Developing customer focus
A British Steel case study

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Page 5: Benchmarking

British Steel 4 Image 7As part of the process of improvement and development, British Steel has used benchmarking as part of its strategic programme of quality improvement. Benchmarking is an approach which has become increasingly popular in recent times for organisations wishing to improve the quality of their goods and services. It involves identifying best practice in a particular sector, industry or group of organisations and then seeking to match or exceed that practice to lead the field.

Benchmarking at Shotton Works was used to explore its key business processes. After visiting many companies which were experienced at benchmarking, Shotton developed its own benchmarking process:

  1. Identify process
  2. Select team
  3. Train team
  4. Analyse process
  5. Measure the process
  6. Action the obvious
  7. Internally benchmark
  8. Identify sources/partners
  9. Obtain data
  10. Compare measures of performance
  11. Identify the gaps
  12. Identify improved practices
  13. Develop action plan
  14. Implement action plan
  15. Monitor and report.

This framework was used initially to analyse the storage and control of steel stock. Teams, led by senior managers, mapped processes such as order to cash and procurement to distribution. Magazines, consultants and personal contacts were used to collect information. Companies with reputations for good practice in this area were also visited.

The work of the benchmarking teams helped identify many areas for improvement, in terms of time, quality and efficiency and thereby increased the capability of processes to deliver Right First Time products and services.

British Steel | Developing customer focus