In this Video, Stephen Hanman explains how Group facilitated business improvement comes about. A great way to get going on a business improvement journey.
“I would like to explain the value of being involved in a benchmarking success peer group. To do this, I’ll cover what is a peer group, why an organization would join one, what happens in a peer group and the typical value delivered by membership of a peer group.
So let’s start with what is a peer group? It consists of up to ten non competing organizations from various industries who gather about four times a year to pursue their individual and organizational objectives. Often, the group has a common customer, like a group of retail suppliers or a common activity like a group of manufacturers. Benchmarking Success has unique experience in developing and managing peer group relationships with more than 300 participating companies throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Asia since 1993. Some peer groups have stayed together for over 10 years. We know what works and why.
Peer group participation can be a colorful and personal experience because it covers the technical areas of business like processes and plans as well as the human elements, like how to nurture and maintain healthy relationships and understanding your own management style and its impact on workplace culture. People have spoken about how their management style changes based on peer group interactions.
Why would an organization join a peer group? Typically, it’s to enhance your effectiveness in your role by delivering on business improvement objectives. And as a follow on, being successful financially and career wise within the organizations.
So now, what happens in a peer group? Typically there are two phases: the first phase is where am I today, we define current performance in terms of service and cost and management enablers. Once an organization has finished that, they then join a peer group and take part in peer group meetings. As a group the members determine when and where they’ll meet and for how long, then Benchmarking Success organizes and delivers on the member developed agenda.
The peer group methodology that we follow is processed benchmarking that uses KPIs to facilitate improvement. Through regular face-to-face meetings, they develop and compare KPI performance and exchange best practice information about supply chain functions and processes. This information then assists each organization in its supply chain decision making and enables them to better achieve their individual objectives. To enable these objectives further, personal relationships and trust between members must be developed and nurtured within the peer group. Conversations in the peer group can be challenging and we, as the facilitators, nurture this because this is when people and companies learn.
The reality is, for us to deliver on member objectives, other members must understand the real challenges and problems. The dirty linen must come out, we have a code of conduct to manage client confidentiality and it follows the Colonel Schultz statement of “I know nothing” and it’s paramount outside the group meeting.
The peer group is an advanced learning program. Advanced because it educates members about applied supply chain concepts but, there is no theory without examples of application either from within the peer group or externally from others sourced by Benchmarking Success. The peer group is a powerful learning opportunity. Great peer group members are typically lifelong learners who identify strategic aims and link these to peer group participation. I also understand the concept of give and take and understand that value is determined by what they get but also what they offer to other members. You need to be proactive and engaged. You also need to be committed by preparing for meetings and challenge in each other constructively.
Typical value delivered by membership of the peer group is varied. The conversations are typically focused on ultimately delivering improved service and cost reduction in each organization, the peer group conversations are about how to deliver. Then, learnings may be technical as well as personal in terms of your own style. Benchmarking Success knows that the best practice operators deliver their promised service offer with up to three or four cost percentage points lower as the percentage of sales compared to poor performers.
There have been many great success stories from our peer groups, many members have been recognized globally as leading the way, other members have achieved industry awards. The benefits of membership are many and varied, some specifics detailed by group members include realizing that your challenge is also everyone else’s and that you are not alone. Others talk about it being a unique form to get inside other companies and share mutual benefits. Sometimes it confirms that you are heading in the right direction. Others identify where you are performing at best practice and learn how to stay there, you learn to build a strategy for supply chain improvement and deliver on those strategies.
Specifics that have been achieved include improved service levels from 40-80% after learning about DIFOT management and the perfect order from other members, others have improved their inventory turnover by about 100%, others have understood demand driven by inventory planning and inventory management based on a segmented customer base that offers a range of service levels. Peer group involvement enables organizations to achieve their objectives and promises, and doing this typically has a financial reward to individual members and delivers them great satisfaction.
As a summary, the peer groups are a great learning environment that can support you to be successful in your current role. Peer groups can also deliver great improvement to organizational performance. Get involved. Thank you.”