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October 2013, Volume 1, Number 5

Stretch the benefits of financial benchmarking

Interest in process benchmarking has surged over the past few years. Today, more companies are measuring process speed, cost efficiency and labor productivity. The focus of a benchmarking project depends on the problems holding a company back. A project might target procurement speed, error rates in order taking, accuracy in work scheduling or the cost of logistics choices -- say, air freight versus rail. Administrative processes such as financial reporting or getting new employees up to speed are also good candidates. The point is to identify activities that can be improved by process streamlining, changes in organizational structure, stronger governance and deployment of IT applications that automate routine transaction processing. Smart companies understand that process benchmarking should have positive effects that ripple across the business, not just improve the functional silo under the microscope. For example, many companies are doing financial benchmarking to improve their processes so they can, in turn, improve ...

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