A benchmark is a "reference or measurement standard used for comparison", whilst benchmarking is the "continuous activity of identifying, understanding and adapting best practice and processes that will lead to superior performance".
The Institute of Groundsmanship's Performance Quality Standards are reference standards against which a particular facility can be compared.
Benchmarking provides a turf manager with a process that aids in identifying areas for improvement. Specific examples may include:
• identify areas for cost reduction, for example, some operations may be currently taking place that are actually unnecessary;
• identify whether materials are of the correct type and being applied correctly;
• as a cost-comparison with other facilities of the same quality to identify value for money;
• to justify an increase or decrease in maintenance inputs and costs;
• to encourage innovation;
• to identify realistic goals;
• to identify customer satisfaction levels. This could be included within a value for money analysis;
• to contribute to the decision making process in establishing a balanced range of facilities that are provided to the local community. Essentially this assists in making effective use of often limited resources;
• used to contribute to performance measurements.
Benchmarking is appropriate for all types of organisations, from the small local village cricket club to the largest local authority.
Performance measurement is a vast subject by itself and the reader who wishes to look into this in more detail should start by referring to the web site of Cranfield University > School of Management > Performance Measurement.