The “opt-out” movement is gaining traction. This is a name used to describe the decision by some parents to keep their children from participating in standardized tests. I can’t comment on the quality of the tests or the subjects being tested, but comparisons do matter. Competition is how things get decided, resources get allocated and society functions. Comparison is how we keep score.

Who among us does not ask the following two questions?

1. How am I doing – in absolute terms?

2. How am I doing – compared to…?   

I have read that there are theological and philosophical problems with competition and comparisons.  But, I have also read that most of us turn to the sports page first.

Horse races, football games, test scores and income statements all require a little comparative information to be truly meaningful.  This month Peter De Kok is  joining us as a special contributor. His focus is benchmarking.  

Peter has studied the subject for several years and provided leadership for the MIA benchmarking study. No stranger to the stone industry, Peter founded GranQuartz in 1972 and ran it until he sold the company in 2008.  He has been a supporter of the MIA for more than thirty years.

MIA members can download a copy of the benchmarking study at the MIA Website.

If you are not a member, now might be a good time to consider it.  By the way, the new OSHA Silica rules really are a wakeup call. The stone industry needs a unified voice to get the attention of our government.  I think that the MIA is the most viable voice. It is a good organization, one worthy of your consideration.

Have a good read.

Rich Hassert

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