Benchmarking for Philippine Libraries : A Proposal CORAZON M. NERA Director of Libraries, Lyceum of the Philippines University Chairman, Board for Librarians, PRC
Definitions of benchmarking • a management technique to improve business • performances. • used to compare performance between different organizations or different units within a single organizations undertaking similar processes on a continuous basis. - aim to document and measure a key process and then compare the resulting data with those relating to similar process in other organizations.
Types of benchmarking 1. Competitor – comparing with leading organizations with similar products or services and adapting their approach. 2. Generic – comparisons of business process or functions that are very similar, regardless of industry. 3. Internal – a comparison of internal operations by different departments within the same organization. 4. Functional – comparisons to similar functions within the same broad industry, or to industry leaders. 5. Customer – the aim of the improvement program is meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Appropriate to Libraries Generic Benchmarking – focuses on measuring and comparing key processes in different organizations e.g. inquiry services and interlibrary loan. Customer Benchmarking – the benchmark is customer expectations. Customers develop their own benchmarks of performance when selecting and judging suppliers. The improvement program is aimed at meeting and exceeding customer expectation.
Approaches to benchmarking A. Identify the process to be benchmarked B. Establish management commitment to the benchmarking process C. Identify and establish the benchmarking team D. Define and understand the process to be benchmarked E. Identify metrics and collect process data
A. Identify an appropriate benchmarking model 1. The generic model is selected as the most appropriate 2. The approach ensures elements crucial to customer satisfaction 3. Facilitates an in depth scrutiny of the way operations are currently run. 4. A learning experience 5. Comparisons with other organizations enable participants to exchange ideas and analyze gaps in performance.
Procedures representing the approach taken: 1. Identify a key process, critical to the success of the service 2. Document or map the sub-process 3. Take measurements of factors critical to the success of the process 4. Analyze the results of exercise and identify gaps in performance. 5. Select benchmarking partners, arrange visit to compare the results of the exercise. 6. Identify “best practice” e.g. methods used by benchmarking partners for adoption to improve one’s own level of service.
Selecting benchmarking partners 1. Most difficult aspects of benchmarking - due to concerns of confidentiality, extreme caution when disclosing information or competitors intelligence 2. Partners are selected from organizations known to the team and they should : a. Exemplify best practice b. Involved in quality management programs c. Holders of quality awards e.g. ISO 9000, Level IV accreditation, IQuaME compliant 3. Interested in benchmarking and willing to participate in the exercise
Selecting benchmarking partners cont… 4. Not in competition with the demonstration organization 5. Formal letter will be sent stating procedures for the exercise to the partners 6. Demonstration organizations will arrange for the visits at their most convenient time
The benchmarking visit 1. Meeting is set up by the demonstration and the benchmarking partner. 2. Aim - to compare the data and exchange ideas on the process. 3. Meeting is informal, to be led by demonstration organizations with researchers observing. 4. Best practice will be identified and establish.
Necessary Underpinnings of Benchmarking 1. Time management – time consuming,time might be better spent on other task or more important matters - to survive, libraries must give up the quick fix philosophy and understand the change is now the norm and stability is a thing of the past. - quality management is a gradual or organic process involve cultural change and holistic approach to management.
Necessary Underpinnings of Benchmarking cont… - benchmarking is time consuming process, requires planning, team work and frequent meetings - visits to partners take up valuable work time. - viewed as a learning experience leading to a higher level of awareness and will benefit the library in the long term.
Necessary Underpinnings of Benchmarking cont… 2. Communications – essential for quality management initiative, lines of communications may affect location of the library, availability of channels of communication e.g. E-mail, telephone, fax et.al. - Meetings between senior management and staff involved in the exercise should be setup in advanced and reporting mechanism in place
Necessary Underpinnings of Benchmarking cont… 3. Formal vs. informal approaches– formal methods are theoretical, impractical and bureaucratic. Informal methods of evaluation may be used such as: - Regular team meetings and storming sessions - Service level agreements; service standards - Student course evaluation - Liaison thru Library Advisory Committee - Course review document - Informal comparison of statistics - Participation in university wide survey
Necessary Underpinnings of Benchmarking cont… - Access the board comparison with a member of other universities - Quality of service implicit in Library’s Written Operational Policy Standard - Charter mark - Information skills program evaluated on regular basis - Book availability survey
4. Confidentiality and Learning organization – the aim is to test benchmarking techniques and to compare work practices and establish best practices. - areas of concern : confidentiality as a problem e.g. expressing client confidential information to outsiders, getting into the hands of a competitor making use of it top their detriment. - misapprehensions : information about procedures are compared and no need for confidential information to be implicated. - those who are apprehensive about showing information are not ready to participate in benchmarking
4. Confidentiality and Learning organization cont… - visits can be conducted away from the workplace to avoid accidental exposure of confidential documents. - Learning Organization Concept is based on people, information and relationships, depends on network of partnerships and alliances as organic structures that continually change and grow thus the need to cultivate an open minded approach and macrocosmic approach by interacting with organizations in their own in terms of culture and work practice.
Recommendations: • It is a value to organization involved in quality • programs. • 2. It is a quality tool and most used where the culture and practices are focused on achieving best practice. • 3. Where it is to be introduced, training must be implemented first: • 3.1 What benchmarking is? • 3.2 How implemented within the organization, what it involves and why it is being carried • out? • 3.3 To make staff understand the necessary • mapping and measuring stages of the process • and supply the data and the needed • documentation.
Recommendations cont… • 4. The training covers tools such as flowcharting and • fishbone designs, to establish current procedures • and identify problem areas. • 5. Benchmarking may need detailed procedures, or • guidelines or how to set about it. • The selection of benchmarking partners is • problematic. • 7. The concepts and ideology of benchmarking • represent good management practice, the process is • difficult, and the benefits may not be apparent for • sometime, if at all. • 8. Where benchmarking is felt to be most useful, is a • means of raising staff levels of awareness.
Recommendations cont… 9. The process of analyzing procedures and identifying gaps in performance can be a learning experience, which enables staff to distance themselves from a process and view it in an organizational context. 10. Awareness extends to outside organizations during benchmarking visits, and helps to foster a mindset receptive to new ideas and change. 11. Benchmarking can be perceived as an empowering tool, which by focusing on process owners, enables professional staff to play a more proactive role in the identification of problems and implementation of change. 12. Promotes teamwork and better communication between junior and senior level staff - both of which are prerequisites of successful benchmarking.
Modes of benchmarking process used by the demonstrator organizations for the benchmarking exercises Identify key process Document / Map Sub Processes Identify Critical Success Factors (CsFs) Measure CsFs Analyze Results Identify Gaps in Performance Select Benchmarking Partners/Arranged Visits Identify Best Practice
Why benchmark? (Australian Experience) 1. to facilitate dramatic process improvement 2. as part of an ongoing continuous improvement mechanisms 3. to ensure that plans are being carried out 4. to focus evaluation on the most useful areas 5. as part of change management process 6. to justify the existence or value of the service 7. to demonstrate areas of merit to stakeholders 8. to develop relationships/partnerships with other organizations and 9. to assess aspects of management (include the level of management competitiveness)
Benefits ? As an improvement tool (Australian Best Practices) 1. improved understanding of work flows, processes and procedures 2. continuous improvement in work flows, processes and procedures 3. new ideas leading to continues improvement and breakthrough change 4. a view of work flows, procedures and processes in other organizations 5. high regard of staff for library clients 6. high regard of library clients for staff
Benefits ? Cont… 7. pride in performance 8. participation in decision making 9. breakdown of traditional barriers between branches and management and staff 10. improved productivity Processes suitable for benchmarking (activities) 1. Interlibrary loans 2. copy cataloging 3. original cataloging 4. shelving
Processes suitable for benchmarking (activities) cont… 5. acquisitions > cataloging > processing 6. acquisitions of core texts 7. document delivery 8. technical services 9. library system costs 10. research support 11. information skills 12. materials availability 13. staff perceptions 14. customer satisfaction
Processes suitable for benchmarking cont… 15. organizational comparison 16. costing core processes 17. university enquiry points 18. leading and managing improvement and change Back Reasons for benchmarking (Australian Libraries) 1. cost comparison 2. reduction in turn around times 3. reduction in error rates 4. establishing meaningful performance indicators / realistic output measures
Reasons for benchmarking cont… 5. feasibility of collaboration to achieve cost saving 6. investigate in sourcing, outsourcing and collaborative opportunities 7. establish individual performance targets 8. explore appropriate roles and activities of cataloguers 9. develop improved outcomes for customers 10. pilot benchmarking / instill value of benchmarking 11. as an instrument to achieve change 12. develop bet practice model 13. validation measure 14. develop statements of good practice 15. framework for benchmarking, performance and quality
References: 1. Best Practice Handbook for Australian University Libraries (2000). Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Higher Education Division. 2. Brockman, John et.al. (1997) Quality Management and Benchmarking in the Information Sector. London:Bowker Saur.
Give Benchmarking a Chance - Its Worth It
Title LIBRARY PROCEDURES Scope ACQUISITION OF BOOKS PURCHASE General Policies and Guidelines Determination of the educational resources of the SHL library is a professional consideration of great magnitude, requiring the cooperative efforts of the acquisition librarian and the faculty members with the College deans and the Library director. Procedures 1.The Director of Libraries directs the Acquisition Librarian to invite book suppliers in batches and assigns staffs to attend book fairs and coordinates with the College Deans for faculty members to attend book fairs 2.The Property Officer receives books from suppliers
3.The Acquisition Librarian segregates books per college and prepares book acquisition to go with the books 4.The Faculty/Department Chair evaluates/recommends books to purchase 5.The Dean evaluates/approves the Book Requisition Slips 6.The College Secretary returns/transmits all books to Acquisition Librarian 7.The Director of Libraries re-evaluates books recommended and endorse acquisition 8.The Acquisition Librarian prepares list of books as “recommended” and “not recommended” per supplier in triplicate 9.The Acquisition Librarian transmits all books to Property Office with the duly signed Book Requisition Slip
10. The purchasing Officer prepares purchase requisition/purchase order 11. The VP/Treasurer approves the P.R./P.O. 12. The Purchasing Officer sends approved P.O. to supplier; then forward the approved P.O. to Property Officer and to Accounting for payment. 13. The Property officer returns books “not recommended” to suppliers, prepares RR for the purchased books per the approved P.O. and transmits books per approved P.O. 14. The Acquisition Librarian records all purchased books into the Accession Book 15. The Cataloger catalogues the books. 16. The Acquisition Librarian forwards the list of catalogued books to Property Office. Back