A survey of the extent of implementation of benchmarking practices in the manufacturing sector in Kenya
Manufacturing firms the world over have since the mid 1980s adopted continuous improvement techniques such as benchmarking to build organizations that are internally and externally geared towards an enhanced customer offering. Benchmarking has been described as among the easiest to implement requiring few resources and delivering superior value. This paper sought to investigate whether manufacturers in Kenya do benchmark, and if they do, in what specific areas of their operations, evaluate the success as well as the challenges they encounter in their quest to benchmark. Primary data was collected using a questionnaire, designed to be completed by respondents at managerial and operational levels in the surveyed firms. The data was then checked for completeness and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The survey reveals that indeed most manufacturing firms in Kenya benchmark and management support in this area is very strong. Secondly, most firms chose benchmarking partners from those in the same industry or line of trade. Finally, lack of proper and specific skills is identified as the biggest hindrance to benchmarking among Kenyan firms. The paper concludes by a confirmation that benchmarking has had a tremendous effect in improving the operations of many firms and will continue to playa critical role in their success going into the future.