Customers’ Perception of Quality in a B2B-setting : A Case Analysis of Kvaerner Pulping in Karlstad
This paper is based on an assignment from Kvaerner Pulping in Karlstad, a company that supplies complete factories, machines, and systems to the pulp industry worldwide. The assignment was to do a customer survey looking at customer satisfaction focusing on quality.
Our main purpose with this paper is to study the concept of quality.
We wanted to know how Kvaerner Pulping’s customers’ perceptions differ. We also wanted to look at whether Kvaerner Pulping can offer what customers perceive as quality, and how customers rate Kvaerner Pulping compared to their competitors.
Kvaerner Pulping decided which of their customers should be included in the research. A quantitative research was used based on structured telephone interviews. A total of 27 respondents were interviewed. Factories from three Nordic countries and six customers from two other European countries were included in the survey. We tried to interview two respondents from each factory as far as possible, including one person from the purchase department and one from the maintenance department.
The theories that we have chosen for this paper concerns the network perspective, customer satisfaction looking at quality and customer-perceived value, after market support, and the process of ordering.
Our research shows that quality is indeed a multifaceted concept since there are differences in how customers from different departments and countries rate characteristics on how important they are in a supplier. Also the fact that we added an additional value feature to the ones constructed by Bovik, shows that quality seen as customer-perceived value is indeed a multifaceted concept.
When looking at the three characteristics with the highest general mean value (”keeps promises”, “has a good technical knowledge”, and “delivery security”), our results of the survey shows that purchase, the Nordic countries and Finland are more critical to Kvaerner Pulping’s performance than maintenance, the Other European countries and Sweden. Respondents stated that the company performs adequately on three quality categories “product quality”, “support quality” and “delivery quality”, but to get more satisfied customers, they need to be open for improvements. The customers from the research have compared Kvaerner Pulping to its competitors and the results showed that the company is “equal” on most characteristics.
Using Bovik’s models (2004) we could see that all of value features on the get-side made adequate contribution to the creation of the value. However to strengthen competitive advantage and offer customers more value improvements are needed.
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