This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

S-PLAY

The following tool has been adapted from the benchmarking tool developed by IHK-Projektgesellschaft mbH in Germany. It comprises a questionnaire along with a self evaluation section to identify areas where training and development might be useful.

The checklist

Please answer the following questions critically and honestly. It should take around 10 minutes.

Customer and market  

Do you know the market for your products or services?                                                              

  1. Yes, purchase and sales department inform us about it daily.
  2. Yes, we will inform us if customers` signals give rise to.
  3. Yes, we try to use different information to attain knowledge about the market.                           
  4. Yes, we do market research on a regular and systematic basis  

Do you actively adapt your work to the market conditions?

  1. Yes, decisions are taken daily.
  2. Yes, if customers signalize there is a need for decision.
  3. Yes, decisions are checked periodically with market observations                                          .
  4. Yes, there is a marketing concept in place which is implemented and checked regularly with the help of action plans.

Where do you sell your products and services?

  1. Regional
  2. National                                             
  3. Europe
  4. Worldwide

Do you compare your products and services with the current requirements of the market?

  1. No
  2. I investigate online, at fairs and exhibitions.
  3. I present myself on fairs and exhibitions.
  4. I use all possibilities of product comparison.

Do you know the expectations of your customers?

  1. Yes, we have daily contact with them.
  2. Yes, customer wishes get recorded and dealt with.
  3. Yes, we research the development of the consumer behaviour and included it in our work.
  4. Yes, our customers are getting actively involved in the product or service design (e.g. with interviews). 

How does your enterprise appear in public?

  1. We don't do public relations since our customers know us.
  2. From time to time we publish our enterprise and product information and receive customer’s feedback now and then.
  3. We publish information and are present with an own web-site. 
  4. We do systematic public relations and our customers are actively and continuously included in product and service design.

Cooperation

How do you imagine cooperation for your enterprise?

  1. As an exchange of experience
  2. As cooperation in sections
  3. As a work or tender community
  4. Foundation of a common subsidiary for the execution of the cooperation

What significance does cooperation have for your enterprise?

  1. We are not involved in any cooperation.
  2. I am interested in cooperative relations.
  3. Yes, I cooperate with regional enterprises.
  4. Yes, I cooperate with enterprises nationwide and Europe wide.

Are foreign languages needed in your enterprise?

  1. No, foreign languages are not required.
  2. Maybe in the long term.
  3. Yes, they are present, but would have to be improved.
  4. Yes, absolutely necessary, the required competences are present.

Corporate management

Are there ideas of the development of the enterprise in the future?

  1. No, long-term considerations are senseless.
  2. The operative daily problems hardly make long-term considerations possible.
  3. There are long-term considerations yes, however, they are not laid down in writing.
  4. Yes, there are long-term considerations, also laid down in writing.

Is there a system of entrepreneurial planning?

  1. No, there is no such a system.
  2. No, such a system shall/should be developed, however.
  3. Yes, it is planned, but not continuously.
  4. Yes, all important economic indicators are planned and their fulfillment is checked regularly.

Do you check the effectiveness of corporate actions?

  1. No, our order situation is good.
  2. Yes, a check is carried out based on economic indicators.
  3. Yes, we check our actions on the basis of the economic indicators and customer response.
  4. Yes, we check our actions on the basis of economic indicators, customer response and observations, how successful competitors act. We attempt to surpass them.

What is auditing for you?

  1. That is a job for others.
  2. A system of control.
  3. Control instrument/Management tool.
  4. Component of my corporate management.

Which instruments of audit do you mainly use?

  1. None.
  2. We use only spreadsheet analysis.
  3. We have an accounting department.
  4. As control and planning support.

How do you exchange information within the enterprise?

  1. The managing director has all information.
  2. The managing director passes relevant information on to his employees.
  3. An internal information exchange is carried out as circumstances require.
  4. We use the knowledge of all employees and organize a regular exchange.

How do you guarantee constant quality in your enterprise?

  1. We do not have any quality problems.
  2. We have a final check.
  3. We have fixed processes.
  4. We are certified according to a quality management system.

Products and services

Do you know and use the competitive advantage of your products/services?

  1. No, our products or services sell well.
  2. No, the topic would be important, however.
  3. Yes, we know why our products/services sell well. However our competitive advantage is not maintained systematically.
  4. Yes, it was determined systematically. With concrete methods of market processing we work on maintaining and improving our competitive advantage.

Do you regularly change your products and services?

  1. My product does not require any change.
  2. This is rarely the case.
  3. We adapt our products and services to the market requirements regularly.
  4. We adapt our products and services to the market requirements systematically and conduct active product development.

Are you looking for new ideas?

  1. My business is going on well.
  2. If I discover them by chance, I pick them up.
  3. I always look, what there is something new.
  4. I am looking for new ideas regularly and systematically.

Employees

Are employees asked to think and told about the company future?

  1. No, that is for the management.
  2. Yes, the employees are informed regularly.
  3. Yes, in selected areas employees are included in the development of aims and procedures.
  4. Yes, aims and procedures are developed together with the employees.

What do you think about the working atmosphere?

  1. The atmosphere among employees is not really good.
  2. It is ok, the employees meet each other on a neutral and rational level.
  3. Basically the cooperation is good but sometimes stress situations have a negative effect on the working atmosphere.
  4. The atmosphere at work is good, the employees like to work together. Points at issue are discussed on a rational level, some employees are friends with each other and also spent their leisure time together.

Are staff appraisals regularly held?

  1. No
  2. Only in the problematic cases.
  3. We try, however, they take place irregularly.
  4. Staff appraisals are held regularly.

Do you enable staff to work independently?

  1. With us everybody knows what he has to do. We do not need regulations therefore.
  2. We have clearly formulated work orders for the employees. Generally the tasks are completed reliably.
  3. We have clear aims and a clear distribution of responsibilities.
  4. We have an enterprise model which is arranged around teamwork, centre or island concepts which enables members of staff to work independently and outcome-oriented.

How do you assess the commitment and motivation of your employees?

  1. The economic situation has a negative effect on motivation and commitment.
  2. People do their job, which is enough.
  3. Motivation and commitment are good, however, they still could be improved.
  4. The employees feel well, they are highly motivated and do an excellent job.

Do regularl team meetings take place?

  1. No, it is not necessary, this is regulated by shorter methods.
  2. Only in the problematic cases.
  3. We try it, at present they are taking place irregularly.
  4. Meetings regularly take place at set dates.

Operational organisation

Do you have enough time to deal with the strategic development of your enterprise?

  1. Not really, we have too much work in our daily routine.
  2. We try, however, operational issues are more in focus.
  3. We reserve time for a strategic orientation, but would like to deal with those issues more intensively.
  4. Management and responsible employees take their time for this.

What is the role of computer technology in your enterprise?

  1. No role. The enterprise also works without this technology.
  2. I have not thought about it yet in detail. A failure has not happened yet.
  3. Partial. There are areas which are unable to work without computer technology.
  4. It plays a very large role. Many work processes in the enterprise are carried out with IT.  

Which means of communication are used in your company?

  1. Telephone, fax.
  2. Telephone, fax, e-mail.
  3. Telephone, fax, e-mail, internet.
  4. Telephone, fax, e-mail, internet, own website. 

The evaluation

The answer options correlate with the following scores:

1) = 1 point         2) = 2 points       3) = 3 points       4) = 4 points  

Fill in your points per question in the box on the right side of the question. Add up your points per set of questions. Then use the following table to see what the traffic lights show in the respective field.

Where do I stand?

     

Customer and market

to 8

to 16

to 24

Cooperation

to 4

to 8

to 12

Corporate management

to 9

to 18

to 28

Products and service

to 4

to 8

to 12

Employee

to 8

to 16

to 24

Operational organisation

to 4

to 8

to 12

Complete

to 37

to 74

to 112

 

    What does red mean?   - You must act!

In the areas where the traffic light is set on red there is a high need for improvement. The situation could become critical, does not have to necessarily, however. This depends on the specific characteristics of your enterprise. For clarification of these questions we can support you.

 

    What does yellow mean? - You should act!

Areas in which the traffic light is set on yellow could work more optimally. This means there are possibilities of improvement and potentials which can be worth money. Have a look at these areas more in detail and compare what works out better in other enterprises. Be specific!

 

    What does green mean?  You can act!

Areas in which the traffic light is set on green basically run optimally. There should be no acute need for action. Nevertheless you should watch out and react to changes early enough, better act then react.