After outlining the need for a benchmark report and conducting a thorough assessment by establishing a baseline and using market data and best practices to create a clear picture of what can be accomplished (see Source One's benchmarking series to learn more about the process) the next step is to implement. The implementation strategy should be based on recommendations provided in the benchmark. These recommendations should provide clear and actionable results to help improve a company's current state and develop and align strategies to meet company goals. To implement the recommendations it is important to get buy in from the right level of management in a company and gain consensus, develop an action plan, and monitor results.

The recommendations established in a benchmark may include a variety of solutions to help improve profitability and streamline processes. Recommendations may include direct negotiations with current providers to improve pricing, contract terms, resource allocation,supplier consolidation, or the results may indicate that based on current market conditions a full sourcing event is warranted. The results and recommendations from a benchmark need to be presented in a way that is clear, concise, and motivating to a company to gain consensus and move forward with the strategy.

Benchmarks should provide the spend owner with the leverage needed to gain buy in from different levels within a company. While a benchmark may only impact one department, having all the right levels of management involved in the implementation process can help clearly identify and define goals that will provide results and have positive financial impacts to different aspects of a company. It is also important to be prepared to present your benchmark to the non-management team that will be impacted by the recommendations since they will most likely be part of the implementation process. The spend owner that would be responsible for the implementation should be motivating in their message to all members of the team involved in the change process and ensure that they understand their involvement and how the result of the benchmark will provide an overall positive impact to them and the company.

Once you have reviewed and gained consensus from all the right parties the next step is to develop an action plan for implementing the recommendations outlined in the benchmark report. In the plan, it is important to identify a clear timeline of the actions that need to take place in addition to the people that will be responsible for completing the tasks. Each person that is part of the action plan must understand their role in the process to ensure the implementation is successful. The person spearheading the implementation process should continually monitor the progress to ensure tasks stay on track and that the recommendations of the benchmark are implemented properly.

Acting on a benchmark recommendation requires commitment. Evaluating the results of your benchmark recommendations and monitoring its success rate is a crucial component to completing the benchmark process. It is important to continually assess the improved or new program by monitoring progress, tracking results, and re-adjust as needed to make sure progress goals are met. As part of the benchmarking process, keep in mind benchmarks must be re-evaluated and updated on a regular basis to keep up with market changes and adjust company goals to continue to see successful results.
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Lindsey D.

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