'Water benchmarking of the future'
In 2014 EBC Foundation was selected as an EIP-Water Action Group (AG125). European Innovation Partnerships (EIP's) are initiated and developed by the European Commission under de Innovation Union strategy. The aim of the EIP’s is to promote and support innovation in the European Union by connecting partners in the whole innovation chain.
Aim of the Action Group
Benchmarking is much more than just a performance assessment; it is the key to continuous improvement. However, the step to concrete performance improvement is sometimes difficult. The main aim of the Action Group is to focus on this particular step. It will act as a think-tank to discuss and support the transition from benchmarking as mainly diagnosis and performance evaluation, to a more performance improvement approach. As such it will explore the future of benchmarking in Europe*. The Action Group supports the EIP-Water activities under priority area ‘Decision support systems and monitoring’.
Benchmarking can often be separated in two stages: performance assessment and performance improvement. These two stages are also incorporated in EBC’s annual benchmarking exercise, which consists of seven consecutive steps (step 1 to 4 mainly focus on performance assessment and step 5 and 6 on performance improvement).
However, the feeling exists regarding benchmarking in general, that the performance improvement based on benchmarking results should become more incorporated in daily practices. It could for instance, become part of the normal business cycles. As such it can contribute to the utilities performances in a wider sense, respecting the plan-do-check-act principles of checks and balances in business administration.
The Action Group mainly focusses on this performance improvement stage and possibly leads to extra steps in EBC’s annual benchmarking exercise. It acts as a think-tank to further discuss and develop on how to formalize, facilitate and support the performance improvement stage.
To do so the group meets at least once a year in person.
* During the first two meetings of the Action Group it was stressed that the future of benchmarking is the crucial issue to cover. Therefore also the name of the Action Group was changed from ‘EBCF - European Benchmark Cooperation Foundation’ to ‘Water benchmarking of the future’.
With the status of EIP Water Action Group member, EBC and its partners can use the EIP Water-label in their communications and benefit from a better starting position when applying for external funding of benchmarking activities.