Our clients are often very busy executives juggling numerous priorities. It is easy to understand why they would be tempted to just use our benchmarks as targets. “You are the experts,” a senior executive told us one time, “why shouldn’t we just trust what you say and move on?” We all want to find the quickest, most efficient way to tackle difficult tasks. But with something as critical as changes to staffing, it is even more important to get it right. In order to get it right, it is critical to remember your differences.
Why Benchmarks=Targets Is A Bad Idea
Nearly every client we work with starts an engagement with a long explanation about how they are different. We listen to what they have to say, make note of these differences, and then tell them two things:
Everyone tells us that they are different, Everyone is correct
Even the ways that sites think of themselves as different vary significantly. Key differences might relate to technology, regulation, operating environment, ownership or other topics. Benchmarks simply reflect how others do business, and they do not take all of these differences into account. Even though we develop benchmarks using the most similar plants, this can only take you so far. But there is still tremendous value and time-savings when you use benchmarks correctly.
Use Benchmarks To Find Low Hanging Fruit
The most powerful way to use benchmarks is to help you identify significant outliers. Once you identify your outliers, you can dig deeper into those specific functional areas. Our clients are often surprised by the areas where significant differences are identified. Once you know where you are significantly different, you can use that information to try to understand why. In some cases, there is an explanation that makes sense and cannot be changed. But when a difference cannot be explained, then changes such as process adjustments or workforce planning should be considered.
How Goodnight Consulting Can Help
Goodnight Consulting has supported the power industry since 2001. We have deep experience developing benchmarks for clients. When we develop benchmarks for our clients, we help them by providing context and suggesting next steps. If you would like to learn more about “where you stand” please contact us for more information.