Provided by the Snow & Ice Management Association
From the August 2023 Issue Of PLOW®
When making decisions for your business, the more information you have, the better you can run profitable and efficient snow operations.
Benchmarking is an essential process that allows your company to measure actual performance and compare it to goals or established key performance indicators. The results will inform your decision-making when setting goals, show progress toward those goals, or identify areas for improvement.
In order for benchmarking to be successful for your company, it requires the following steps:
Identify benchmark targets.
Decide what you want to benchmark and what you will benchmark against. Make sure the metrics and any goals tied to them are focused and realistic. Is there a particular area of the business that is a pain point? Start there.
Outline the process.
Set benchmark goals so that every person in the company understands who will “own” those metrics, how and why each will be achieved, and the individual consequences if they are not.
Educate your team on what and why you are benchmarking.
Once they have a grasp on the benchmarking concept, share what you will do with the results. Measurement without action is a waste of time and money. Benchmarking can improve communication and get everyone rowing in the same direction.
Collect and analyze data.
Implement a process to collect the data. Once captured, analyze the data and measure your performance against it. If people know the goal and see tangible progress toward it, their review results won’t be a surprise. Results can be used to guide adjustments to training, estimating practices, and equipment choices. They also provide for measurable accountability.
Make evaluating your benchmark performance part of a regular routine, whether it’s quarterly, monthly, etc. The timing will naturally depend on the metric being measured.
Create a plan.
Take action to correct or improve performance and celebrate the metrics that prove positive performance. Doing both is essential to keeping the team engaged. Accountability for those able to impact the outcome of any measurement must be twofold: reward and correction.
How Does Your Business Measure Up?
Benchmarking your company’s performance against others can help you see how you measure up and identify areas where you need to improve. To facilitate this, The SIMA Foundation commissioned a profitability and benchmarking report that provides a valuable, high-level snap- shot of the snow and ice industry. Access it at www.sima.org/foundation.
You can dig deeper into the data using SIMA’s interactive benchmarking tool, which allows you to compare your operations against similar companies.
It uses criteria like:
- snow & ice revenue
- profit margin
- salt pricing
- labor charges
- acres serviced and more.
You can sort the data by geographic location, company size and structure, and years in business. The tool is a living document that is continuously updated as more companies contribute their data. Access the dashboard and the form to submit your data at sima.org/dashboard.
Benchmarking is a continuous process. So it’s time to start at the beginning by identifying another area to benchmark and to continue reviewing the metrics already established.
For more information, visit sima.org.
Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, or send an e-mail to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.