Month: February 2018

Radius Indiana Benchmarks Regional Advantages

By: Matt Craig
Director of Crane Community Support

Benchmarking is a process companies use to evaluate various aspects of their processes and results in comparison to best practice companies’ processes, usually within a peer group defined for the purposes of comparison. This then allows organizations to develop plans to make improvements or adopt specific best practices, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but is often treated as a continuous process in which organizations continually seek to improve their practices.

The term benchmark originates from the chisel marks that surveyors made in stone structures, into which an angle-iron could be placed to form a “bench” for a leveling rod, thus ensuring that a leveling rod could be accurately repositioned in the same place in the future.

Benchmarking is mostly used to measure performance using a specific indicator (cost per unit of measure, productivity per unit of measure, or defects per unit of measure) resulting in a metric of performance that is then compared to others. In 1994, one of the first technical journals named “Benchmarking: An International Journal” was published.

In 2008, a comprehensive survey on benchmarking was commissioned by The Global Benchmarking Network, a network of benchmarking centers representing 22 countries.

1. Mission and Vision Statements and Customer (Client) Surveys are the most used (by 77% of organizations) of 20 improvement tools, followed by SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) (72%), and Informal Benchmarking (68%). Performance Benchmarking was used by 49% and Best Practice Benchmarking by 39%.
2. The tools that were likely to increase in popularity the most over the next three years were Performance Benchmarking, Informal Benchmarking, SWOT, and Best Practice Benchmarking. Over 60% of organizations that were not currently using these tools indicated they were likely to use them in the next three years.

A recent Radius Indiana benchmarking effort was intended to compare our Region to some other regions that have had historical success in growing the federal employment base. By using gold standard Site Selector metrics, we anticipate being able to better set our own targets and learn from other regions. In this way, we learn how well the targets perform and, more importantly, the metrics that explain why these regions are successful.

In 2017, Radius contracted with Hickey & Associates LLC to collect and analyze data comparing the Radius region to four other regions that have a historically large federal employee presence. This Benchmarking case study was to address several common Site Selector metrics of Labor, Taxes, Real estate and Community factors.

The initial step in building the demographics matrix was identification and selection of the workforce categories to be compared.  Utilizing the Labor Department Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) categories as the source, 15 specific occupations were selected as the primary data vehicle for wages and population benchmarking. These occupations represent a broad mix present in many federal organizations that have a predominately civilian workforce.

With the labor categories set, it was now necessary to determine the regions for comparison.  Here, we were looking for regions of the United States that house a large number of federal government employees. We obtained a matrix of federal employment by state, by agency, from a file that was constructed by Governing Magazine, for an article in that same publication.  The source is indicated as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Hickey & Associates and Radius parsed through the matrix in a qualitative/quantitative manner to select the best benchmarking regions. The OPM data showed that the vast majority of federal government workers applicable to our study reside in the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which is inclusive of the Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland Beltway regions. The selection process was repeated to select additional comparative MSA’s of Greater Chicago IL, San Diego CA; and Hampton Roads-Norfolk, VA.

The results of the benchmarking comparisons showed that the Radius region generated a 20%-40% savings in labor and other business climate expenses, versus these heritage federal government employment centers. Though labor availability was obviously less than the heritage federal government employment centers, analysis showed that there is ample volume to service a significant growth in federal government employment in the Radius region.

Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support

Connect with us


National Site Selectors Sign On For Radius Indiana Economic Development Course

BEDFORD, Ind. (Feb. 9, 2018) – Radius Indiana released the list of speakers for its second regional Economic Development for Community Leadership Program being held March 27-29, 2018 at the French Lick Resort.

Speakers will feature national site selectors Jenny Massey, co-founder and president of FairWinds Advisors and Geoffrey Troan, principal at Sandridge Consulting, LLC, who will serve as the keynote speaker for the opening dinner at the conference.

The session also includes economic development experts, marketing consultants, legal advisors as well aspresentations from Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana and chair of the Indiana Economic Development Association board of directors, who will lead two sessions at the conference focused on Strategic Planning and Community Relations and Collaboration.

“I am excited to join Radius for this conference again this year,” said Dant Chesser. “Regionally, this is the only conference of its kind and gives our economic development community a chance to connect with community leaders. The course offers education and real-world tools and tactics, which can help counties, cities and towns grow business and boost local economies.”

Other speakers and sessions include: Introduction to Economic Development with Jim Plump, Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation; Real Estate/Site Development with Chelsey Manns, Manns Consulting; Business Finance with Matt Eckerle, Umbaugh and Associates, and Dave Umpleby, Krieg Devault; and Business Retention and Expansion with Jason Hester, Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation.

“After the success of last year’s conference, I look forward to bringing it to a new audience in 2018. I believe that education is a vital part of this industry and Radius looks forward to another opportunity to enhance knowledge and experience among community leaders who are eager to learn from others as well as share their own stories,” said Radius Indiana President and CEO Jeff Quyle.

Registration for the Radius Indiana Economic Development for Community Leadership Program, which takes place March 27, 28 and 29, is available at Registration for leaders in the Radius eight-county region is $400, and $475 for those who live outside the region.

Radius also plans to make several scholarships available from its own office as well as area utilities and banks. Local Economic Development Organizations and those interested in attending are encouraged to contact the Radius Indiana office to learn more about scholarship opportunities in their area.