Benchmarking for Continuous Environmental Improvement
Benchmarking for Continuous Environmental Improvement is a second in a series, the first being Total Quality Environmental Management (TQEM): The Primer (1993), expands upon GEMI’s first effort and introduces a useful (TQEM) tool. This primer provides a format and structure for conducting a benchmarking study. In addition, it demonstrates to environmental managers and others that benchmarking is an important component of TQEM. Finally, its readers will learn that the inherent nature of benchmarking makes it a useful process for identifying environmental improvements, setting priorities among them, and making one’s own company as successful as others.
This primer was developed to teach the reader how to make environmental improvements based on existing or publicly available information and resources. The primer will serve as a road map for conducting a benchmarking study so that members of company’s benchmarking team will understand what is expected of them and how to meet effectively the objectives of the benchmarking study.
The first section of the primer provides a definition of benchmarking – a process of comparing and measuring an organization’s business processes against best-in-class operations to inspire improvement in the organization’s performance – and how it may be used for continuous environmental improvement. In addition, some expected results of benchmarking are described followed by examples of how these results have led to the implementation of improvement programs in companies.
The second section is the heart of the primer and provides a step-by-step process for conducting a benchmark study. Each step in the process is preceded by a “key tasks” section to enable the reader to quickly scan the primer for the critical elements of the benchmarking process.
The third section contains relevant case studies contributed by GEMI members and a description of the relationship between benchmarking and TQEM.