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Why Benchmark?

Do you really know how well your plant or business is performing?  Are you achieving manufacturing excellence and world-class performance?  Benchmarking your performance against others provides confirmation that your investments and strategies in continuous improvement are delivering the required ROI and it also pinpoints opportunities for future business improvement initiatives.

ARC’s Benchmarking and Best Practices Analysis provides an external viewpoint to give you a clear understanding of how your company compares with others. 

Evaluating the performance of applications, business processes, and/or organizational structure is one the major roles of business managers.  This is required to optimally allocate resources, set priorities, and achieve core competitive advantage.  But, what "standard" do you use for measuring your performance? A benchmark provides the needed information to assess current conditions and set reasonable objectives.

Benchmarking your plant’s performance against others yields specific data on the success of your automation strategy, determines whether you are achieving the needed ROI, and identifies where and how to improve your strategies and investments in the future.

With ARC’s Benchmark Analysis, you are provided with an external viewpoint to give you a clear understanding of how your company compares with others.  With this information, you can sharpen your programs and set achievable objectives — with management consensus and organizational buy-in.

Cost vs. Value Benchmarking

Choosing the right approach to benchmarking is of critical importance to getting results.  For the last decade or more, manufacturing has been fixated on cost reduction, headcount reduction, and business re-engineering to increase output per employee.  No wonder that automation metrics, if available at all, are typically focused on the cost side, rather than the value that investments in automation bring to the business.

It is often overlooked that a control system is part of the VALUE equation, too, and in fact, a process control system is usually at its LEAST valuable to a company when it is installed.  That is not to say it has no value at start-up, but that more and more value can be added by improving the instrumentation in a plant – adding new skills to the human resources, using advanced control techniques, asset management, abnormal situation management, and a host of other things.

These and other automation metrics, allied with best practices are the true – and almost always overlooked – value creators in manufacturing today. 

The Benchmarking Consortium

Recognizing the need and importance of industry benchmarking, ARC and a group of approximately 50 process and hybrid industry manufacturers joined together to launch the Benchmarking Consortium.  Initially launched in January 2005, the Benchmarking Consortium establishes common metrics for benchmarking the performance and practices for automation, control, and related plant assets and resources.

    Benchmarking Consortium Brochure

Through the diligent efforts of several working groups, over 40 metrics have been approved for use.  Current benchmarked industries include Refining, Oil, Gas, Chemicals, Pulp & Paper, Metals & Mining, Food & Beverage, and Life Sciences, with plans to expand into other industries.  These companies share their actual plant data on specific metrics in return for receiving comparable data on the same metric from others in the industry.

Suncor Quote on ARC's Benchmarking Consortium 

Since the Benchmarking Consortium was launched, there has been an active core of process owner-operators to guide the identification of suitable metrics.  They have also created the related collection and calculation methods to be employed to ensure comparability of the metrics when displayed together for benchmarking purposes. 

Anyone can join the Working Group, but each Working Group member is expected to contribute by attending group meetings as well as individual team meetings as required.  New metrics are introduced every year and existing metrics are refined as experience is gained on collection and calculation methods.  Although the initial metrics are centered around automation and control, the boundaries of benchmarking have expanded to include areas like IT infrastructure for automation.  This is your opportunity to participate and help formulate its future.

Benchmarking Consortium Subscription Process

Subscription to particular metrics means that a company agrees to collect data from their plant(s) and then share that information with the Consortium through ARC Advisory Group. ARC provides reports displaying these metrics against other consortium member data. Comparison metric data is only provided upon receipt of like metric data from the subscriber. Resulting reports display the subscriber’s own metrics with data from companies, industries, and regions they consider most comparable to their own.

For more information on the ARC Benchmarking Consortium and how to join, please contact us.