As 2016 comes to a close, I want to take some time to discuss how benchmarking can help improve a company’s performance. Bench- marking provides a firm with a comprehen- sive view of its business practices that can be used to discover areas where improvements
can be made. Through benchmarking, we can establish baselines, define best practices, and identify improvement opportunities. Integrating benchmarking as a strategic process will
result in valuable data that can spark discussion and lead to
the creation of new ideas and practices.
To help get started with this important business activity,
NAED offers a range of surveys and benchmarking products
that can improve decision-making. They include:
• The NAED PAR Report. Participants in PAR provide easily
obtainable financial and operational data through a secure,
confidential portal accessible only to Industry Insights, an
independent third-party research provider. Industry Insights
provides the Industry Overview Report free to all participants
($299 for nonparticipants) and offers an individualized com-
pany Profit Report for purchase.
Standard Electric Supply Co. has participated in the PAR
survey for years and it has provided us with great insights
into how our operations and financial position compare with
other distributors. This actionable comparative data is reviewed by the entire management team at our annual strategic planning retreat and used to create key performance metrics relating to profitability, personal productivity, and other
operational areas that are reviewed at our monthly senior
management team meetings.
Purchase the Industry Overview and/or PAR by contacting
Member Services at 888-791-2512 or memberservices@naed.
org and plan to participate in next year’s survey (which opens
in January) to compare your results year over year.
• The Compensation Report. This bi-annual report offers in-
depth analysis of compensation programs—information that
is essential to hiring and keeping good associates—provided
by NAED members and 975 companies in 30 other distribu-
tion organizations. The data presented is compiled through a
confidential survey administered by another third party, Profit
• The Bi-Annual Selling Services Benchmarking Survey. This
report provides a benchmark of the value-added services
NAED members currently offer their customers compared
with other distributors and can be used to develop a road map
for new services a company might want to offer in the future.
This year’s report is available to download from naed.org/
• The IT Expense Benchmarking Report. This provides a current picture of IT financial performance in the industry. Following the same template of PAR, this report features much
comparative data, including key expense benchmarks relating
to ERP systems, IT support, and hardware.
• Technology benchmarking reports for both contractors
and distributors are also available. By using these reports, a
distributor can gauge its challenges and opportunities against
its peers with the results that show how both distributors and
contractors are using technology.
• Finally, the Supply Chain Scorecard is soon to be updated
to an online platform for greater accessibility and flexibility.
With confidential data provided by NAED distributor members, this tool will create an industry-wide benchmarking
source of manufacturer performance measures to help set a
company’s operating strategies and better communicate with
The bottom line is that benchmarking can be a powerful
tool in improving your company’s profitability. I encourage
you to make the most of your membership by taking advantage of the benchmarking reports NAED has available. Visit
NAED.org/Research for more information. ;
Stern is president of Standard Electric Supply Co. in Milwaukee.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
Be better with
by Larry Stern
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