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Chapter 1: Introduction to Benchmarking requirements and procedures. The reason the GASB has added the requirement to depreciate assets or report on their condition is to encourage transportation agencies to preserve existing investment and to avoid the unnecessary costs of deferred maintenance. The GASB believes that failure to maintain transportation assets properly wastes financial resources that otherwise could be expended for more productive purposes, including meeting debt payments. Top managers of transportation agencies are developing strategies to comply with the GASB's public reporting requirements, including customer-driven performance measurement systems. Before getting started on benchmarking, learn what your agency is doing to comply with GASB reporting requirements. Those efforts may produce measures, data, and other information useful for customer-driven benchmarking of maintenance activities. REWARDS AND RECOGNITION Rewards and recognition help an organization realize its potential to continually perform at the best possible level. Management needs to recognize and reward positive changes in performance that are achieved through benchmarking. Recognition and rewards in benchmarking should focus on changes in performance of individual units and work groups rather than on the highest levels of performance achieved. Benchmarking is all about improvement, regardless of the starting point. Individual units and work groups with low levels of performance may have the greatest opportunity for improvement, whereas those units and work groups that have had consistently high levels of performance will likely have less opportunity for improvement. Regardless of the size of the opportunity, improvement is worthy of acknowledgment. For organizational units that have lower levels of performance, it may take significant time for dramatic improvement. If rewards and recognition are based solely on the highest level of performance, then units with lower levels of performance might not be motivated to improve. 24