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APQC Releases Retail Process Classification Framework

APQC, the nonprofit leader in benchmarking and best practices research, has introduced a business process framework for the retail industry. Following the recent update of its cross-industry Process Classification FrameworkSM (PCF), the Retail PCF was developed by APQC in collaboration with Microsoft Corp. Enterprise Strategy Services group and APQC member companies. Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Services employs methodologies and frameworks that are built on extensive knowledge and experience working with customers in various industries around the world. The Retail PCF covers a wide variety of retail formats with a particular focus on omni-channel retailers and is intended to help retailers better understand processes across all customer channels. It may be downloaded at

“APQC is excited to provide retailers with the same benefits that other organizations have received from industry-specific process classification frameworks, such as benchmarking, process definition, and content management information,” said John Tesmer, senior program manager with APQC. “As we have already in many different industries, such as automotive, banking, consumer products and telecommunications and others, this framework will enable retailers to judge how they measure up to other retailers in an objective and standardized format.”

“The Retail PCF will enable the community to benchmark, improve its processes across the entire value chain and help retailers move forward in their quest to improve customer experiences, engage their employees and differentiate their brand,” said Tracy Issel, general manager, Worldwide Retail Sector, Microsoft Corp. “We are thrilled to work with the APQC to expand its industry coverage with our Retail Process Model.”

At its simplest level, APQC’s PCF is a list that organizations can take advantage of to define work processes comprehensively and without redundancies and to support benchmarking, manage content, and perform other important performance management activities. The PCF identifies 12 high-level functional categories and contains over 1,000 process elements that, when considered as a whole, represent the operations of an organization.

The PCF forms the foundation of the APQC Open Standards Benchmarking CollaborativeSM (OSBC) research ( The OSBC program allows organizations to directly compare their performance - at no cost - against other organizations for the detailed processes described in the PCF. In addition the PCF enables organizations to understand their inner workings from a more customer-focused horizontal process viewpoint rather than a vertical functional viewpoint.

The following Operating Process categories are covered in the initial Retail PCF—Category 2.0 (Develop and Manage Customer Experience); Category 3.0 (Market Products and Services); Category 4.0 (Merchandise Products and Services); and Category 5.0 (Deliver Products).

About APQC

APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the world’s leading proponents of knowledge management, benchmarking, and best practices business research. Working with more than 750 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC provides organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster, and with confidence. Visit or call +1.713.681.4020 and learn how to Make Best Practices Your PracticesSM.

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