Benchmarking: University and Target Organizations

Topics: University, Student society, Benchmarking Pages: 9 (839 words) Published: June 2, 2013
What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is an approach for
departments to measure and compare
themselves with higher-performing
departments with the goal of identifying
work processes, products, services, or
strategies that will lead to improvement.
Benefits of benchmarking

Identify best practices that increase
student satisfaction.

Achieve efficiencies and increase

Helpful during times of budget growth and

Broaden perspectives and overcome
resistance change.

Demonstrate the quality and efficiency of
your programs and services.
Origins of benchmarking

Emerged in 1980s as a survival tool for Xerox.

In 1990, first university benchmark study
conducted by the Council for the Advancement
and Support of Education.

In 1992, the National Association of College and
University Business Officers (NACUBO)
conducted a national benchmark study on
administrative services.

Since 1992, hundreds of schools have
participated in NACUBO’s benchmark studies on
topics ranging from admissions to purchasing.

Today many higher education associations
conduct benchmark studies.
Opportunities for benchmarking in
higher education


process of reviewing of applications


processing transcript requests

Center for Student Involvement

processing the
registration of student organizations

Student Health Services

scheduling doctor appointments

Campus Recreation

signing students up for recreation

Career Services

registering employers in job fairs

Crafts Center

registering students in workshops

Human Resources

processing timesheets and payroll

Transportation Services

arranging for special event
parking services


aided dispatch services

Facilities Design

project design review process
Five steps to benchmarking
1. Planning
2. Identifying target organizations
3. Data collection
4. Analysis
5. Implementation
Step 1. Planning

Limit the study to what is vital to the performance
of your department.

Consider highly
regarded practices or services
that can be made even better.

Look into practices or services that students and
staff regard as “broken”.

intensive, time
consuming processes with
suspected waste

Services or processes that generate dissatisfaction with

Processes that affect other key processes in your
department or other departments.

Processes with poorly defined objectives or frequent
errors requiring corrections.
Prioritizing your benchmarking projects

Potential for improvement in student
satisfaction or staff productivity,

Extent to which the process or service is
Feasibility of re-engineering the service or
Selecting benchmark study team
Involve staff members who are most
familiar with the processes or services.
If processes or services extend to other
departments, involve their staff as well.
Include a staff member who can
successfully recruit the target
organizations to participate in the study.
Step 2. Identifying target organizations
Identify recognized leaders based on:
–awards, conference presentations, articles in
association publications, and leaders in your

Target organizations can be departments:
–internal to the university that perform similar
processes or offer similar services.
–with similar processes or services at other
–outside of higher education with similar
functions, products, or services.
Step 2. Identifying target organizations
To ease the recruiting the process look for
institutions that affiliate with one another in
some manner.
–They still need to be top performers!
Secure their cooperation by:
–Ensuring confidentiality of the results.

Making their participation easy by minimizing
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