The Research & Development Society has set up a benchmarking group to increase knowledge sharing between member companies on systems, processes and routines.
Benchmarking techniques are used extensively in other business areas, but companies have resisted their application in R&D because of concerns about revealing sensitive information.
Dr Richard Halliday, joint organiser of the group, said the new venture had plans to overcome the problem.
`In part, we are already preaching to the converted – companies that have joined the society have already accepted the idea of exchanging ideas in some way,’ he said.
`My experience suggests that if you can break down the processes involved into small bits, you are able to discuss concepts without giving away any secrets about your products.
`There is a strong trend, particularly among bigger companies, to seek partners in dissimilar industries, so again, the issue has a lesser impact.’
The R&D Society will aim to provide the necessary introductions between companies at all levels, whether or not they are in the same industry.