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Delivering Superior Customer Value Though Marketing: A Benchmarking Approach Focusing on Harley Davidson - Essay Example

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Delivering Superior Customer Value Through Marketing: A Benchmarking Approach Focusing on Harley Davidson Abstract This study is an exploratory research into the prospects for enhancing customer value through marketing. It employs the benchmarking approach, which is first defined and described in a brief literature review…
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Delivering Superior Customer Value Though Marketing: A Benchmarking Approach Focusing on Harley Davidson

Download file to see previous pages... Thereafter, an industry profile helped to identify the companies that shall provide the basis for benchmarking. Performance measures were assessed and HD’s own metrics were compared with those of the benchmark companies. A relative assessment was made to narrow down the specific practices to be studied and evaluated, and finally adopted in the operations of HD. A suggested system for periodic monitoring and progress assessment was thereafter described to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the project. The plan suggested here is capable of several alternatives, although it is assumed in this study that financial statements and published industry reports are the best feasible sources of information. In a more full-blown study, however, it is necessary and advisable to conduct more direct data gathering procedures such as company visits, interviews, and direct observation of operations. Literature Review Benchmarking Theory Benchmarking has been defined in several ways, some technically stringent and some quite liberally. According to Minnesota Management and Budget (2012), benchmarking is described as ‘simply the comparison of one organization’s practices and performance against those of others.’ In this definition, benchmarking is thought to search for standards and ‘best practices’ that may be applied in the measurement of performance, with the aim of improving on it. Dalkir (2005) defined benchmarking as ‘the search for industrywide best practices that lead to superior performance…a tactical planning tool’ (p. 272). On the other hand, Zairi (1996) described benchmarking as something more than just a technique or tool; it was defined as a ‘very powerful concept, a change agent’ (p. 2). The cornerstone of benchmarking is its impact on behaviour modification, of enhancing discipline in focusing attention on the customer and how business processes may be improved for their benefit. The common thread running through all the different meanings is that benchmarking (1) seeks out best practices which a company could adopt (2) in order to improve its goods and/or service to its customers (3) by studying similar other companies or units where these best practices are employed. There are two kinds of benchmarking – internal and external. Benchmarking internall involves comparing among units in the same organization and adopting best practices within the same organization. Benchmarking externally involves comparing among companies, and adopting those best practices found to contribute to their success. Additionally, Dalkir (2005), citing Spendolini (1992) identified four types of benchmarking, namely: (1) Industry Group Measurements, wherein companies compare measurements of various aspects of their operation against corresponding data, usually published and provided to subscribers, pertaining to other players within their industry; (2) Best Practice Studies, which investigates and lists those practices that work to the advantage of the company; not providing metrics, they are not benchmarks per se, but they provide a useful bases for benchmarking research in general; (3) Cooperative Benchmarking, involving the measurement of vital production functions, the inputs, outputs and outcomes (such as in an internal audit) for the purpose of improving on them, with the assistance of the firm being studied; a variation of this is Collaborative Benchmarkin ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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