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The case for transformational change in the automotive distribution industry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christian Hicks, Professor Tom McGovern, Professor Tracy ScurryORCiD, Dr Adrian SmallORCiD, Melissa Whipp



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, 2014.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The automotive manufacturing industry has historically been at the forefront of initiatives that have sought to increase efficiency. The focus of Lean Production has been on the upstream manufacturing with limited consideration of downstream service activities.This paper develops a supply chain model of the UK automotive industry that explains the structure and how automotive assemblers control the industry. It finds automotive distribution is the largest subsector in terms of the number of companies, operating revenue, number of employees, profit, cash flow and total assets.The approaches for managing relationships and disseminating best practices within the supply chain are considered. Using existing proxy measures of ‘Leanness’, the scope for improving the performance of service-based motor distributors is demonstrated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hicks C, McGovern T, Scurry T, Small A, Whipp M

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 28th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Reshaping Management for Impact

Year of Conference: 2014

Print publication date: 03/12/2014

Online publication date: 09/12/2014

Acceptance date: 01/06/2014

Date deposited: 18/06/2019

Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management