XEROX - The Benchmarking Story



Themes: Operational Restructuring
Period : 1982 - 2002
Organization : Xerox
Pub Date : 2006
Countries : USA
Industry : Office Automation

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Case Code : OPER012
Case Length : 14 Pages
Price: Rs. 500;

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Benchmarking at Xerox Contd...

These ten key factors were further divided into 67 sub-processes. Each of these sub-processes then became a target for improvement. For the purpose of acquiring data from the related benchmarking companies, Xerox subscribed to the management and technical databases, referred to magazines and trade journals, and also consulted professional associations and consulting firms.

Having worked out the model it wanted to use, Xerox began by implementing competitive benchmarking. However, the company found this type of benchmarking to be inadequate as the very best practices, in some processes or operations were not being practiced by copier companies. The company then adopted functional benchmarking, which involved a study of the best practices followed by a variety of companies regardless of the industry they belonged to. Xerox initiated functional benchmarking with the study of the warehousing and inventory management system of L.L. Bean (Bean), a mail-order supplier of sporting goods and outdoor clothing.

Bean had developed a computer program that made order filling very efficient. The program arranged orders in a specific sequence that allowed stock pickers to travel the shortest possible distance in collecting goods at the warehouse. This considerably reduced the inconvenience of filling an individual order that involved gathering relatively less number of goods from the warehouse. The increased speed and accuracy of order filling achieved by Bean attracted Xerox. The company was convinced it could achieve similar benefits by developing and implementing such a program.

Similarly, Xerox zeroed in on various other best practice companies to benchmark its other processes. These included American Express (for billing and collection), Cummins Engines and Ford (for factory floor layout), Florida Power and Light (for quality improvement), Honda (for supplier development), Toyota (for quality management), Hewlett-Packard (for research and product development), Saturn (a division of General Motors) and Fuji Xerox (for manufacturing operations) and DuPont (for manufacturing safety). Benchmarking was implemented at Xerox in the following manner:

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