Types of Benchmarking
Process benchmarking - the initiating firm focuses its observation and investigation of business processes with a goal of identifying and observing the best practices from one or more benchmark firms. Activity analysis will be required where the objective is to benchmark cost and efficiency; increasingly applied to back-office processes where outsourcing may be a consideration.
Financial benchmarking - performing a financial analysis and comparing the results in an effort to assess your overall competitiveness.
Performance benchmarking - allows the initiator firm to assess their competitive position by comparing products and services with those of target firms.
Product benchmarking - the process of designing new products or upgrades to current ones. This process can sometimes involve reverse engineering which is taking apart competitors products to find strengths and weaknesses.
Strategic benchmarking - involves observing how others compete. This type is usually not industry specific meaning it is best to look at other industries.
Functional benchmarking - a company will focus its benchmarking on a single function in order to improve the operation of that particular function. Complex functions such as Human Resources, Finance and Accounting and Information and Communication Technology are unlikely to be directly comparable in cost and efficiency terms and may need to be disaggregated into processes to make valid comparison
Implementation in manufacturing
Poka-yoke can be implemented at any step of a manufacturing process where something can go wrong or an error can be made. For example, a jig that holds pieces for processing might be modified to only allow pieces to be held in the correct orientation, or a digital counter might track the number of spot welds on each piece to ensure that the worker executes the correct number of welds.
Shigeo Shingo recognized three types of poka-yoke for detecting and preventing errors in a mass production system:
1. The contact method identifies product defects by testing the product's shape, size, color, or other physical attributes.
2. The fixed-value (or constant number) method alerts the operator if a certain number of movements are not made.
3. The motion-step (or sequence) method determines whether the prescribed steps of the process have been followed.
Either the operator is alerted when a mistake is about to be made, or the poka-yoke device actually prevents the mistake from being made. In Shingo's lexicon, the former implementation would be called a warning poka-yoke, while the latter would be referred to as a control poka-yoke.