Benchmarking is a generally usable method, which was first used by the company Xerox Corporation in the early 80’s of the 20th century.
Benchmarking is a method based on the systematic measurement and comparison of selected indicators. Its use is not limited only to strategic management, as stated by some sources. It can be used at any level of management and for almost any indicators. It is based on comparison of selected indicators against other reference values (benchmarks) that can be either historical (time series of values from 5 years back) or they can be compared against another reference entity (e.g. another comparable department or a comparable organization). The comparison is always relative. It can’t be said that higher or lower values for the parameters are bad or good. The biggest benefit of benchmarking is that different values provoke questions about what is causing the different value and because of this management should undergo to additional research.
Benchmarking is usable in almost all fields.