How to improve the perceived service in the delivery chain of a multinational manufacturing firm

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: As the world is changing rapidly in many ways, competition is getting increasingly fierce amongst manufacturing firms. As such, it has become more and more important for companies to properly understand the needs of their customers in order to provide enough value to be sufficiently competitive. Providing delivery and installation services which might’ve been viewed as necessary evils before have also become increasingly more important attributes amongst manufacturing firms to distinguish themselves in their respective markets. This has created the need to comprehensively understand the providement of products and services in relation to existing customer needs and requirements, which is what this report is seeking to investigate. To answer these questions, a case study has been performed at two country operations at ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems to describe, evaluate, and analyze how they can improve their service offerings in the delivery chain by scrutinizing the order-to-invoice process for the product family of Automatic Doors in both respective markets. The observed markets are located in Sweden and in the Netherlands, who are both important strategic country operations for the case company in the European market. Including both countries in the performed report furthermore provides a comparative element which has been used to improve upon the analytical scope when answering the research questions included with the purpose of the study. Findings from the study indicated that the manufacturing case company already offered a wide range of augmented service and product offerings, such as after-sales service, installations, deliveries and technical guidance. Although the customers expressed the product quality as the most important attribute in a supplier, these complementary service offerings could gain competitive advantage and be seen as additional order winners. Trends spotted in the customer requirements were found in that larger customers are more data driven, while smaller customers value single-point of contact with their supplier. The customer requirements in the investigated countries pointed towards several similarities in terms of needs but implied different ranking patterns of delivery service parameters between the observed markets. The process mappings of the countries followed the same pattern with large similarities but with some key differences in the order-to-invoice process which might be a by-product of each market’s local needs and requirements. Improvements in the service offering could be made in each market with inspiration from the other, by cherry picking the well-functioning elements from each country operation to achieve a higher quality in each respective order-to-invoice process. Further improvements could be found in the areas of communication, which is oftentimes the case in large and complex organisations, in order to enhance the customer satisfaction by ensuring higher rates of first-time-right deliveries. These areas could be categorized into standardization, e.g. site preparation; automation, e.g. customer feedback and order confirmation; as well as visibility, such as developing a rigid track and trace system. By doing these improvements in the service offering in the delivery chain, the company can improve their current customers’ satisfaction and attract new customers and market shares.

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