Benchmarking has long been recognized as an important business activity. The primary goal of benchmarking is to produce a product or execute a process that is at least as good as the best firms producing similar products or performing similar processes. Important components of benchmarking include: determining what to benchmark, identifying the “best of the best”, collecting internal and external data and data associated with the “the best”, and analyzing how a firm can move from its current capability to that of the best. To date, benchmarking has been considered primarily as a producer/vendor based activity. This paper proposes that in many situations benchmarking should be viewed as a customer/purchaser based activity. The primary benefit of purchaser‐originated benchmarking is that it facilitates the collection of competitor's data and allows the customer to determine directly the product/process requirements desired.
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