Benchmarking strategy for service delivery enhancement at Kenya ports authority
Benchmarking has been used as a tool, a methodology and a technique for continuous improvements in sectoral operations to gain and maintain competitive advantage. Participating on benchmarking has promoted a culture of thinking about quality, assessing one’s own performance and taking responsibility for it. Ports are critical enablers of a country’s competitiveness on the international market hence they need to be oriented towards the supply chain to meet the changing needs of their customers. Kenya Ports Authority’s mandate is to maintain, operate, improve and regulate all scheduled sea ports situated along the coastline. The objectives of this study were to establish the extent to which Kenya Ports Authority employs benchmarking as a strategy for service delivery, identify the benchmarking methods used by Kenya Ports Authority in enhancing service delivery and identify the challenges faced by Kenya Ports Authority in the implementation of benchmarking. The research design used was a case study. The study used both primary and secondary data. Secondary data on service delivery was derived from KPA’s corporate plans while primary data was collected using a self-structured interview guide. The interviews targeted the senior level managers of KPA. The study established that KPA employs numerous benchmarking practices aimed at enhancing service delivery at the port. Various industry performance indicators are applied by KPA as well UNCTAD performance measures. The study also established that KPA has benefited from benchmarking strategy through increased efficiency of operations, customer satisfaction and increased competitiveness. Challenges encountered included government bureaucracy and long procurement procedures for equipment, spares, services and materials. The study recommends that KPA should encourage a multi-sectoral disciplinary approach where all players in the port logistics and operations coordinate and work in tandem to realize the specific benchmarking strategies. The study also recommends that KPA should improve and increase infrastructure and superstructure to meet the increasing cargo throughput (1 million TEUS in 2014). The organization should also train and rationalize the labour force to achieve optimal production and quality service delivery. The study further recommends that KPA should be transformed into Landlord Status to minimize government interference. This will also tame the union and provide unlimited access to abundant labour market. The study was conducted on one entity KPA only. The findings can be verified by conducting further studies on a cross section of other state corporations in Kenya. This will help to identify if other state corporations have similar or different results. The study findings are according to KPA’s senior management point of view. The scope of the study may also be extended to cover other strategic aspects of KPA.