Short-term effects of benchmarking on the manufacturing practices and performance of SMEs
Facing increased competitive pressures due to globalisation and increased quality requirements from their customers, small and medium-sized manufacturers must increase their productivity and their competitiveness in order to survive and prosper. One way of evaluating the attainment of this goal is to compare a firm's business practices and performance with those of a group of comparable firms, or with those of firms that are recognised for their excellence ? that is, to ?benchmark? the organisation. As management challenges have increased in complexity, benchmarking has become a strategic tool for organisations, both large and small, and for governments seeking to assist them. However, given a lack of empirical research, little is known as to the actual impacts of benchmarking. With this in mind, the present study sought to test a model of the relationship between benchmarking, the adoption of advanced manufacturing systems, and the performance of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The model was tested with data from 102 Canadian manufacturing SMEs that have participated in a benchmarking exercise.
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