Benchmarking is the process of comparing one organization with another or many others, and gain information on the organization’s philosophy and practices that will enable to have idea as to what needs improvement and what does not. In other words, it is the practice of being humble enough to know and admit that there are others are better at something. With that in mind, one should be willing to learn from others who do it better (Coers et al, 2001).
A good example of benchmarking would be to compare and contrast Nordstrom and Home Depot. It may seem a little out of touch at first to compare two stores who do not have the same specialty, but a further look into their profiles show that they do share something in common. Nordstrom may specialize in department stores while Home Depot may specialize in hardware and building supplies, but both companies use the same market discipline to run their businesses. Both Nordstrom and Home Depot focus on customer intimacy as their market discipline. Customer intimacy is when one focuses on a certain groups of customers who like “extreme responsiveness to their specialized needs” (Coers et al, 2001). Both companies make people who are willing to pay extra for this type of special service their target. Thus, both companies empower their employees and make sure they are knowledgeable enough and can provide total customer care. Nordstrom does this by providing customers an attractive store, competitive pricing of their sales inventory of shoes, clothes, accessories, and cosmetics, personal shoppers, many salespeople to help customers, and a “no questions asked” return policy. Not only that, their culture is very much centered on individual initiative that requires frontliners to make their own decisions in handling customers (Spector & McCarthy, 2005). Home Depot, on the other hand, provides not only the hardware but also the tools, the knowledge, and materials needed for your projects in the home (Cohen & Graham, 2000). Both believe that the best kind of service is that centered on humility wherein the one giving the service tries his or her best to put himself or herself in the customers shoes and know what is best in a certain situation that will make the customer happy.
The advertising of medications has always been a subject of controversy since the question of whether it is ethical to even advertise medications comes up. In this case, the question is whether pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to advertise directly to consumers when in fact a prescription is need for the medication they are advertising. From the perspective of the pharmaceutical company who manufactures the medication, they would want to make sure that they actually sell enough of the drug in order to make money from it. They want to make the public aware that a certain product is available. They also want the public to know that their product is better than other products that are available in the market. Thus, advertising. Public awareness of a certain product will always increase with advertising whether it be through print media, radio, or television. Their main reason, of course, is mainly for profit.
In my opinion though, pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to do so even if I know that they advertise to make profit, for the following reasons: (1) it increases public awareness of the existence of such a drug; (2) it educates people on what these drugs are for; and (3) it gives people a choice in terms of treatment and treatment modalities. I believe that as a patient or consumer, we have the right to know about the existence of a certain drug and the truth is, if there is no advertisement regarding a drug’s existence, we would not know a thing about it. In this day and age, we should be educated enough to choose whether or not we would want to use a certain drug or not or if there are other treatment modalities available for us. In which case, one really good way to increase awareness and knowledge is through advertising.
As to the problem of needing a prescription for these drugs, I believe that it is a prudent safeguard since drugs should still be regulated. The need for a prescription appropriately checks and balances any advertisement since it protects consumers from possible misuse and abuse of a drug.
Cohen, D., and Graham, R. ( 2000). The Project Manager’s MBA. USA: Jossey-Bass.
Coers, M., Gardner, C., Raybourn, C., and Higgins, L. (2001). Benchmarking. Houston, Texas, USA: American Productivity and Quality Center.
Spector, R., and McCarthy, P (2005). The Nordstrom way to customer service excellence. USA: Wiley.