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Bench Marking Framework Feb04

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Edith Cowan University A BENCHMARKING FRAMEWORK Guidelines for Faculties and Centres Version: Feb 2004 CONTENTS PAGE Introduction................................................................................................................................................1 Best Practice ..............................................................................................................................................1 2.1 Benchmarking................................................
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    Edith Cowan UniversityA BENCHMARKING FRAMEWORK  Guidelines for Faculties and Centres Version: Feb 2004  CONTENTS PAGE Introduction................................................................................................................................................1Best Practice ..............................................................................................................................................12.1 Benchmarking..................................................................................................................................12.2 Types of Benchmarking...................................................................................................................2ECU's Approach to Benchmarking............................................................................................................4Key Steps in Benchmarking - How to Get Started....................................................................................51.Benchmarking Related Issues.................................................................................................................85.1 Comparators.....................................................................................................................................85.2 Priorities...........................................................................................................................................85.3 Resources.........................................................................................................................................85.4 Memorandum of Agreement............................................................................................................8Common Mistakes in Benchmarking.........................................................................................................9Benchmarking Experience at ECU ...........................................................................................................9Conclusion...............................................................................................................................................10References ...............................................................................................................................................11Appendix 1: Summary of Key Outcomes from ACU Benchmarking Workshops..................................12Appendix 2: Current Benchmarking Experience at ECU........................................................................15Appendix 3: List of Universities for Benchmarking................................................................................26Appendix 4: AQC Benchmarking Code of Conduct...............................................................................29Appendix 5: Key Performance Indicators................................................................................................30 Version: Feb 2004  A BENCHMARKING FRAMEWORK - Guidelines for Faculties andCentres (Edith Cowan University) Introduction Benchmarking at ECU commenced a number of years ago on an informal basis. A growingappreciation of an increased need for meaningful benchmarked indicators and performanceinformation resulted in the development of “A Benchmarking Framework: OngoingDevelopment”.The Benchmarking Framework was presented to the Quality and Audit Committee (November 2002), Council (December 2002), and VCP&MG (July 2003). Outcomes from the meetingswere firstly recognition of the need for this document to be disseminated within the Universityas a discussion paper and secondly to engage the University community in benchmarkingactivities. Copies of the document were distributed to senior executive management andAssociate Deans. Information seminars provided to Centre Directors and senior managerssought discussion on, and feedback to, a benchmarking framework.The resulting document has been developed taking cognisance of input from staff andprovides an overview of the progress made by ECU in its approach to the ongoingdevelopment of a Benchmarking Framework. It has been developed primarily for Facultiesand Centres as a means to: provide benchmarking advice and assistance; guide them indetermining benchmarking priorities and what should be benchmarked; and to provide anoverview of benchmarking activities and comparator institutions within the University. Best Practice In 1991 the Federal Government established the Australian Best Practice DemonstrationProgram as a means of encouraging the adoption of international best practice to improveindustry’s position against overseas competition. Best Practice was defined as:“a comprehensive, integrated and cooperative approach to the continuous improvement of allfacets of an organisation’s operations. It is the way leading edge companies manage their organisations to deliver world class standards of performance.” (Prescott 1993 p 2)As a result of the early work in Best Practice a number of principles emerged, one of whichwas “The use of performance measurement systems and benchmarking”. 2.1 Benchmarking Prescott (1993 p6) stated: “Benchmarking which is an objective, ongoing search for bestpractices and processes, is an essential tool for organisations committed to achieving worldclass standards of performance”. He also states “those organisations which mostsuccessfully use benchmarking have a systematic process which is integrated with other initiatives to improve competitiveness”. Version: Feb 2004 - 1 -  Essential features of such a process include: − Involving employees at all levels; − Identifying, understanding and benchmarking key business processes; − Selecting suitable partners – not necessarily in the same industry, and − Carefully adapting identified best practices or approaches into the organisation”.The Australian Quality Council (AQC 2001) definition complements this approach: “Abusiness excellence tool for finding, adapting and implementing outstanding practices in order to achieve superior performance”.In relation to the application of Benchmarking in Universities Meade (1998 p1) states:“Benchmarking may be seen as especially relevant to higher education, since the notion of exchanging ideas through collegial contact is integral to academic work”.The crux of benchmarking is ‘choosing what you want to benchmark, and then finding thebest practice against which to compare it’. (Macneil et al 1994 p159). 2.2 Types of Benchmarking Three types of benchmarking are distinguished in the literature: − Internal benchmarking  which involves benchmarking between variousdepartments / sections within an organisation; − Competitive benchmarking  which involves benchmarking between enterprises inthe same product market. Faculties at ECU have identified the need to benchmarkagainst competitor universities, particularly in regard to the benchmarking of financials; − Industry benchmarking, in which the benchmarking partner is not a competitor,and is part of the same industry.The AQC (2001) defines benchmarking as outcome or process focussed. These are further defined as: ã Outcome Benchmarking examines high level aggregate measures of performance. Usually starts with the identification and definition of these measuresand often uses ratios. Compares performance on a specific characteristic or set of characteristics. Provides little or no insight into the reasons for the differences inperformance and does not indicate how to achieve the identified higher performance – further analysis is usually required. (AQC 2001). ã Process Benchmarking aims to examine, compare and improve performance of processes used in operations. Usually examines process flow, efficiency, Version: Feb 2004 - 2 -
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