Group Benchmarking as a Model for Knowledge Creation in Supply Management Context
Kleemola, Anne (2005)
Tampere University of Technology
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The increasing fastness of change in business environment is forcing companies to look for more efficient methods to maintain and improve their competitive position on the market. The methods are searched among cooperation and networking operations between companies and, especially on the supply field, between supply chains. Small and medium sized enterprises are facing this challenge even harder because of scarcity of resources. Efficient methods to learn from other organizations and other s experiences are essential on those efforts. This study has explored the possibilities of benchmarking as a learning method in the context of supply. Benchmarking is a well-known method, but its effective applicability to small and medium sized organizations as well as company networks is not examined enough. Also the process of benchmarking as an efficient learning method is not proved according to knowledge creation theories. Therefore, the theoretical findings of this study are gathered into a new methodology, Group Benchmarking. The methodology considers the shortages of existing benchmarking methods as well as the needs of means for developing supply chains toward networking. The constructive approach has been used in developing the methodology on the basis of supply chain management and benchmarking theories. The knowledge management theories form a conceptual background when proving the process of learning in the construction. The construction has been proved to work with two case studies. The case studies show, first, that the methodology is functional and can be accomplished successfully. Secondly, it offers well focused knowledge for participating companies to develop their own supplier networks. Third, the methodology increases organizations knowledge about their weaknesses and strengths on the business environment as well as gives a path to achieve their future targets by learning from other organizations. Fourth, it attends as a co-operative, resource-saving forum for small and medium sized companies, which are not forced to invent a wheel again .
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