FamilyFarms Group is a strong proponent of benchmarking, and we encourage our members to benchmark many aspects of their family farm business. Harold Birch, Executive Vice-President and a founder of FamilyFarms Group, explains the value of benchmarking this way: “Information is knowledge that brings about the decisions for change.”
You may be asking yourself,
What is benchmarking?
- The process of comparing one's business practices and performance standards to other firms within one’s industry
- A proven technique to measure the effectiveness of a business compared to others in the same industry and accepted industry standards
- A management tool used to determine the effectiveness & profitability of a company’s products and/or services as compared to others in the same industry
The most commonly benchmarked area is financials, where financial indicators are developed and compared in order to assess a firm's overall competitiveness, efficiency, and productivity. However, there are many other areas to benchmark as well: HR, operations, business practices in the office, shop, and fields, and more.
At FamilyFarms Group, we focus on benchmarking.
- Gives targets for sustainable growth and improved operations
- Provides tangible economic benefits for your farm
- Generates goals for internal performance tracking
- Provides realistic & achievable targets
- Challenges operational complacency
- Creates an atmosphere conducive to continuous improvement
- Allows for the visualization of improvements, which can be a strong motivator for change
- Creates a sense of urgency for improvement
- Confirms the belief that there is a need for change
- Helps to identify weak areas and indicates what needs to be done to improve
Benchmarking in Peer Groups
Benchmarking against their peers on a wide variety of topics is an extremely popular aspect of our peer groups. FamilyFarms Group now has nine different peer group offerings that are extremely well attended. We have our four advanced training groups (general managers, operation managers, management development, and agronomy) and we now have five advisory peer groups (dads, women, finance managers, agriprenuers for our new farmers, and our newly-established Canadian peer group for all are Canadian farm operations). Imagine a meeting with producers like you where you can share and compare revenue by crop or employee hours worked, first-in-class agronomy techniques, or just discuss common stories on how to improve your office or shop.
The Bottom Line
The BIG reason we encourage our members to benchmark is the competitive advantage it provides. Because benchmarking is such a valuable tool, at FamilyFarms Group, benchmarking is done in a variety of ways and in many of our communications, meetings, training classes, and peer groups.
We use surveys, two annual conferences, various peer groups, 50 different training classes, and other means to benchmark data from our members on a variety of topics, including best-in-class internal management controls, equipment costs by region by type, field size and productivity, effective landowner relations, proven succession planning, comparative revenue management tools, state-of-the art agronomy advice, best “valued” inputs (price and performance) and, yes, even financials indicators (for your overall balance sheet and total P&L and profitability by your specific crop). FamilyFarms Group members understand and have experienced the value of benchmarking because it adds to their farm’s profitability and sustainability.
For more information about FamilyFarms Group and the ways our members use benchmarking to add to their bottom line and to enhance their family farming legacy for future generations, start the conversation with us today! Click the link below to request a free needs assessment.