“Benchmarking is the process of identifying, sharing, and using best practices to improve business processes.” Source: American Productivity and Quality Center

"Benchmarking is simply about making comparisons with other organizations and then learning the lessons that those comparisons reveal". Source: The European Benchmarking Code of Conduct

Benchmarking is a planning term used by industries and governments around the world to mean the identification of that which is of the best or of the highest standard.

As practiced, Benchmarking almost always occurs as a collaborative process in which members of the same industry, or participants from different industries, share information. Typically the shared information is about business processes with the intention of identifying excellence and developing an understanding of how excellence is achieved.

Benchmarking addresses the question, “How one can improve by learning from others?” Benchmarking is inexorably tied to concept of best practices, also called business excellence or exemplary practices.

A typical Benchmarking process includes:

  • Identifying the range of practices employed
  • Identifying who is the excellent at what they do
  • Developing an understanding of how they do it
  • Adapting the practice(s) to your own situation and processes

As applied to this Study, the team analyzed energy efficiency program components (design, management, implementation, and evaluation) to identify the set of common or unique best practice characteristics that differentiates more successful programs. Almost as importantly, the study sought to ascertain which features are generally unsuccessful or less productive to reduce repetition of ineffective program elements. Using the results of this analysis, it is hoped that the energy efficiency industry can more easily apply the lessons learned regarding implementation effectiveness and ineffectiveness and create better programs in the future.