Benchmarking

The relative nature of business competition has been amplified by the advent of precision yardsticks. Today, these can be used to map the encyclopaedic range of business functions. Advances in business analytics have fuelled the plotting of new metrics to evaluate performance, which prove invaluable tools in the short–medium term planning process. These can be employed to measure the distance from competition. The charting of these standards also serves as a litmus test for operational processes and management practices. They can even service a diagnostic function and help identify corrective action. While the profusion of benchmarks in the public domain allows for prima facie comparison, it offers little by way of the laser-like precision needed for investigative audit.

  • Process Benchmarking
  • Competetive Benchmarking
  • Performance Benchmarking
  • Operational Benchmarking
  • Financial Benchmarking
  • Strategic Benchmarking

The benchmarking practice at Phronesis™ amalgamates the best of our primary and secondary research capabilities, where our aggregate capacities span across 50 countries and 16 major international languages. We have developed a special capability in conducting niche benchmarking, which draws upon our combined faculty for reaching hard–to –get information. This dovetails the generic benchmarking practice of larger benchmark publishing agencies, by providing highly-focussed standalone benchmarks that fill any information gaps in these directories. Our customised benchmarking solutions cover functional (sales, marketing, IT, HR), process (product development, procurement, operations) and financial (revenue, cash flows, growth, taxation structure, profitability) areas, over the market, industry, and competition.

 
Case Studies >>
  • HR Benchmarking Study
    Case Study
    Sector |Consumer Products
    • Our client , a USA based HR consulting firm wanted to understand the best practices for human capital management.

    • Target countries in this study were USA , Canada , UK , France , Germany , Italy , Spain , Netherlands , Japan , Hong Kong , China , India , Singapore , UAE and Saudi Arabia.

      Job titles targeted – HR Director and  Senior HR Manager responsible for HR decision making.

    Approach

    Primary research was conducted with various stakeholders in companies operating in or as financial services hospitality sector and retail sector.

    Information covered during the research included total revenue split by operational departments , estimated revenue per employee versus cost per employee , software used to manage the employee information , payroll management , employee retention practices , talent acquisition , business priorities and objectives in line of human capital management , senior management versus junior management staff , employee information management and analysis capabilities and employee satisfaction rating.

    Other key information areas included human resource reporting mechanism , employee reward and recognition practices , HR performance parameters and key matrices followed , annual HR budget allocation versus actual spend , split of administrative activities by different hierarchies oh human resource departments , employee database management  and employee engagement activities at different level.

    Value/Results

    Peer to peer comparison of data.

    Data structuring and transformation into client specific format.

    Our client was able to benchmark the best practices for human capital and successfully deliver the HR consulting for its clients.

  • Margarine Usage in Hotels and Bakery
    Case Study
    Sector |Consumer Products
    • The research mandate was to understand the usage of margarine in bakery products and analyze the consumption pattern and bakery product wise usage of margarine.

    • Primary research was conducted with various stakeholders in companies operating in or as financial services hospitality sector and retail sector.

      Information covered during the research included total revenue split by operational departments , estimated revenue per employee versus cost per employee , software used to manage the employee information , payroll management , employee retention practices , talent acquisition , business priorities and objectives in line of human capital management , senior management versus junior management staff , employee information management and analysis capabilities and employee satisfaction rating.

      Other key information areas included human resource reporting mechanism , employee reward and recognition practices , HR performance parameters and key matrices followed , annual HR budget allocation versus actual spend , split of administrative activities by different hierarchies oh human resource departments , employee database management  and employee engagement activities at different level.

    Approach

    Phronesis assisted the client in defining suitable methodology, geographical coverage and various food service channels that are to be covered based on client’s research needs.

    Primary research was conducted among hotels, bakery shops, fast food chains and office canteens with multiple sizes. Interviews were conducted with purchase decision makers, chefs, and inventory managers who are responsible for buying margarine.

    Key information areas covered during the research included :

    • Purchase practice followed for margarine within the organization
    • Awareness and usage level of margarine
    • Average monthly spend and procurement levels for margarine in the last six months
    • Monthly consumption, spend levels in the last six months by different forms of margarine
    • Volume of margarine consumed by different applications such as liquid, soft/table and hard
    • Daily number of servings of various bakery products as the approximate usage of margarine
    • Top 5 dishes served using Margarine
    • Margarine purchase practice and overall market trends
    • Frequency of purchase / order placement cycle for margarine
    • Sources of margarine purchases
    • Awareness levels fat content in margarine items, in terms of percent
    • Major needs gaps faced and expectations from a margarine supplier.

    Value/Results

    A topline analysis of research results were presented to the client along with the actionable insights. Results were interpreted by geographical coverage and food service channel type.

    Study findings enabled the client to assist its end client in identifying pain points of food service channels, usage and trends for margarine in bakery products.

  • Identification and profiling of most sought after International management programs
    Case Study
    Sector | Education
    • Our client , a European University wanted to increase the international enrollments in its management programs. The client was interested in increasing both on campus and off campus enrollments particularly from the regions of Asia Pacific and Latin America. The client also wanted to understand the competition in the above defined market.

    • Phronesis Partners conducted exhaustive desk based research  to identify and asses top universities from around the world , offering both on and off campus management courses for international students.

      During the phase 2 of research , 3500 management aspirants who were planning to study internationally were surveyed across Asian and Latin American markets.

    Approach

    The objectives of the research were to identify the most sought after international universities by the Asian and Latin American students , asses key student segments and demographics , build detailed profiles of universities identified as top competition and suggest strategic recommendations and final insights.

    Various factors such as countries with maximum amount of student outflow for management programs along with  their desired destinations were evaluated.

    Detailed university profiles were prepared based on intelligence gathered through desk research and surveys.

    The results were collected and analyzed through statistical methods to churn out various insights.

    Value/Results

    The research and information helped our client to gain  insightful information about the current trends in the student outflow market for management study. Also , the reports helped our client to understand and analyze the competition. By the help of the results from the research , our client was able to see a rise in the number of international students from the intended regions.

  • HR Benchmarking Study
    Case Study
    Sector | Education
    • Our client , a USA based HR consulting firm wanted to understand the best practices for human capital management.

    • Target countries in this study were USA , Canada , UK , France , Germany , Italy , Spain , Netherlands , Japan , Hong Kong , China , India , Singapore , UAE and Saudi Arabia.

      Job titles targeted – HR Director and  Senior HR Manager responsible for HR decision making.

    Approach

    Primary research was conducted with various stakeholders in companies operating in or as financial services hospitality sector and retail sector.

    Information covered during the research included total revenue split by operational departments , estimated revenue per employee versus cost per employee , software used to manage the employee information , payroll management , employee retention practices , talent acquisition , business priorities and objectives in line of human capital management , senior management versus junior management staff , employee information management and analysis capabilities and employee satisfaction rating.

    Other key information areas included human resource reporting mechanism , employee reward and recognition practices , HR performance parameters and key matrices followed , annual HR budget allocation versus actual spend , split of administrative activities by different hierarchies oh human resource departments , employee database management  and employee engagement activities at different level.

    Value/Results

    Peer to peer comparison of data.

    Data structuring and transformation into client specific format.

    Our client was able to benchmark the best practices for human capital and successfully deliver the HR consulting for its clients.

  • Utilities Employee Retirement Intelligence Research
    Case Study
    Sector | Energy & Utility
    • The research mandate was to extract the intelligence from institutional investors who advise corporates tin designing of  retirement plans. Also to understand which are the components that they recommend and what all features should it include.

    • Research was conducted across North America and Europe which included surveying of  80 institutional investors.

    Approach

    The topics covered during the research were :

    • Defined benefits
    • Plan definitions
    • Retirement age
    • Retirement benefit in normal scenario and early age retirement
    • Vesting schedules
    • Compensation plans
    • Enrolment
    • Annuity option
    • Forfeitures
    • Participation requirement
    • Types of defined benefit plans

    Value/Results

    The finding of the surveys helped our client to gain  insightful information on the appropriate designing of  retirement plans. Also ,  the information helped our client to analyze their current status of  retirement plans and plan for future accordingly.

  • Operational Intelligence among Financial service providers
    Case Study
    Sector | Financial Services
    • Our client is an European consulting firm . The purpose of the research was to benchmark the operational process of financial service provider firms across the European and North American markets.

    • — Discussions with financial service provider firms

      — Developing a list of about 4500 key people in operations/IT and operations departments of each company using a combination of paid data sources and snowball sampling approach.

      — Discussions were conducted with key stakeholders within the target firms covering about 200 data points.

      — Informal discussions with ex-employees to gain deeper insights

      — Large organizations with annual revenue of more than US $750 million in each industry were targeted.

    Approach

    Listing out the key roles and job titles for operations management and customer services in financial services provider firms. Raw quantitative data along with insights for ‘why’ and ‘how’ were collected.

    Key information explored during the research included number of finance operations employees deployed , number of IT security employees managing the security services solution , splitting of total efforts accounted by each group member in a consolidated security solution or network solution group, support staff ratio for active users, number of connected devices supported by the network at one time and revenue allocation by each staff member in network and security solution group.

    Other key information areas included total expenditure and split by group member , direct and indirect expenses incurred by each staff, depreciation by equipment , capital expenditure by service line and by service staff , device management for network IT security solution group , network and security devices installed across the organization, auditing process and frequency , contingency plan and disaster recovery management , server maintenance , service level agreement in place and risk and compliant management policies.

    Collation of information and preparation of final output ( data in excel) and key takeaways (PowerPoint presentation).

    Value/Results

    Benchmarking of data helped our client in consulting of its clients to improve their effectiveness and operational efficiency of financial service firms.

  • HR Benchmarking Study
    Case Study
    Sector | Financial Services
    • Our client , a USA based HR consulting firm wanted to understand the best practices for human capital management.

    • Target countries in this study were USA , Canada , UK , France , Germany , Italy , Spain , Netherlands , Japan , Hong Kong , China , India , Singapore , UAE and Saudi Arabia.

      Job titles targeted – HR Director and  Senior HR Manager responsible for HR decision making.

    Approach

    Primary research was conducted with various stakeholders in companies operating in or as financial services hospitality sector and retail sector.

    Information covered during the research included total revenue split by operational departments , estimated revenue per employee versus cost per employee , software used to manage the employee information , payroll management , employee retention practices , talent acquisition , business priorities and objectives in line of human capital management , senior management versus junior management staff , employee information management and analysis capabilities and employee satisfaction rating.

    Other key information areas included human resource reporting mechanism , employee reward and recognition practices , HR performance parameters and key matrices followed , annual HR budget allocation versus actual spend , split of administrative activities by different hierarchies oh human resource departments , employee database management  and employee engagement activities at different level.

    Value/Results

    Peer to peer comparison of data.

    Data structuring and transformation into client specific format.

    Our client was able to benchmark the best practices for human capital and successfully deliver the HR consulting for its clients.

  • Impact of Solvency II regulations – Insurance Market Behaviour Study
    Case Study
    Sector | Financial Services
    • The research mandate was to understand the preparedness of life and non life insurers for Solvency II regulations and

      gauge the perception of insurance industry to follow and comply with Solvency II regulations.

      • Target organizations were insurance companies with net written premium of GBP 500 million and above across .
      • Target countries were UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Nordics and Benelux.
      • A total of 75 interviews were completed covering titles such as CRO, CFO, VP and Director level.

    Approach

    Primary research was conducted with senior level executives in life and non-life insurance companies with knowledge about the risk and compliance management.

    Information covered during the research included  areas such as :

    • Current stage , approach and planning for Solvency II regulations
    • Organizational readiness for implementing Solvency II regulations
    • Training provided to the current staff
    • Internal budget and resource requirement
    • Reporting and management of information method to comply with Solvency II regulations and overall business perception
    • Impact of delaying the implementation of Solvency II regulations
    • Strategies post implementation
    • Challenges, issues and concerns to follow and implement Solvency II regulations.

    Value/Results

    Research results were provided to the client which included the country wise analysis which  in turn enabled our client’s team to understand the different approaches taken by insurance companies.

    Summarized results were presented to the client in a PowerPoint presentation format with basic charts and top line analysis .

    Our client was able to integrate the information into its consulting report which helped insurance companies to understand the various approaches and strategies to deal with the challenges that stem from Solvency II regulations.

  • Utilities Employee Retirement Intelligence Research
    Case Study
    Sector | Financial Services
    • The research mandate was to extract the intelligence from institutional investors who advise corporates tin designing of  retirement plans. Also to understand which are the components that they recommend and what all features should it include.

    • Research was conducted across North America and Europe which included surveying of  80 institutional investors.

    Approach

    The topics covered during the research were :

    • Defined benefits
    • Plan definitions
    • Retirement age
    • Retirement benefit in normal scenario and early age retirement
    • Vesting schedules
    • Compensation plans
    • Enrolment
    • Annuity option
    • Forfeitures
    • Participation requirement
    • Types of defined benefit plans

    Value/Results

    The finding of the surveys helped our client to gain  insightful information on the appropriate designing of  retirement plans. Also ,  the information helped our client to analyze their current status of  retirement plans and plan for future accordingly.

  • Investors Perception Study
    Case Study
    Sector | Financial Services
    • Our client , an equity research firm wanted to understand the appetite of institutional investors to invest across a range of financial products and what parameter they use for deciding such financial products for investment.

    • A total of 50 interviews each in US, Canada, UK, France, Russia, Switzerland, China, India, Australia, Hong Kong, UAE  and Saudi Arabia were conducted.

      Respondents were people who are placing the business with investment managers and in charge of investment decisions.

      Investment Managers, Financial Advisors and Financial Consultants were targeted.

    Approach

    The topics covered during the research were :

    • Changing need of investments
    • Proportion of investment across range of financial products
    • Decision factors
    • Risk and return appetite
    • Future investment plans
    • Tools and analysis models used
    • Cross border investment strategies
    • Third party advisory needs
    • Sector specific preference for investments.

    Value/Results

    The finding of the surveys helped our client to gain  insightful information on the appetite of institutional investors. Also ,  the information helped our client to analyze their current status of  their financial products and plan for future accordingly.

  • Business Model Analysis of PE Firms – Billion Dollar Private Equity Firm
    Case Study
    Sector | Financial Services
    • The objective of the research was to  understand the private equity investor industry in terms of evolution and growth and  evaluate the business model and business dynamics of private equity investor industry.

      • Research was conducted across US, UK, France, Germany, India, China and Singapore to collect the views of PE firms about future growth drivers and basic business principles.
      • 2000 phone based interviews were conducted in mid to large size private equity firms.

    Approach

    Administration of extensive primary research among individuals who are responsible for s=investment strategy development in private investor industry.

    Survey instrument was designed in consultation with client.

    Identification of strategies adopted by PE firms when access to debt gets tougher and states which requires PE firms to restructure their business model.

    Identification of the necessity for re-examining the working model of PE forms in the context of competitive market.

    Evaluation of the impact of debt level on leverage buy out returns and corresponding strategy of PE firms to access the debt

    Assessed the various structures of PE firms to understand their business model.

    Determination of  fallacy in the assumptions in strategy development which could bring PE firms to the brink of bankruptcy.

    Value/Results

    A detailed report was presented to the client covering debate on the role of PE investors in failing to turnaround the companies taken over.

    Explored strategies and various alternative to make the PE firm’s business model more efficient and lucrative.

  • Competitive Intelligence – Manufacturing sector
    Case Study
    Sector | Manufacturing & Construction
    • — Research was done globally across 7 manufacturing sub-verticals. It covered organizations with annual revenue over $500 Million.

      — A sample list of over 3000 senior level respondents across these organizations using paid databases such as D&B, One Source, Kompass and Bloomberg was build.

      — Interviews were conducted across organizations. In many cases , multiple discussions were conducted across each organization to collect information across 120 questions covering multiple processes of an organization.

    Approach

    Our research approach included development of research pitch to respondents , country wise and role wise targets for good mix of representation to develop high quality research . Identify anomalies/inconsistencies and cross checking for accuracy , developing the benchmarking matrix across the various data points and validating the findings with key stakeholders within competitor companies and tweaking them accordingly.

    Information areas in the research included historical financial information of the firm and unit under consideration for research , annual COGS(cost of goods sold) and breakout across various heads, employee/work force information, touch point across various processes and firm’s own assessment around how each of these processes stack-up against competition/ sector peers.

    Key areas such as detailed manufacturing profile , details of various matrices around various cost components and productivity elements , manufacturing cycle time information , matrices around quality management for production , inventory type and matrices , information around manufacturing initiatives and innovations , impact of new initiatives in the last 3 years and information on production plan management were also covered during the research.

    Preparation of final output ( data in excel) and key takeaways (PowerPoint presentation).

    Value/Results

    Detailed insight helped our client in consultation of its clients to improve their various processes and in identifying the areas of improvement.

  • Private Infrastructure Investment Perception
    Case Study
    Sector | Manufacturing & Construction
    • 100 interviews each in US, UK, France, Germany, UAE and Saudi Arabia were conducted.

      Target respondents were fund managers, investment managers and investment analysts who evaluates the investment options

      Phone based interviews were conducted with companies having more than USD 1 billion under asset management.

    Approach

    Primary research was conducted amongst pension funds and sovereign wealth funds to gauge their perception towards investment in private infrastructure

    The topics covered during the research were :

    • Investment perception in private infrastructure
    • Infrastructure investment scope
    • Investor’s suitability for private infrastructure
    • Investment vehicles
    • Investment methods/financing
    • Asset risks and consideration
    • Views on public private partnership

    Value/Results

    The finding of the surveys helped our client to gain  insightful information on perceptions of institutional investor on providing finances for private infrastructure. Also ,  the information helped our client to analyze their current status of  their infrastructure and construction services and plan for future accordingly.

  • Usage and Satisfaction Study of Seeds and Fertilizers
    Case Study
    Sector | Manufacturing & Construction
    • US, UK, France, Germany, China and India.

    Approach

    • Developed a list of about 2000 farmers through directory of agriculture associations and snowball sampling method
    • Qualitative discussions were then conducted with these farmers to understand “why” and “how”

    Value/Results

    Study findings enabled the client to understand the pain points and obstacles in the success of its brand over competitors, satisfaction of farmers and brand preferences.

  • Margarine Usage in Hotels and Bakery
    Case Study
    Sector | Oil & Chemical
    • The research mandate was to understand the usage of margarine in bakery products and analyze the consumption pattern and bakery product wise usage of margarine.

    • Target countries were US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Nordics, Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, India, China and Australia.

      A total of 2000 interviews were conducted.

    Approach

    Phronesis assisted the client in defining suitable methodology, geographical coverage and various food service channels that are to be covered based on client’s research needs.

    Primary research was conducted among hotels, bakery shops, fast food chains and office canteens with multiple sizes. Interviews were conducted with purchase decision makers, chefs, and inventory managers who are responsible for buying margarine.

    Key information areas covered during the research included :

    • Purchase practice followed for margarine within the organization
    • Awareness and usage level of margarine
    • Average monthly spend and procurement levels for margarine in the last six months
    • Monthly consumption, spend levels in the last six months by different forms of margarine
    • Volume of margarine consumed by different applications such as liquid, soft/table and hard
    • Daily number of servings of various bakery products as the approximate usage of margarine
    • Top 5 dishes served using Margarine
    • Margarine purchase practice and overall market trends
    • Frequency of purchase / order placement cycle for margarine
    • Sources of margarine purchases
    • Awareness levels fat content in margarine items, in terms of percent
    • Major needs gaps faced and expectations from a margarine supplier

    Value/Results

    A topline analysis of research results were presented to the client along with the actionable insights. Results were interpreted by geographical coverage and food service channel type.

    Study findings enabled the client to assist its end client in identifying pain points of food service channels, usage and trends for margarine in bakery products.

  • Usage and Satisfaction Study of Seeds and Fertilizers
    Case Study
    Sector | Oil & Chemical
    • Our client is a leading provider of seeds, fertilizers and other chemical products for farming and agriculture.

      • The objective of the study was to understand how frequently the farmers use fertilizers for different crops and their satisfaction with client brand over its competitors’ brands.
    • US, UK, France, Germany, China and India.

    Approach

    • Developed a list of about 2000 farmers through directory of agriculture associations and snowball sampling method
    • Qualitative discussions were then conducted with these farmers to understand “why” and “how”

    Value/Results

    Study findings enabled the client to understand the pain points and obstacles in the success of its brand over competitors, satisfaction of farmers and brand preferences.

  • Competitive Intelligence Study
    Case Study
    Sector | Tech & Telecom
    • A leading telecom provider wanted to understand their competitors’ ongoing sales & marketing efforts, their product strategy and the sales trend for existing products; specifically in emerging markets.

    • Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, China, India and Malaysia.

    Approach

    • Helped the client to develop the key information areas for each required insight
    • Used a combination of primary and secondary research to dig out the key insights
    • Within the primary research, in-depth interviews were conducted with multiple stakeholders across multiple locations
    • Secondary research was used to validate the findings from primary research
    • Along with the key information on various data points, a detailed profile of each competitor was constructed

    Value/Results

    • Comprehensive Intelligence report containing Product, Channel & Marketing Strategies combined with Sales information about competitors helped the client in building more concrete and focused marketing plans
    • Peer group segmentation for benchmarking across various divisions of Clients provides “Food for Thought” to Senior Managers.
    • Analysis of channel, marketing and advertising campaigns coupled with sales numbers helped in understanding consumer needs
    • The analysis also highlights high growth markets and specific relevant trends
    • As a final point, intelligent mix of right information at the right time helped our client build effective plans and meet their business goals.
  • Operational Benchmarking among IT Providers
    Case Study
    Sector | Tech & Telecom
    • Our client, an European consulting firm wanted to benchmark the operational processes of IT provider firms across the Europe and North American markets.

    • Europe and North American markets.

    Approach

    • Exploratory and background research were executed by developing a list of about 4500 key contact people in operations/IT and Finance department of each company using a combination of paid data sources and snowball sampling approach.
    • Phronesis conducted discussions with the key stakeholders within the target firms covering about 200 data points
    • Informal discussions with ex-employees to gain deeper insights
    • Qualitative information was collected to understand “why” and “how”
    • Listing out the key roles and job titles for operations management and customer services in IT provider firms
    • Assisted client to prioritize the data points to be collected
    • Large organizations with annual revenue more than US$750 million in each industry were targeted

    Value/Results

    Benchmarking data helped the client to consult IT firms to improve the effectiveness and operational efficiency of their IT networks and security services.

  • Study on Business Innovation in Pharmaceutical Sector
    Case Study
    Sector | Healthcare
    • The objective of the research was to understand the different types of innovation used by pharmaceutical companies to develop competitive advantage.

    • Specific target countries were US, Brazil, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, India, China, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

      A total of 2,000 interviews were conducted.

    Approach

    Interviews were conducted using a mix of  the online business panel and telephonic approach.

    Key information areas covered during the research were :

    • Identification of the creative approach and methods used by business to streamline their production process
    • Determination of the areas where businesses are looking to improve using creativity and innovation
    • Parameters used by businesses to benchmark their process performance before and after innovation
    • Talents and skill sets employed by businesses to bring into innovation
    • Critical business process, challenges and barriers to implement innovation

    Value/Results

    Benchmarking analysis was conducted to understand how organizations  differentiate in their business strategies, products and services using innovation.

    Study findings enabled our client to help and consult its clients with innovation across business models and prepare for developing competitive advantage in each of the target countries.