Benchmarking and Planning: Partners in Driving Growth (Part 1 of 2)


Can you believe it’s already fourth business quarter? The year has flown by quicker than a witch on her broomstick. (Wow, we’re at that point of the year where Halloween puns are timely.) Anyway, the point I’m making is that the end of 2013 is rapidly approaching and 2014 will be here before you’re done saying “Trick or Treat.” (I promise that’s the last Halloween reference.)
With the New Year not too far around the corner, Michigan’s manufacturers need to start focusing on 2014 goals. At the top of everyone’s mind should be growth. Developing new products, entering new markets and increasing sales is the key to remaining competitive in today’s economy.
While virtually every manufacturer would like to grow (who doesn’t want new sales?), many businesses overlook the importance of setting the groundwork for growth initiatives.
If you don’t really know how you’re doing, how can you improve? Yes, evaluating profit and loss statements and assessing balance sheets gives you important insights about your expenses, sales and profits, but understanding your company’s specific strengths and weaknesses is critical. Are on-time deliveries your biggest strength? Is employee turnover leading to high recruiting costs and talent retention issues? If you don’t have specific metrics to outline your biggest strengths and weaknesses, you won’t know where to invest resources to make improvements.
Benchmarking goes beyond just evaluating how you are doing. The key question is: how are you doing in comparison to others in your industry? Are your strengths similar to other manufacturers in your field? If not, you may be able to tout your strength(s) as a distinct competitive advantage. Are your weaknesses the same as other companies in the industry? If not, you may be missing out on business because you are being outperformed by your competitors.
At the end of the day, you can’t set improvement targets and plan to grow if you don’t know this crucial information first!
Possible Solution: MMTC offers a Performance Benchmarking Service. You fill out a questionnaire and within a matter of a few days, we provide you with a comprehensive report. The report relays the performance of small and medium-sized manufacturers in your industry and provides industry-specific data comparing companies on more than 60 metrics. Please note: this is confidential: your company specific responses aren’t shared unless you provide written consent.

performance benchmarking
Understanding important benchmarking data goes hand-in-hand with transformation planning, a future topic on our blog! Be on the lookout for Part 2. Remember, 2014 is all about growth!
For more information about the Performance Benchmarking Service, click here or contact us at

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma