Benchmarking Methodology

Benchmarking Methodology

Benchmarking is the process of comparing and measuring your organization against others, anywhere in the world, to gain insights into measures, performance, and practices in a way that can rapidly improve the journey to world-class performance.

As the world’s leader in benchmarking, APQC has learned that organizations benchmark for a number reasons, including to:

  • improve productivity and lower costs,
  • accelerate and manage change,
  • achieve breakthroughs and innovation,
  • set performance targets, and
  • create a sense of urgency.

Our Benchmarking Methodology

APQC’s benchmarking methodology consists of four phases and was recognized as the No. 1 methodology in the world due to its flexibility in application and rigor in results (Source: Bain & Company Global Tools and Trends 2009)

Phase 1: Plan—establish the project scope, develop the data collection approach and requirements, and set the criteria for peer groups  

Phase 2: Collect—collect data.

Phase 3: Analyze—analyze and validate information collected to identify performance levels, leading practices, enablers, and proven templates and other tools.

Phase 4: Adapt—report and develop action plan for change.

Our Benchmarking Services

We know benchmarking is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor; the right approach should be based on your need. That’s why we offer a wide range of expertise from assessment tools for real-time benchmarks to benchmarking studies designed to address your specific needs.

APQC Collaborative Best Practice Benchmarking Services

We bring organizations together to collaborate with peers on common areas of interest. This enables them to: 

  • learn from noted experts and organizations,
  • discover best practices to ramp up quickly and improve performance, and
  • build solid business cases to present to senior executives.


APQC Custom Benchmarking Services

You have specific needs, so APQC takes benchmarking a step further and applies our wealth of process knowledge to uncover actionable insights that lie behind the raw information. We examine and compare your processes with others’ and pinpoint the qualitative drivers that explain why a particular practice works and how it can be applied in your setting. After all, benchmarking is worth doing only if it incites action.


Open Standards Benchmarking Services

How do you stack up? Find out with Open Standards Benchmarking. Leading organizations around the globe know exactly how they stack up against relevant peer groups and where to make changes to close performance gaps. Now you can, too. Access the benchmark data you need to capture market leadership and gain competitive advantage by participating in APQC’s Open Standards Benchmarking. The Open Standards database contains more than 1,200 performance metrics across multiple business functions and over 7,000 participants.   

How do we do it?

  1. Open Standards Benchmarking is built around APQC’s enterprise-wide Process Classification FrameworkSM (PCF). By outlining business activities at the process level, the PCF enables diverse organizations to compare performance in specific areas.
  2. Our analysts validate and normalize all data collected so that you get an accurate, reliable picture of your performance. Only the most current, relevant data are active, ensuring the best benchmarking methodology
  3. APQC guarantees objectivity and confidentiality in accordance with our Benchmarking Code of Conduct.

APQC members and other organizations in select industries can participate at no cost. See if your organization is a member, find out how to become a member, or contact us to find out if your participation might be underwritten.

Benchmarking Methodology Resources

Latest benchmarking—State of Benchmarking Report

State of Benchmarking Webinar

Benchmarking Webinar Series

Find Out More about our benchmarking methodology.  

Contact a relationship manager to learn about our research areas, find out what organizations are participating, and understand how you can get involved.