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Building Performance Benchmarking: Apples to OrangesMay 9, 2013
Previously we discussed how facility management benchmarking is more than merely comparing numbers and raw data — it requires the ability to look beyond those numbers and take factors such as future-proofing and productivity into consideration. Now let’s look at another challenge to benchmarking: the need to adjust and interpret numbers across multiple facilities. Until you use reliable methods for doing this, you’re simply comparing apples to oranges.
Let’s say you have a biopharma company that maintains six laboratories, three in various parts of the U.S. and three in other countries, and you want to make a comparative analysis of such basic issues as the cost per square foot of each facility. You can’t just take the raw data from each facility and average it out. For one thing, the costs of construction and manpower may vary wildly from location to location. The exchange rates of currencies in the various currencies probably affected the cost of each facility, and those relationships have probably continued to fluctuate in the years since the facilities were first designed and built. There’s also the issue of how each facility defines and measures its usable space — you have to recognize differences in measuring techniques and account for them in your analysis. Without making these and other considerations, your figures share no common “language.”
Only after you have smoothed out the variables in the six facilities’ special measurements, financial expenditures, construction time and other local variables can you make meaningful comparative analyses. It’s worth the effort, though, because now you can view your findings in terms of benchmarking, influencing factors, area summaries and design guidelines. An outsourced expert such as IMPEC Group can provide invaluable guidance and assistance in this area — which means you can start comparing apples to apples again!