Even in the early days, the water industry was quick to react to a new manage- ment tool called benchmarking. It was the early 1990s, and the echoes rever- berating from Harvard University had already been made available to the general public in what many considered the first mainstream publication on
the topic (Camp, 1989). From the very beginning, benchmarking was seen as a tool that in the absence of efficiency-stimulating incentives, could help water companies in their search for excellence.
The aim of benchmarking was to identify those who were best in their class, and once the best practices had been identified, they were to be adapted in search of better per- formance. Camp had been working at Xerox in difficult times when the only option for the company was to learn from the best (their Japanese colleagues at Fuji) and improve its practices.