Anyone who ever experienced a benchmarking exercise knows that benchmarking is a tool, rather than a goal on itself. Many organisations have studied benchmarking and various models exist. All models underline that benchmarking is not a single action but a continuous, cyclical process supported by structured data collection and data analysis.
EBC's benchmarking programme is fully aligned with the IWA/AWWA-benchmarking framework, that distinguishes between performance assessment and performance improvement.
Performance assessment according to EBC:
- Compliance to IWA's Performance Indicator System as much as possible
- Distinction between input variables (V’s), context information (CI’s) and performance indicators (PI’s)
- Clear definition of every PI which enables standardisation
- Number of additional, EBC-specific PI’s to accommodate demands of participating utilities.
In this way, for each performance area one can determine the “performance gap” between an individual utility and the best performers.
Performance improvement according to EBC:
- EBC offers a platform for representatives of the participating utilities.
- Participants meet in a 2-day workshop to discuss the results of the performance assessment stage and good practices.
- Individual Performance Improvement Plans are developed to determine alternative solutions for improvement actions and to set priorities.
After implementing actions and evaluating effects, the benchmarking cycle starts all over.