A Strategy to Improve Your Operations

One of the keys to running a successful organization is a continued focus on finding new and better ways to operate. It keeps you sharp, current and does not allow you to rest on your previous successes or accomplishments. This is particularly important in today’s business environment where technology changes so quickly and where information flows freely about the newest product or service offering. What is considered great today may only be mediocre tomorrow.  If you embrace change as normal, seek out what great looks like in your respective industry and view self-reflection as way to get better you probably will find Benchmarking useful.

Benchmarks are measurements for various parts of your operation that establish what good looks like. How do you know if your people are productive or if your sales results or costs are in line?  How do you know if your operation is really as good as you think or as good as it can be?  Benchmarking is one tool you can use to improve your operation if you are fortunate to work in an industry where benchmarks exist or where you can seek out an industry peer group that shares best practices including benchmarks.

At Office Interiors, we participate in two primary sectors, office furniture and office equipment. In both sectors, we have made the effort not only to seek out but to become active participants in peer benchmarking groups, Workplace Alliance, Copier Dealers Association and Pros Elite 100. This strategy has made a huge difference in how we operate. Participation confirmed that in some cases we were actually doing a pretty good job, in others we had to question why we were not as good as we thought we were or could be. Participation has also provided us with the opportunity to meet some of the key leaders in our industries and learn from them. It has enabled us to find out early about “what is next” and focus on those areas of our business where “good” looked better than our results. It challenged us to self-reflect and seek out the ways to get better. The result is that we have not only been able to improve our productivity, but also to deliver higher and more consistent levels quality to our customers.

Benchmarking is only one tool that can make a difference in how you operate your business but I suggest that it can be a very important one you might consider!

Keith Skiffington
Chief Operating Officer
Office Interiors