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How are you doing? Measuring Performance

PigCHAMP is pleased to provide pork producers with new benchmarking information that is designed to help you compare your operation's performance with a range of industry averages. We encourage you to compare your production numbers against the performance of the group and if you send us your information we will provide you with a personalized report with your ranking.

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By Dr. Stephanie Rutten, University of Minnesota

"Benchmarking" is a common buzzword in pork producer vocabularies. But what does it mean and why is it relevant? Most importantly, how can you use benchmarking to improve your operation?

The term "benchmark" was originally used by surveyors, who placed "benchmarks" on high points in the landscape that were then used as references for describing the area terrain. Most literally, then, a benchmark is a point for comparison. Pork producers have many benchmarks at their fingertips. In addition to annual government production reports, computerized databases such as PigCHAMP and PigCare are summarized periodically and offer producers industry performance information on select parameters. Such metrics, often reported as averages or percentiles, provide producers a sense of how their herd performance compares with the competition.

Unlike the term "benchmark," "benchmarking" refers to an active process. Specifically, it is the process of using benchmarks to identify areas for improvement, strategies to achieve improvement and implementation of those processes. Benchmarking is commonly used by corporations to improve productivity and efficiency, and to gain a competitive edge. Successful pork producers use benchmarking for the same reason.

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