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Benchmarking is a business technique that consists of using a "comparator" or "benchmark" as a reference for those efficient products, services or work processes that are considered as the best practice in that area.

The word benchmark comes from English and means 'reference point' or 'parameter'. It's also used in finance to measure the return on an investment.

In benchmarking, the comparator used as a benchmark is the ideal practice that an organization wants to reach to improve, it can be a practice that's carried out internally in the company or an external practice that has been successful. It can be, for example, an internal product that has been very successful, which will serve as a reference for another product to try to have the same success as the first.

If the benchmark used is external to the company, the benchmarking technique will involve learning the practices developed by the competition and then adapting their own practices to those of the competition, applying the necessary changes and thus improving their product or service. To perform a good benchmarking it isn't enough to copy the good practice of another company, but it's necessary to adapt the circumstances and characteristics of the company, comparing the performance of these companies through different metrics.

Benchmarking is used to perform a comparative analysis of the products or services offered by the competition, carried out to improve an existing product or to design a new one in any sector. This study or technique seeks to guide best practices and strategies with the purpose of moving towards continuous and customer-oriented improvement.

It's an essential tool that helps to know what the competition is doing, thus adapting to the particular needs of the company, to make the appropriate adjustments according to the circumstances and the momentum of the company or organization.

Although benchmarking has traditionally been limited to large business organizations, it's currently also used in the public administration of many countries in order to improve processes and systems and to evaluate the implementation of management policies and strategies for the city, province or community The results that have been obtained as a result of the use of this tool in the public sector show the development of more efficient services.

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