Nothing shows Eastman Chemical's focus and solid ground game better than its participation in benchmarking, a tool for developing best practices and continuous improvement. "It shows you how you are doing compared to other well-run companies," CFO Curt Espeland says. "It lets you go to management and develop a road map for improvements. And it helps us prioritize."

The Atlanta-based Hackett Group applies benchmark formulas to dozens of indicators of efficiency and effectiveness and designates the top performers –less than 10% of its universe–as world class. Eastman falls in that elite group for its finance performance, says Bryan Hall, a principal in Hackett's finance transformation practice.

Continuous improvement is evident is several areas. "When we started benchmarking, we were closing the books in 10 days and rerunning a lot of financial numbers due to errors," Espeland recalls. "Benchmarking highlighted that weakness and we addressed it and improved to five days. When we started benchmarking, we had delinquencies in customer payments of 20%, so we saw the problem and went to work on it. Now delinquencies are under 5%."

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.