APQC Anti-Trust Policy
Antitrust laws are intended to foster and protect competition. As such, the laws prohibit anticompetitive activities, and in particular, those which are deemed to be reasonable restraints of trade.
APQC’s services bring customers together, including competitors, to share information about best practices, and therefore, it is important that APQC staff and contractors be well informed on antitrust laws to insure conformity within APQC. This document outlines APQC’s policy to ensure full compliance with the antitrust laws. The purpose of this Statement is to inform APQC staff of conduct that should be avoided to eliminate or minimize APQC’s exposure to antitrust investigations or lawsuits.
Commitment to full compliance with both the letter and spirit of federal and state antitrust laws is a commitment of APQC and its staff. Guidelines for the pursuit of this commitment are set forth in this Statement. This Statement is necessarily general and cannot anticipate every legal issue that may emerge. It is important, therefore, that any person with knowledge of an actual or suspected violation of this policy immediately inform APQC management.
APQC membership is open to all interested and eligible organizations. No applicant for membership, or participation in other APQC activities open to non-members, may be rejected for anti-competitive purposes.
GUIDELINES FOR APQC MEETINGS
Proper Activities include but are not limited to:
- Exchange legitimate past business information on best practices for the mutual benefit of the participants.
- Provide opportunities for participants to share best practices.
- Collect and disseminate data only in a manner consistent with the antitrust laws and in accordance with the APQC Code of Conduct.
Improper Activities include but are not limited to:
- Discussion of pricing, promotional policies, or other terms of sale. Price is a forbidden topic at any meeting, including the discussion of price related information, such as discounts, profit margins, credit terms, possible increases or decreases in price, or pricing procedures, or current or forecasted production.
- Discussion of price fixing, bid rigging, or bribery.
- Discussion of doing business with a particular customer, including all discussions about customer pricing or discriminating against a particular customer.
- Discussion of geographic market areas, arrangements to limit sales to particular areas, the exclusion of competing firms from a market, or the customer allocation of customers among competitors.
- Pressure on any customer to adopt any program or policy that would restrict their business or interfere with free and lawful trade.
GUIDELINES FOR BENCHMARKING
In a benchmarking project with competitors or potential competitors:
- The APQC Code of Conduct shall serve as the basis for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information.
- Establish specific ground rules up-front. For example, “We don’t want to talk about things that will give a company a competitive advantage, but rather we want to see where we can mutually improve and benefit.”
- Do not ask competitors for sensitive data or cause the benchmarking participants to feel they are required to provide the data to continue the process.
- All data is required to be blinded in such a way that the party providing the data cannot be identified by name or through any demographics associated with the data.
- APQC requires 10 data points in order to report data.
- In some instances where the data is analogous to being provided with smaller sample sizes, data can be provided with 5 data points. Where data is provided using 5 data points, APQC staff will take special precautions to ensure data can not in any way be associated with the provider.
- No individual company data may represent more than 25% of the data set.
- The data should be more than three months old.
- Any information obtained from an individual benchmarking partner should be treated at APQC as internal, privileged information and not disseminated to other benchmarking partners.