“Benchmarking is not strategy” - Avinash Bhandari
The last 2 decades in manufacturing and many other industries have been about benchmarking. Every manager trying to replicate the industry best practices. Every manager trying to achieve the efficiencies, productivity, and quality at par with the industry leader. The quest for higher productivity, quality and speed made benchmarking one of the most important OE practices. The problem though is, the more benchmarking companies do, the more they start to look alike. As competitors replicate one another’s improvements in quality, cycle times, or lean efforts, their strategies start to converge, and competitors start to travel an identical path. Benchmarking unintentionally draws competitors towards imitation and homogeneity.
Strategy, in contrast, is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different mix of activities to deliver unique value to the customer.
We understood this early in our growth journey. While we worked very hard to improve our operational effectiveness utilizing every available OE tool, we considered OE and benchmarking as basic hygiene only and not our strategy.