What is benchmarking anyway?

In principle, benchmarking refers to a comparison or a standard of comparison. This means that certain objects, processes, methods, products or services are compared with a previously defined benchmark. It is thus an instrument for comparison and analysis.

In detail, this means that the company’s own performance is compared with that of an external company or with other company performance. The yardsticks used for the comparison are also called benchmarks. They are thus the “best practices” that also serve as a guide. The benchmarking process is not a one-time process, but a continuous analysis.

What is the difference between benchmark and benchmarking?

The difference is quite simple. While benchmarking describes the process of analysis, a benchmark is the standard of comparison. This means that a benchmark is the object, performance, process or method to which you compare your own object, performance, etc. So, in order to be able to perform the complete process, you need to establish a benchmark that serves as your object of comparison.

What types of benchmarking are there?

Roughly speaking, a distinction is made between internal and external benchmarking. This means that internal benchmarking compares processes, services, products, etc. within a company. External benchmarking, on the other hand, is about comparing one’s own company with other companies. External benchmarking can take place in different ways:

Where are benchmarks used?

What are the phases of a benchmark comparison?

According to Michael J. Spendolini, there are five phases or steps of benchmarking.

  1. Determine what to benchmark.
    Hier legst Du fest, welche Objekte oder Prozesse genau analysiert werden sollen.
  2. Form a benchmarking team.
    Das Team, das Teil des Benchmarking Prozesses ist, besteht aus mehreren Personen (meist ein Projektleiter + X). Diese sammeln die Daten und analysieren sie.
  3. Identifying Benchmark Partners.
    Mit Partner sind Unternehmen, Abteilungen, etc. gemeint, die Du als Vergleichsmaßstab für Deine Leistungen, Prozesse oder Produkte hernehmen kannst.
  4. Collecting and Analyzing Benchmarking Information.
    In diesem Schritt werden alle Daten gesammelt und analysiert. Das kannst Du mit Hilfe verschiedener Techniken wie einer SWOT-Analyse, Balanced Score Card, etc. tun. Im Anschluss werden die Daten zur Leistungsmessung aufbereitet und verwendet.
  5. Taking Action.
    In der letzten Phase stehen die Anpassungen und Verbesserungen an. Dabei optimierst Du die Punkte, bei denen Du während der Datenerhebung Potenzial gefunden hast. Den Fortschritt Deiner Anpassungen verfolgst Du am besten mit einem Soll- / Ist-Vergleich.
  1. Determine what to benchmark.
    Here you determine exactly which objects or processes are to be analyzed.
  2. Form a benchmarking team.
    The team that is part of the benchmarking process consists of several people (usually a project manager + X). They collect the data and analyze it.
  3. Identifying Benchmark Partners.
    By partners you mean companies, departments, etc. that you can use as benchmarks for your performance, processes or products.
  4. Collecting and Analyzing Benchmarking Information.
    In this step all data is collected and analyzed. You can do this using various techniques such as a SWOT analysis, Balanced Score Card, etc.. Then the data is processed and used to measure performance.
  5. Taking Action.
    In the last phase, adjustments and improvements are made. You optimize the points where you found potential during the data collection. The best way to track the progress of your adjustments is with a target/actual comparison.

In this cycle you can see the benchmarking process again visually:

The benchmarking cycle starts with planning, continues with data collection, then with data analysis, development of measures and their control. Once all these steps have been completed, final adjustments are made before the cycle starts again from the beginning.
The benchmarking cycle

Here, too, the cycle always starts with planning and ends with adjustments. However, “end” is not quite the correct term, as benchmarking is a continuous process that always starts again from the beginning.

What are the goals of a benchmark?

The primary goal of a benchmark is, of course, the continuous optimization of one’s own processes, services, products, etc.. In addition, the whole thing serves a kind of quality management. Through the internal and external comparisons, you receive a status quo of your object as an actual value and the target value of the comparison object. So you can see which potential can be exploited and where you should improve.

The goals of benchmarking can be the following:

Reveal optimization potentials
Stimulate innovation processes
Optimize product development processes
Identify savings potentials
Quality management
Increase (marketing) efficiency

Benchmark and SEO

It is helpful to continuously analyze your website in order to be successful and visible on the web. Looking at best practices in the market will also help you. What works better here? Where can you optimize your own site? With the help of benchmarking, you will find out just that and thus manage to improve your site. This in turn helps you to generate more visits and can have a positive influence on your ranking.


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