October 24, 2009

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!!

It is rightly said “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Most of the time it happens that one tend to believe, one has a full understanding of a particular topic when in real it doesn’t. When we were given a report to write about Benchmarking, I believed that I have an insight about the topic, but when I along with my team mates sat to research, I realized that there is much more to learn.

Benchmarking, as i thought is simply not comparing the processes and services of one organization to another. But it is a continuous process of improvement through measuring the products, processes and services of one organization against the competitors and the best in class. It has many aspects to it which is very important to learn otherwise all the efforts and costs related to it will overweigh the actual outcome. The first thing I learnt while researching is, it is very important to have the correct data to compare with. Mostly the common belief is, if one want to be successful then one should try to adapt the methods of the successful companies. BUT IT IS NOT!! It is very essential to have the data of the company who couldn’t survive in the market as well. And then the comparison be made between the two!!

Well, you have the correct data but now the question is how you can use it to improve your organization. It is crucial that you have an effective management system to analysis and interpret the data collected so that it can be used fruitfully. Proper training to be given to the employees is one aspect to it because the competitive advantage comes when the workforce is skillful. All companies have the necessary resources, to collect data and carry out the required actions but the difference comes when the people handling the processes are efficient and effective.  

Hence, I got to learn that while carrying out a Benchmarking study, it is very likely, that you get into the trap of selection bias, and end up collecting the wrong data. So even when the organizations are working hard enough, all its efforts go in vain since they have a little knowledge which is a dangerous thing. It is rightly said by Deming that there is no SUBSTITUTE for knowledge and that working hard without knowledge is our downfall.


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