Your Benchmarking Toolbox: From Buzzword to Cost-saving Business Strategy

Sheila Johnston

With interest in benchmarking at an unprecedented high, there’s no better time to dive into this offering’s potential benefits and familiarize yourself with best practices that make benchmarking efforts successful. Ecova’s February 16th webinar, Boost Your Resource and Energy Benchmarking, responded to this need—with our expert providing insight into available benchmarking approaches, tips for yielding high-quality data, and strategies for translating benchmarking insight into action.

As described in the webinar, effective benchmarking includes the following key steps:

Understand the problem your business is trying to solve. Most companies turn to benchmarking to answer one of two basic questions: “How are we doing?” and “How do we know?” At a more specific level, these questions might pertain to the impact of operational programs and processes, the desire to identify underperforming facilities and compare overall performance against peers, or the need to adhere to local regulation. The ability to clarify your organization’s most pressing challenges into an overarching question ensures that benchmarking efforts are targeted and don’t waste time or resources.

Make sure data is accurate and usable. Good data is the foundation of successful benchmarking. A complete data set with established variables ensures that the information you’re gleaning is applicable and defensible. Our webinar provides important guidance to help you create parameters for your data set and make sure the data you yield is representative and relevant to your comparison points—so you can trust that you’re not comparing apples to oranges.

Use strong data visualizations to communicate to stakeholders. Telling a compelling story with your data helps leadership easily understand the benefits of benchmarking and follow-up actions—something that’s especially important if recommended next steps require additional investment. Bad data visualization can be misleading and confusing, which undermines the overall integrity of your benchmarking and may hurt your chances of corporate buy-in in the future.

Take action on the insight gleaned from benchmarking. Benchmarking can help you identify a wide variety of actions to manage resources more effectively, from low- and no-cost projects to more intensive capital investments. Knowing how to make the leap from data to action is perhaps the most vital part of a good benchmarking approach. Prioritize the projects or behavioral changes with the greatest potential return-on-investment. If possible, drill down to interval-level meter data or conduct either a virtual or on-site facility audit to gain the maximum visibility into energy usage. Outsourcing can also help you solve problems, especially if you’re facing limited internal expertise or time.

Ecova’s webinar is designed to benefit all businesses with an interest in benchmarking, from those with significant expertise but limited funds to well-funded organizations who seek guidance in understanding their data. Wherever you are on your benchmarking path, our experts are here to help you take the next step in answering your unsolved questions and positioning you for better resource management.

Find out more about how experts are using benchmarking to benefit their company’s bottom line by viewing the on-demand webinar.

Ecova’s webinars leverage the insight of our experts to make advanced sustainability concepts approachable and actionable for your business. Receive personal invites to future webinars, by subscribing here.

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