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CHAPTER 4: STEPS OF CUSTOMER-DRIVEN BENCHMARKING AN OVERVIEW OF THE STEPS Chapter 4 sets out a five-step process for customer-driven benchmarking for road maintenance. It provides a detailed description of each step and includes worksheets to help you develop measures, organize your measurement activities, record the results, analyze improvement opportunities and best practices, and implement improvements. The main steps are illustrated in Figure 8. Figure 8. Steps in the Benchmarking Process The five main steps are as follows. 1. Select Partners. The first step involves assembling a benchmarking partnership. Partners are agencies that also desire to improve performance through sharing information. They have the authority to allocate internal resources and make commitments to change internal practices to conform to decisions that are made by 79

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Chapter 4: Steps of Customer-Driven Benchmarking partners and governed by a partnership agreement. The process of selecting partners consists of the following: Determine the partners you will commit to work with for at least 2 years, Determine the organizational level at which you will benchmark, Determine the number of benchmarking units you want, and Develop a benchmarking partnership agreement. 2. Establish Measures. The second involves identifying measures to use for benchmarking that directly relate to the attributes of the products and services that a maintenance organization provides its customers. Instead of thinking about maintenance activities, you will have to reorient your thinking to what the customer is "buying." This second step is composed of the following smaller steps: Identify the role of the customer in the vision and the mission of the maintenance organization, Identify products and services that the customer is buying and the corresponding attributes and maintenance activities, Identify candidate customer-oriented outcome measures that correspond to each attribute, Identify measures for resource usage, Identify measures pertaining to hardship factors, Identify output measures, and Assess the value of using various customer-oriented measures and select the ones you will use. 3. Measure Performance. The third step involves measuring performance and reducing the measurements into summary results that will be used to assess best 80

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performances. This third step is composed of these smaller steps: Plan and schedule measurement activities, Develop a database, Take measurements and record the results, and Share results. 4. Identify Best Performances and Practices. The fourth step involves analyzing best performers to unearth best practices and improvement opportunities. This step is composed of the following activities: Determine best performers, Identify improvement opportunities, Identify best practices of best performers, Document your own practices and best practices, and Determine the value of adopting best practices. 5. Implement and Continuously Improve. The fifth step involves implementing best practices or making other improvements that exceed best practices and then continuing to improve by repeating the benchmarking cycle. This step consists of the following: Identify improvement options, Prepare the organization for improvements, and Implement improvements. Then start the benchmarking cycle again. The remainder of this chapter takes you through each of these steps in detail. 81