15.10.08

Benchmarking Literature (Part 2)

Benchmarking in Construction Industry

In drive for improvement, technique from other industry, other organization in the construction domain and from previous projects may well fit for use in the construction industry. With the publication of Latham report (1994), more pressure was put into the industry to produce their own benchmarking model and benchmark with the best in the industry. Garnett & Pickrell (2000) suggested that benchmarking is a tool for investigating and managing change in construction project. Benchmarking is also important in a project based activities such as dust management and live retail project (Pickrell and Leverson, 1998). Benchmarking is also use to improve construction quality and productivity (Garnett & Pickrell, 2000).

Granett & Pickrell (2000) also proposed the Reading Benchmarking Model which comprise 7-steps; the need of change, decision to benchmark, identify what to benchmark, design benchmark study, data collection and analysis, implementation and feedback. Lau and Lau (2005) introduced intelligence benchmarking assessment system for vendor performance assessment in construction industry. The system incorporates with computational intelligence technology into the traditional partner selection process. The market and organizational structure of the construction industry is highly fragmented and diverse. The industry also occupied a large number of medium and small – sized firms in the highly competitive environment. It organize and linked hierarchically together by contract highly restricted term and condition. Although, ramification of construction industry is rarely been understood, benchmarking is still and important tools to increase productivity, quality and as an agent of change for business process re-engineering. Benchmarking practice has been proposed in the previous research to improve construction productivity (Mohamed, 1996) and to identify critical success factors for design-build projects in the construction industry (Lam et. al, 2004).

Benchmarking can be used to improve the overall process of total quality management for a UK construction organization (Sommerville & Robertson, 2000). According to Garnett & Pickrell (2000), benchmarking is also used as a tool to investigate and manage changes on construction projects. Benchmarking process in construction industry is also important to study the issues in particular country. Zwikael & Globerson (2006) has analyse the quality of project planning for selected industries in Israel using benchmarking strategies, to improve contractor selection for construction projects in Hong Kong (Palaneeswaran & Kumaraswamy, 2000) and to evaluate construction safety management in China (Fang et. al, 2004). Ramirez et. al (2004) has published a paper on incorporating quality management aspect in addition to performance indication in construction project. Constructing Excellence in the UK produced Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for construction industry to benchmark their performance against the best in the industry.Benchmarking is a also suggested as powerful tool in investigating and managing change in construction project (Garnett and Pickrell, 2000). A study on benchmarking in construction is not only on project based but also includes dust management on live retail project and strategic and operational business improvement with SME (Pickrell and Leveson, 1998)

Problem that hindrance Benchmarking in Construction Industry

Construction is a project based industry with various locations (Baden and Baden, 1993) and no two projects are the same. This hinders team building, learning from experience and feedback. Additionally, a common misconception is that this perceived industry fragmentation directly hinders the use of process techniques and the ability to compare process or sub-process with other organization or industry. D’Arcy (1994) reported that the inability to identify best practices, together with difficulty in measuring process, also contributed to unwillingness to adopt benchmarking. Few good examples of benchmarking exist in construction industry and the result focus and difficult to emulate. This was contributory factor in low uptake of benchmarking in construction (Garnett and Pickrell, 2000)

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