MRO Q&A: How and where can I benchmark downtime and uptime in the bagged salad industry?

MRO Q&A is a Food Processing series addressing maintenance, repair and operational issues in food plants.

Q. How and where can I benchmark downtime and uptime in the bagged salad industry?

A. McGraw-Hill published a book titled Benchmarking for Competitive Advantage, written by Robert Boxwell (1994). This book could be very helpful in developing a benchmarking strategy. However, your question is very specific – bagged salads – and it seems to be attempting to focus on identifying potential partners and data sources for the collection of data. Your food industry association and equipment companies as well as their respective industry associations probably will be your best sources for general information.

The major issue with collaborative benchmarking is sharing detailed information. Your first question will be how much detailed information are you willing or capable of sharing with direct competitors? Before you undertake a benchmarking project of this magnitude you will need to develop a baseline of your performance so you have a point of reference against which you can measure and share data points. To gather the specific information you desire you may want to undertake a third party survey, which is shared among all participants and does not identify the results by company.

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