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The programme explained - Tools

Goal of the international benchmarking exercise is to assist drinking water- and wastewater utilities in their continuous efforts to improve their services by benchmarking. Participation in one of EBCs' programmes is beneficial for three main reasons: First of all, benchmarking offers insight in own performances. Secondly, it provides an overview of performance in comparison to peer utilities. Thirdly it offers access to the knowledge base of all participants.  EBC developed a variety of tools and deliverables to support the participants in these efforts. 

Participation in the programme results in the following deliverables:

Insight: 

  • Orientation & Training workshop 
  • Support in increasing data quality
  • Online data reporting tool 

Overview:

  • A  Company report 
  • A public report  

Knowledge sharing

  • Access to an international Peer network 
  • Online discussion forum
  • Annual benchmarking workshop

What to expect

Orientation & Training workshop

The project is starts with an optional Orientation & Training workshop in April which is used to explain the programme, the benchmarking process, the methodology and how to assure a good data quality. The workshop targets in particular at those who are new to benchmarking.

The online platform 

Participants have access to an online platform which contains a data submission module, a reporting tool and a discussion forum. The data submission module is used to enter all the required information and contains several checks and balances ((waste) waterbalance and cost & revenue models) in order to increase data quality.

In contrast to the annual company reports, the online tool offers access to all historic data. The utility coordinator is able to choose any indicator from the available large database. This makes it possible to customise one’s own analysis. The system offers a straightforward layout making it relatively easy to use. 

The online system offers a wide range of table & graph options. Depending on the selected data, one can choose to present it for instance in a spider diagram, bar chart or point cloud. The latter offers an additional benefit: looking for possible correlations. After plotting two PI’s one can for instance generate a regression line through the data to see if the data is significantly correlated. 

One can also use the graphs to display data of multiple years in order to look for trends in performance. This option could be helpful if a participant is looking for a peer utility who performs well in a specific area in order to support its quest to find best practices. Data availability and visibility of course depends on the period of participation and the chosen degree of transparency.

After the desired graphs and/or tables are customised one can easily export the data to several formats for further use. One can choose among others, to export it to Word in order to create a customised report on for instance Asset management or choose to export it as a PowerPoint in order to use the data for presentations within the benchmarking team or to the management of the utility. Export to Excel, PDF and even MP4 are among the different formats as well.

After the desired graphs and/or tables are customised one can easily export the data to several formats for further use. One can choose among others, to export it to Word in order to create a customised report on for instance Asset management or choose to export it as a PowerPoint in order to use the data for presentations within the benchmarking team or to the management of the utility. Export to Excel, PDF and even MP4 are among the different formats as well.

Screenshot of the data reporting tool

Support in increasing data quality

In order to increase the data quality and check for possible outliers in the data entry, a so-called exception report is provided to participants. The Exception report should be regarded as a complementary service with the objective to enhance data quality. Separate Exception reports are produced for drinking water and wastewater. The Exception report contains those indicators that show a deviation from a stated reference value (for instance the group average or results of previous years). More information about the Exception report can be found here.  

A draft company report is generated to check the first results and perform an additional check on submitted data.

The benchmarking workshop

A benchmarking workshop where utility representatives meet to validate the comparisons, identify performance gaps, discuss possible explanations, share good practices and innovations, network and discuss improvement actions. 
The annual benchmarking workshop is an essential part of the exercise. At this stage, utility management needs to step in, because improving the service requires input from utility staff of different expertise. EBC encourages participating utilities to be represented in the workshop by staff of different backgrounds, like senior management, process managers, experts and benchmarking coordinators. Participation of 3 delegates per utility is included in the participation fee.

The Company report 

A confidential, final company report in which, for selected key performance indicators, utilities are compared with other participants to identify performance gaps. The company report includes an executive summary with key findings, as well as more detailed  comparisons. Furthermore it contains a water balance and a complete cost model.

The Public report 

The Public Report highlights the main results from the annual benchmarking exercise in Western Europe. 45 utilities from 20 countries participated. Key indicators are clustered around the performance areas distinguished within the EBC benchmarking methodology: Coverage, Water quality, Reliability, Service quality, Sustainability and Finance & Efficiency.

The public report shows median values and spreads of some key indicators for both drinking water and wastewater services. For drinking water the report contains indicators like quality of supplied water, mains failures per 100 km, services complaints per connected property, share of water bill, electricity use per m3 water produced, climate footprint per m3 direct revenue drinking water, total cost coverage ratio, average water charges and average mains age. For wastewater indicators like wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) compliance, sewer and connection blockages, share of wastewater bill, WWTP energy consumption, total cost coverage ratio and average charges per connected property are included.

Read more or download the latest version of the Public report: IB2016.

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