Have you ever tried searching online to find some data to benchmark your supply chain performance? If you have, I’ll wager you had little luck and a lot of frustration.
After all, when you’re hungry for knowledge, Google is your best friend, right?…
Well, not always! While it’s true in many cases, there are exceptions—like when you’re searching for supply chain benchmarking data.
Before you blame Google for your fruitless search though, stop for a moment and consider what you’re asking the poor, overworked search engine to dig up for you.
What Do You Get When You Google Online Supply Chain Benchmarks?
When I Googled the key phrase “online supply chain benchmarks” I was gratified by the results returned by my search. But that was because the first two organic search results on page-one comprised benchmarking service pages from Benchmarking Success and its parent company, Logistics Bureau.
When you Google “online supply chain benchmarks” the chances are you’ll see the same, along with a multitude of other results ranging from companies specialising in benchmarking, to informative guides about benchmarking strategy and processes.
What you won’t find though, is a single resource that provides any actual supply chain benchmarking data—and here are the reasons why.
Benchmarking Data is Intellectual Property
One of the biggest challenges in supply chain benchmarking is obtaining appropriate data from peer organisations… and especially from competitors.
The reason you won’t find any benchmarks in the public domain is because the data constitutes intellectual property which companies don’t (as a rule) make freely available.
This apparent close-fistedness with performance data is pretty understandable when you think about it. For one thing, most companies have performance weaknesses of one kind or another, which is not something they want divulged to existing and possible future customers.
Secondly, no company wants to make it easy for competitors to see those weaknesses, or even to become aware of important strengths. Of course, these are just the sort of things that supply chain benchmarking sets out to expose, but that doesn’t mean organisations will publish performance data for anyone to see.
Online Benchmarks are Available, But…
As already mentioned, companies don’t release their valuable supply chain performance data for free—at least, not to anyone who asks for it and certainly not for display in the public domain. However, you can access online supply chain benchmarks, but you have to be willing to turn over some hard currency to do so.
Online supply chain benchmarks are sold by companies like Benchmarking Success. The process usually works something like this:
1) Your company signs up for an online benchmarking service, and pays a fee to become a client. Payment models vary, so you may pay a fixed fee based on a certain service or package or you may be billed on a subscription basis.
2) Next, your company provides the benchmarking service provider with supply chain performance data, which is input into the service provider’s database. The service provider commits to holding the data securely and to ensure that it will not be associated with your company when shared with other subscribers.
3) Your company then receives a benchmarking report, comparing its supply chain performance with that of a group of “peer companies” sharing similar supply chain characteristics. Peer companies are typically in the same industry as the client company, but exceptions exist in some cases.
Keeping Your IP Protected
Company identities are not revealed in the reports that benchmarking-providers release to clients. As a client company, you will be given information about the peer group’s supply chain characteristics and industries, but will not be party to any data revealing the performance statistics of a single participating company.
You may be provided with a list of the companies against which your performance is benchmarked but again, will not receive any information regarding the performance of each company. Your own company’s identity will be similarly protected.
It’s OK to Put Google to Work
If you’ve been wondering why your online search for supply chain benchmarks has been fruitless, you need wonder no more—but don’t let that stop you from putting Google to work.
All you need to do is Google “online supply chain benchmarks” and you’ll find plenty of service providers that can help you compare performance against a range of similar supply chain operators.
Better still, you can save yourself the effort of searching… Just visit our service pages and you’ll find details of our comprehensive benchmarking services, as well as a link to our realistically priced “instant” downloadable KPI reports.