This paper shows the results of performance improvement, which have been achieved in benchmarking projects in the wastewater industry in Germany over the last 15 years. A huge number of changes in operational practice and also in achieved annual savings can be shown, induced in particular by benchmarking at process level. Investigation of this question produces some general findings for the inclusion of performance improvement in a benchmarking project and for the communication of its results. Thus, we elaborate on the concept of benchmarking at both utility and process level, which is still a necessary distinction for the integration of performance improvement into our benchmarking approach. To achieve performance improvement via benchmarking it should be made quite clear that this outcome depends, on one hand, on a well conducted benchmarking programme and, on the other, on the individual situation within each participating utility.
Keywords: benchmarking, communication, efficiency, performance improvement