Completing an APQC Assessment

This page gives guidance for completing APQC's assessments. For reference, APQC Enterprise and Functional members can fill out assessments for their organizations. Those with a Professional Services membership, can fill out assessments on behalf of clients. Some of the details below may be different for industry members and professional services members.

Completing an Assessment

Demographics for Industry Members

The demographics section of the assessment provides APQC’s benchmarking team the information needed to successfully communicate, validate, and report to the correct point of contact. Accuracy is critical and missing/incorrect demographic information will cause delays in the exercise. See example below.

Image showing how to correctly fill out the demographics portion of the APQC OSB surveys

CORRECT

Image showing how to correctly fill out the demographics portion of the APQC OSB surveys

INCORRECT

A chart showing users how to fill out the demographics on APQCs OSB surveys

Demographics for Professional Services Members

The demographics section of the assessment provides APQC’s benchmarking team the information needed to successfully communicate, validate, and report to the correct point of contact. Accuracy is critical and missing/incorrect demographic information will cause delays in the exercise. See example below.

Image showing how to fill out the demographics portion of the APQC OSB surveys

CORRECT

Image showing how to correctly fill out the demographics portion of the APQC OSB surveys

INCORRECT

Image showing how to incorrectly fill out the demographics portion of the APQC OSB surveys

Pre-submission Validation

  • Confirm completion rate for RPA and OSB surveys
  • Alphabetical text cannot be used for "percent", "currency", or "numeric" responses
    • Correct: 1000000 or 1,000,000
    • Incorrect: 1m or 1million, or 1000000,00
    • Correct: 1.5
    • Incorrect: 1.5 days or 1-2 days
  • Leave unanswered questions blank
    • Do not use “placeholders” such as zero, x, or n/a
  • Total values (i.e., total cost, total process FTEs, total cycle times) are equal to the sum of the allocation of the totals.
    • Total cost = the sum of personnel, systems, overhead, outsourced, and other cost
    • FTEs = the sum of activity FTEs
    • Total cycle time = the sum of allocated cycle times of component stages
    • Cost of continuing operations = COGS + SG&A
  • Multiple expressed values for a single question are consistent.
    • Total cost = the field that represents the sum of total cost
    • Total FTEs = the field that represents the sum of total FTEs
  • All necessary components of internal costs are represented, and no value is zero.
    • Personnel, systems, overhead, and survey-specific components
  • Percentage allocations that sum to 100% all must sum to 100% in your answer
  • For questions where zero is not a valid response (i.e. FTEs) zeroes are not present in answer responses
  • The sum of all category/process group/process FTEs strictly less than and represents a fraction of business entity FTEs
  • The sum of all category/process group/process cost strictly less than and represents a fraction of business entity costs
    • Cost of Goods Sold > Cost to Manufacture
    • SG&A > total cost of finance function
  • Cycle time values exist within the specific period of measurement
    • Monthly budgeting should be less than 30 days
    • Annual budgeting less than a year
  • All common questions should be consistent across all surveys. Some surveys ask for the same information. If supplying several surveys, insure that the responses are the same.
    • Business entity revenue
    • FTEs
    • Costs
    • Cycle times

Response Examples

CORRECT

Image showing the correct way to fill out and APQC OSB Survey Response

INCORRECT

Image showing the incorrect way to fill out and APQC OSB Survey Response

Submitting an Assessment

Submission steps

NOTE: APQC adheres to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines in regard to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and the right to be forgotten. As such, we require all survey submissions to be loaded to a secure cloud space. We will not accept emailed survey submissions.

  • Ensure that the submissions are not redundant

    • Example: If submitting a Payroll OSB submission, do not submit a Payroll RPA submission as well
  • Before you submit, confirm that the file contains
    • Correct contact information

      • Contact name, email address, and phone number
    • Responses are complete, correct, and follow our instructions
  • Submit your completed file to https://zurl.co/8Rg92
  • Drag and drop file
    • You will not receive a confirmation at the time of submittal.
    • When we are notified that the file has been loaded to the cloud, we will confirm receipt with you. This may take a few hours.
    • We cannot see where the file was loaded from or who loaded it so correct and complete contact information in the file is critical.

Submitting Assessments for Multiple Business Entities for a Single Organization

All submissions should be submitted together

  • Assessments will need to be clearly labeled by business entity in the file name
    • Example “220 – Payroll-Business_Entity_A”
  • Each business entity must be uniquely named in the assessment file       

Image showing how to fill out the business entity portion of the APQC OSB surveys
Image showing how to fill out the business entity portion of the APQC OSB surveys

 Timing

  • Multiple submissions will impact the timing of the final reports. We request that any project with more than 10 submissions be communicated with APQC ahead of time.
  • We request that any project with more than 10 submissions be communicated with APQC ahead of time

Submitting Multiple Assessments for a Single Business Entity

All submissions must be submitted at one time

  • Assessments will need to be submitted in bulk so that we can perform common question validation on the data
  • Any additional submissions for a single business entity for the same period end date will require a complete restart of the entire validation process

Timing

  • Multiple submissions will impact the timing of the final reports ▫ We request that any project with more than 10 submissions be communicated with APQC ahead of time
  • Email osb@apqc.org with project outline and expectations

APQC Validation Process

Pre-validation

  • Membership verification for the submitting entity. APQC members can submit OSB and RPA surveys as part of the membership. Nonmembers can submit OSB surveys for a fee.
  • Inclusion of the appropriate participating business entity’s name and North American Industry Classification System code for the entity.
  • Period end-date verification: OSB does not accept future period end-dates, reflecting hypothetical, pro forma, or pro rata data.
  • Completion rate: OSB only processes OSB surveys at least 50% complete or RPA submissions 80% complete.

Logical Validation

  • Numbers expressed are appropriate to the units of measure.
  • Allocations sum to the totals.
  • Measures of subsets are never greater than the measures of whole sets.
  • Data expressed is consistent with the participating entity’s demographic information.
  • Consistency checks of the provided information. APQC uses specific survey design principles to identify and catch typical survey participation errors.

Statistical Validation

  • APQC employs the Interquartile Range (IQR) method to establish upper and lower bounds to establish a range of acceptable values. Metric values that fall outside of the established range are flagged for further investigation by the analyst.
  • The analyst may leverage multiple peer groups for comparison in determination of the significance of any outlier against peers with similar industry, size, and regional characteristics.
  • Data elements are then identified as potential outlier factors in statistical outlier metric values. The analyst makes a determination as to the outlier factor’s comparative nature to data elements unlikely to result in statistical outlier metric values.

Reports

Validation Report

  1. Validation reports are provided once first-round validation is completed by the analyst.
  2. An email will be sent to the point of contact established in the assessment that provides a link to the validation file.
  3. Submitter must update identified data, confirm existing data, and return the updated file to the APQC cloud space.
    • NOTE: Updated data can only be provided in the validation file. All other formats will be ignored. This allows for accurate tracking of all updates made.
  4. Updates are recorded in the database and those changes are re-validated.
  5. Once validation is completed, a final report will be generated.

Final Reports

Both OSB and RPA reports contain your responses in metric form and compares those responses to the OSB database

  • Metrics

    • List of metrics aligned to the assessment completed

      • Metrics that are missing answer components, or failed validation will have N/R for a response
      • Peer groups that do not have a sufficient N count for a metric will return an N/A value
  • Peer Groups
    • All Participants – the entire database
    • Industry – the APQC industry peer group the provided NIACS Code fall into
    • Entity Size – the revenue range relative to the business entity
    • Region – the geographic location relative to the business entity country
  • Your Organization’s Metric Value
    • These are the values derived from the responses provided in the assessment
  • N
    • This number represents the size of the sample for the measure in this peer group
  • Metric Values
    • Value of a metric at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles of the peer group dataset, respectively
  • Your Percentile
    • Where your response lands within the dataset for a peer group expressed as a percentage
  • A link to the final report will be sent via email