What Is Generic Benchmarking? (Plus Other Benchmarking Types)

Generic benchmarking is the process of analyzing two companies in different industries and comparing their general business functions. This refers to any type of function or feature that’s common across industries, such as website functionality, hiring practices and administrative processes.

The competitive advantage that enables organizations to adapt, grow, and prosper through change is benchmarking. To determine how and where the organization needs to make changes in order to improve performance, benchmarking is the process of measuring important business metrics and practices and comparing them—within business areas or against a competitor, industry peers, or other companies around the world. Benchmarking can be divided into four categories: internal, external, performance, and practice.

What you need: Participation from one or more organizations is required for custom benchmarking. Additionally, a third party may be required to facilitate data collection. Although this strategy has a lot of potential, it frequently requires a lot of time and effort. This is why businesses work with organizations like APQC, which provides more than 3,300 metrics for evaluating performance across nearly all industries and across the globe.

Although internal performance benchmarking is frequently a good place to start, external benchmarking that looks at both performance and practice offers the greatest benefits. When you look beyond your own desk, department, and business, you have the most impact. Members of APQC can access our Resource Library and Benchmarks on Demand tool to find best practices.

In the end, benchmarking is about having the humility to acknowledge that others are better at something and the wisdom to figure out how to compete with or even outperform them. If you don’t look outside of your own office, department, or business, you’ll never learn that information. According to Peter Drucker, information about what is happening outside of a company is what it needs most in order to make decisions, especially strategic ones. Only outside a business are there results, opportunities, and threats. ”.

Types of Benchmarking

What are the benefits of generic benchmarking?

The fact that generic benchmarking is not competitive is one of its main advantages. A business owner or manager can use generic benchmarking without having to compete with another company for customers. In generic benchmarking, the company that is studied by the organization may operate in a completely different sector. As a result, a company can perform general benchmarking without attempting to win over clients from competing businesses.

Generic benchmarking also has the benefit of providing a broad perspective. When a manager or owner of a business only researches their industry, it may be difficult for them to implement changes. A business leader can gain a fresh perspective and learn about cutting-edge procedures through generic benchmarking that they might not have otherwise encountered.

What is generic benchmarking?

Analyzing and contrasting two businesses from different industries’ general business functions is known as generic benchmarking. Any type of feature or function that is typical across industries, such as website functionality, hiring procedures, and administrative procedures, is referred to here. Any business can perform benchmarking and compare its operations to those of businesses in the majority of other industries.

Are there any drawbacks to generic benchmarking?

Finding the best practices in an industry that is different from your own can be difficult, which is one potential drawback of generic benchmarking. Any new techniques you learn might also be difficult to put into practice because it can take some time to start a successful plan. By designating a committed team to carry out general benchmarking, you can overcome these potential difficulties. It’s a good idea to temporarily delegate this team’s other duties during this project so they can devote all of their attention and resources to analyzing processes in various industries.

Examples of generic benchmarking

Here are two examples of generic benchmarking:

Client check-in process comparison

Concerns about Williamsen Hospital’s outpatient rehabilitation facility have recently been raised. Patients at this facility claim that the check-in process is currently taking longer than usual. To enhance patients’ experiences at the rehabilitation facility, Williamsen Hospital’s director decides to implement generic benchmarking. A few staff members are given the task of comparing the facility’s admission rates to those of a nearby hotel’s check-in procedure. Although they may not seem similar, the two procedures both involve confirming a person’s arrival and transporting them from one location to another.

The hospital staff notices that there are rarely any delays during the hotel check-in process, and guests frequently do not have to wait for assistance. Additionally, they highlight a few of the hotel’s standout features, like the lobby layout, self-check-in kiosks, and the availability of multiple concierges. The hospital staff takes these into account and considers how to add comparable components to the outpatient rehab facility. The staff suggests that at least three people be available to check patients in at the outpatient rehab facility rather than just one, and they also suggest a virtual pre-visit check-in option for returning patients.

Online application process comparison

Home equity loans are one of Steelside Bank’s services available to qualified applicants. Each week, it distributes several hundred applications, but very few recipients actually fill them out and send them back for staff review. The manager of Steelside Banks decides to take part in generic benchmarking to make the loan application process more convenient. The manager accesses an insurance provider’s website to review its online insurance claims procedure. Although the procedures for filing insurance claims and loan applications are very different, both call for a thorough examination of the available evidence.

The manager observes that the steps in the insurance claims process appear to be much more streamlined and effective. He modifies the bank’s loan application procedure based on his observations. He eliminates redundancies in the process so that applicants don’t have to enter the same information more than once and reorders some of the personal information sections so that they have a more logical sequence.

Generic benchmarking compared to other benchmarking types

Here are some additional benchmarking methodologies and how they contrast with general benchmarking:

Internal benchmarking

Large businesses that operate in various physical locations and manage numerous services and products frequently conduct internal benchmarking. In a large company, various departments and teams carry out numerous related tasks and duties. Without uniform standards, some divisions successfully carry out these tasks while others are ineffective.

Internal benchmarking is used by businesses to compare the performance of various divisions and teams. Unlike generic benchmarking, internal benchmarking occurs within the same organization. It works best for businesses that have recently opened offices in new locations and don’t yet have knowledge management systems in place.

Competitive benchmarking

Comparing a company’s performance to that of its rivals is known as competitive benchmarking. For instance, a restaurant manager who wants to increase the effectiveness of his establishment can research the procedures used by other restaurants. Since competitive benchmarking must be done within a company’s specific industry, it differs from generic benchmarking.

Functional benchmarking

Comparing one company’s functional areas to another’s is a process known as functional benchmarking. Departments that concentrate on topics like human resources, finances, and marketing are among these functional areas. Because it concentrates on functional areas rather than overall business processes, functional benchmarking differs from generic benchmarking. This process may entail researching businesses in the same or a different industry.


What are the generic steps to benchmarking?

Benchmarking can be divided into four categories: internal, external, performance, and practice.

What is the difference between functional benchmarking and generic benchmarking?

8 steps in the benchmarking process
  • Select a subject to benchmark. …
  • Decide which organizations or companies you want to benchmark. …
  • Document your current processes. …
  • Collect and analyze data. …
  • Measure your performance against the data you’ve collected. …
  • Create a plan. …
  • Implement the changes. …
  • Repeat the process.

What are the 5 types of benchmarking?

Comparing similar or identical practices across the same or related functions outside of the immediate industry is known as functional benchmarking. Regardless of the industry, generic benchmarking broadly conceptualizes unrelated business processes or functions that can be performed in the same or similar ways.

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