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Blackerby Associates

Benchmarking and Assessment for Manufacturers






Not-for-Profit &

Diagnostic thermometer

The first step in any enterprise transformation is to assess current conditions. Usually, this assessment includes a benchmarking study, to assess the firm's position relative to its market competitors. A high-performance enterprise will perform in the top quartile of firms in its competitive market.

Below are some data sources for benchmarking studies. Blackerby Associates can access these data and analyze them for you, using some or all of these sources:

  • U.S. Census Bureau data sources:

    • Economic Census occurs every five years. Currently-available data are from 1997. The 2002 census (conducted in December) data should be available in October or so of 2003. This census tracks virtually every manufacturer in the U.S., and data may be disaggregated by NAICS code (similar to old SIC codes), and by state, county, metro area and zip code. The data include number of establishments, value of shipments, annual payroll and number of paid employees.

    • Annual Survey of Manufacturers occurs each of the four years between Economic Censuses. It includes virtually all manufacturers with more than 500 employees, and a random sample (subject to standard error) of manufacturers with fewer than 500 employees. The same set of smaller manufacturers is surveyed each year in the four-year series between Economic Censuses. The data may be disaggregated by NAICS code and by state. The data include: number of employees and payroll, number production workers and their hours and wages, value added, cost of materials, value of shipments and capital expenditures. Data also include, by state, beginning and ending inventories (raw, WIP and FG), capital expenditures (buildings and equipment), fringe benefits, energy costs and electricity usage and cost.

    • County Business Patterns is an annual survey (most recent data are for 2000) showing information by size of business, by NAICS code and by state, county and metro area. It shows firms, establishments, employment and payroll. Also available by size of business is information about establishment births and deaths and major expansions or contractions.

  • Performance Benchmarking Service provided by the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (an MEP Center). The benchmarking database has about 7,000 records covering about 4,000 firms. It has a high representation of automotive firms, but includes lots of firms in other industries as well. Reports are available in two versions, full and light. The full analysis may include as many as 250 questions, is extremely thorough, and can be customized for your needs. The light analysis is based on 50 preselected groups, and may be available on-line. The PBS staff can also perform custom analyses to focus on specific areas of concern.

  • QuickView provided by the Central New York Technology Development Organization (an MEP Center) has a somewhat larger and more diverse database, and is based on 229 questions. The report is a series of histograms placing your company in a "high" (top quartile), "average" (middle two quartiles) or "low" (bottom quartile) position relative to peers in the database. It also highlights the top areas needing improvement.