living Solution etc.) using Lessing’s industrialized characterizations and scoring system as parameter of comparison (Lessing et. al (2005). For this study, the research will use very basic but yet established model by Anderson & Pettersen (1996) depicted in Figure 1. Throughout the study, the model will be modified to suit the aim and objectives of the study. Later, it will be proposed as new and specific model to benchmark IBS companies.
The basic contents of the Benchmarking Wheel are:
Select and document the process to be benchmarked
Identify who perform this process best
Observe and analyze how the benchmarking partner performs this process
Analyze the causes for the gap in performance
Implement improvements based on this analysis
The Benchmarking phases, objectives and relevant questions
The objective of this phase is to prepare a plan for Benchmarking
§ What subject to be benchmarked?
§ What is the current status of the subject?
§ What is the best data collection method?
Find (Search)
The primary task in this phase is to search for and identify suitable Benchmarking partner
§ What is the list of criteria?
§ How the candidates will be compared and analyze?
§ How networking will be established?
Collect (Observe)
The objective of the phase is to study the selected Benchmarking partners to understand their process. The data will be collected using designed data collection method.
§ How information and data will be assessed?
§ What are the methods and tools for collecting information and data?
§ How data will be observed and debriefed?
The objectives of this phase are to uncover gaps in performance, the root cause of the gaps and the enabler that particularly contribute the gaps
§ How the data will be sort and normalized?
§ What are the performance gaps
§ What are the cause and the enabler of the gaps?
Improve (Adapt)
The objective of this phase is to create a positive change and improvement in both benchmarking partner and proposed constructive recommendations in order to gain superior performance
§ What are the recommendations to close gaps and attain superior performance?
§ How the findings will be communicated across the organization?
§ What the implementation plan to improve?
Recycle (Continues improvement trough Benchmarking)
The objective of recycle of phase in wheel is attain continues improvement trough Benchmarking
§ How the benchmarking recommendations will be calibrate?
§ How implementation plan matured and evolve into best practices?

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