RATIONALE FOR USING BENCHMARKING TOOLS TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES
Keywords:benchmarking, small and medium business, efficiency
The article seeks to provide a rationale for using a benchmarking toolkit to enhance the small and medium business efficiency along with exploring the primary types and the content of benchmarking. To assess the possibility of applying benchmarking instruments as to the enterprise business processes, the study offers a framework of indicators to manage the performance efficiency of small and medium-sized enterprises. A comparative assessment of the competitiveness of consumer goods manufacturing sectoral structure patterns in Turkey, China and the EU has been carried out. The following criteria to compare the alternatives were selected out of the most significant factors affecting business competitiveness in the given industry: 1) price of finished goods; 2) product quality; 3) payment convenience; 4) meeting customer demands; 5) brand awareness; 6) customer loyalty to a manufacturer. Ranking the factors hindering sustainable development of small and medium businesses allowed to identify the most significant ones, such as: competition resulted from shadow economy, low investment activity, barriers to finished goods sales, acute shortage of qualified personnel, insufficient focus to innovation, lack of effective marketing, lack of domestic equipment and raw materials. To eliminate the negative effects of the impact factors, a hierarchical model of coherent development strategies at different levels (national, regional and the enterprise level) has been suggested through the identification by means of benchmarking the reference samples (standards) for individual components of a consumer goods industry development plan or a set of individual projects. The implementation of this approach contributes to enhancing the investment process, boosting innovation and increasing the efficiency of resources utilization by small and medium businesses.