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Evaluating, managing and improving the performance of automotive distribution through the processes involved in the development of a hierarchical model

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


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The automotive manufacturing industry has historically been at the forefront of initiatives that have sought to increase efficiency. The overall supply chain includes component manufacturing, final assembly and distribution through dealerships. An analysis of financial data from companies in the UK automotive supply chain shows that automotive distribution is the largest subsector in the supply chain in terms of the number of companies, operating revenue, number of employees, profit, cash flow and total assets. The focus of Lean Production has been on the upstream manufacturing with limited consideration of downstream service activities. The paper presents an action research case study that improved after sales processes in a leading automotive dealership group that had multiple franchises. At the Company level a balanced scorecard approach was developed in order to link and deploy its strategy to operations for managing the business units’ aftersales function. It included four perspectives: financial, customer, internal processes and innovation and learning. At the business unit level, car servicing value steams were analysed and separated according to anticipated variability in work content and then redesigned to reduce lead times and variance. This research developed a hierarchical model that fed into a balanced scorecard that allowed performance to be evaluated and benchmarked at sector, group and business unit level. The redesign of value streams reduced lead-times and improved productivity and customer service. The model allowed the processes involved in creating the balanced scorecard to be understood, the impact to be evaluated, and facilitated the dissemination of best practice.

Publication metadata

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

Editor(s): Missbauer H; Tang O

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Twenty-first International Working Seminar on Production Economics

Year of Conference: 2020

Online publication date: 24/02/2020

Acceptance date: 29/11/2019

Publisher: Universität Innsbruck