This paper describes an empirical investigation of the application of benchmarking to cooperative enterprises in Wales to determine whether it was technically feasible, at what cost, and with what results. This entailed close sustained fieldwork with actual cooperatives, which was achieved by investigating the two largest farmer-controlled enterprises (FCEs) in Wales - Clynderwen and Cardiganshire Farmers Ltd, and Wynnstay and Clwyd Farmers Plc, who also collaborated in subsequent management appraisal and remedial action. The paper concludes that benchmarking is strategically feasible, that it has a favourable impact on the perceptions and attitudes of staff and members of participating cooperatives, and that it yields workable priorities and management recommendations, which can be implemented. Wider adoption of the technique by cooperatives is therefore recommended as a viable survival strategy - an alternative to the recent preference for abandonment of cooperative status. This is of particular significance for the marketing/entrepreneurship interface of FCEs in Wales.
- Agricultural Cooperatives