Benchmarking is comparing the output of different systems for a given set of input data in order to improve the system’s performance. Faced with the lack of realistic and operational benchmarks that can be used for testing optimization methods and control systems in flexible systems, this paper proposes a benchmark system based on a real production cell. A three-step method is presented: data preparation, experimentation, and reporting. This benchmark allows the evaluation of static optimization performances using traditional operation research tools and the evaluation of control system’s robustness faced with unexpected events. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.