Ratios are only meaningful when compared to an appropriate benchmark. Comparing ratios of firms from the same industry, with similar strategies, is useful. A firm can provide its own comparison using prior periods if there have been no significant changes in its operations or policies.
What we have done is to picture how a particular type of company (e.g., a grocery chain or an electric utility) would be reflected in its financial statements. The next step is to picture how a well-run company would be reflected in its financial statements, relative to a poorly-run company.