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IMPROVING TECHNICAL

QUALITY IN REPAIR SERVICE TO


ACHIEVE
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN
AUTOMOTIVE AFTER-SALES
SERVICE

TONG KWOK KEI

ENGINEERING DOCTORATE
CITY UNIVERSTIY OF HONG KONG
JULY 2011

CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG

Improving Technical Quality in Repair


Service to Achieve Customer Satisfaction in
Automotive After-sales Service

Submitted to
Department of Manufacturing Engineering and
Engineering Management

in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the


Degree of Engineering Doctorate

by

TONG Kwok Kei

July 2011

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ABSTRACT

Hong Kong has gone through a rapid change in her economy from industrial to service
base during the last two decades. The service industry has played a major role in
determining the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the city and the growth trend can be
well explained from the figures of 85.7% in 1998 to 92.3% in 2007. In order to run a
service business successfully, it is essential to provide excellent service quality so as to
satisfy the customers need.

For the after-sales service of the motor industry, there are keen competitions among the
various number of after-sales service dealers. Generally, the after-sales service is
linked up with parts supply and vehicle repair or maintenance service (conclusively
named as after-sales repair service). Such a relationship has always been considered as
one of the major factors in affecting the customers decision when buying a new
vehicle.

After from the high expectation from customers, the car manufacturers shall also
demand seriously a high standard of after-sales service from their dealers. Apart from
these two parties, the dealers also have to encounter the competition from small garages
which tend to attract customers with aged vehicles by offering service at a highly
competitive price. Therefore, the service dealers nowadays have to meet the challenge
of not only providing the best service to the customers but also maintaining the
business in a sustainable manner.

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There are lots of service dimensions that contribute to service quality and customer
satisfaction. Through literature review and interviews with professional of the industry,
the technical quality in after-sales repair service, i.e. to fix it right the first time (F-1) in
order to avert repeated repair is regarded as the principal factor of the overall quality
level in automotive after-sales repair service. When customers are satisfied with the
service, the business will sustain. This project proposes a framework on how to
improve the technical quality in repair service with adoption of knowledge sharing and
transfer in automotive after-sales service industry. The project uses the action research
method and applies to one of Hong Kongs leading automotive after-sales dealers, Dah
Chong Hong (MSC) Ltd., hereafter called DCHMSC, for illustration.

A general

customer satisfaction survey conducted in year 2005 revealed that the Company had a
low customer satisfaction score among the market. At last, the Company was able to
improve the overall service quality through the improvement of technical quality in
after-sales repair service.

Apart from taking into account of the non-technical aspects like the attitude of the
service personnel in order to narrow down the project scope to the improvement of
technical quality in repair service of after-sales service, the project aims at exploring
the critical steps within the overall after-sales service process. Based on customer
complaints, feedbacks and commended cases on repeated repair or dissatisfaction with
the workmanship in service, investigation is carried out into these cases to differentiate
the types of quality problems so as to conclude the most common causes that have led
to non F-1 (fix it right the first time) or repeated repairs. The two major results are

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identified as: 1) Previous repair is not effective, and 2) Problems occurred after
periodical maintenance is done. An in-depth analysis is conducted to identify the
possible causes to these deficiencies.

The latter part of the project suggests and establishes the roadmap for implementation
of improvement / remedial actions with the emphasis being put on knowledge sharing
and transfer among the workshop mechanics, and service process enhancements. This
is because knowledge assets play an important role in sustaining the competitive
advantage of the companies in business environment nowadays. More importantly,
knowledge and skills are the indispensable elements in performing vehicle repair and
maintenance service. A knowledge map is then used for analysis on the knowledge
needs and requirements by service people within the after-sales service process.
Another social network analysis tool, named Applied Graphic and Network Analysis
(AGNA), is adopted to identify the role of individuals within the service network.
AGNA also helps to determinate on how knowledge should be transferred and shared
among the service network in order to achieve the best and effective result in
improving the technical quality in repair services. Finally, the enhancements in service
process help to minimize any human mistake and service inconsistency.

The effectiveness of the improvement actions is then measured by two different


approaches, 1) quality of repair / maintenance through customers feedback, and survey
measurements; and 2) feedback from the workshop mechanics as being the end users
on the efficacy of improvement actions implemented.

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The innovation of this EngD project aims at exploring / analyzing knowledge


application and sharing in a systematic approach called AS-QiKi with the result of
improving the technical quality in repair service and eventually the overall after-sales
service quality of motor industry. As long as the research nature of the project is of
industrial base, the framework delivered shall contribute to the motor industry by
means of providing solutions to similar problems encountered by service dealers and
workshops of similar scale or capacity.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENT

PAGE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

ABSTRACT

ii

TABLE OF CONTENTS

vi

LIST OF TABLES

xii

LIST OF FIGURES

xvi

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

xix

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

1.1

Project Background

1.2

Business Challenge

1.3

Company Weakness in Response to the Challenge

10

1.4

Summary of Business Challenge

13

1.5

Justification for the Project

14

1.6

Aims and Objectives of the Project

15

1.7

Project Scope

16

1.8

Outline of Project

16

CHAPTER II
2.1

LITERATURE REVIEW

Service and Customer Satisfaction

18
18

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2.2

2.3

2.4

2.1.1

What is Service

19

2.1.2

The Importance of Customer Satisfaction

22

2.1.3

Concluding Summary

26

Service Quality and Quality Dimensions

27

2.2.1

Service Quality

28

2.2.2

Quality Dimensions

31

2.2.3

Technical Quality in Automotive After-sales Repair Service

38

2.2.4

Concluding Summary

47

Knowledge Management

48

2.3.1

What is Knowledge

49

2.3.2

What is Knowledge Management

51

2.3.3

Advantages of KM in Service

55

2.3.4

Knowledge Sharing in Automotive After-sales Service

57

2.3.5

Concluding Summary

59

Chapter Summary

CHAPTER III
3.1

METHODOLOGY

59

63

Action Research

63

3.1.1

66

The Action Research Cycle

3.2

Framework of Project

68

3.3

Conceptualization of Technical Quality in Repair Service

75

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3.4

Roadmap to Achieve Technical Quality in Repair Service

77

Improvement
3.4.1

Field Works Repeated Job Analysis

80

3.4.2

Field Works After-sales Service Process Analysis

80

3.4.3

Field Work Brief Summary of Findings

81

3.4.4

Knowledge Sharing and Transfer Social Network Analysis

82

3.4.5

Knowledge

85

Sharing

and

Transfer

Mechanical

Qualification System
3.4.6

Knowledge Sharing and Transfer Knowledge Collection

86

3.4.7

Service Process Enhancement Repair Order Requirements

87

3.4.8

Service Process Enhancement Repeat Job Process

89

3.4.9

Service Process Enhancement Standard Job Procedures

90

3.4.10

Service Process Enhancement Final Quality Control

92

3.4.11

Quantitative Measurement Non F-1 Measurement

93

3.4.12

Quantitative

94

Measurement

Quarterly

Customer

Satisfaction Index (CSI)

3.5

3.4.13

Quantitative Measurement DCH General Survey

95

3.4.14

Quantitative Measurement End User Survey

95

Chapter Summary

CHAPTER IV
4.1

RESULTS

96

99

Principal Quality Attribute in Repair Service

99

4.1.1

99

Interview Result with Automotive Industrial Professionals

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4.2

Repeated Job Analysis Result

104

4.2.1

Findings of Technical Quality Problem in Repair Service

104

4.2.2

Trend of Non F-1 (Fix it right the first time) Cases

108

4.2.3

Findings on the Root Cause and Reason towards Non F-1

110

(Fix it right the first time)


4.3

Core Process in Automotive After-sales Service

113

4.4

Result of Social Network Analysis

117

4.5

Technical Information Repository

134

4.6

Workshop Knowledge Sharing

137

4.7

Mechanic Qualification System

140

4.8

Repair Order Requirement

144

4.9

Repeated Job Progress

147

4.10

Standard Job Procedures

149

4.11

Final Quality Control

153

4.12

Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Survey Results

155

4.12.1

Repair Quality Index Technical Quality in Repair Service

156

4.12.2

Effect of Repair Quality Index on Customer Satisfaction

158

Index (CSI)
4.13

4.14

DCH Annual General Survey Result

159

4.13.1

Result of DCH Annual General Survey on Repair Quality

160

4.13.2

Result of DCH Annual General Survey on F-1

161

End-users Survey Result

162

4.14.1

165

Analysis of Data

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4.14.2

Correlation between Technical Quality Improvement in

169

Repair Service Actions and the Five Quality Domains


4.14.3

Correlation between F-1 Achievement and the Five

170

Quality Domains
4.14.4

Regression Analysis to Investigate the Relationship between

171

Technical Quality Improvement Actions in Repair Service


with Respect to the Quality Domains
4.14.5

Analysis of Variance to Investigate Different Views of

180

Workshop People with Respect to the Quality Domains in


Technical Quality Improvements in Repair Service
4.14.6
4.15

Respondents Profile

Chapter Summary

188

192

CHAPTER V
5.1

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

194

Discussion

194

5.1.1

Definition of Technical Quality in Repair Service

196

5.1.2

Results of Field Work on Root Causes of Technical Quality

197

Problem
5.1.3

Roadmap to Achieve F-1

5.1.4

Difficulty

and

Uncertainty

198
with

regard

to

Project

200

Implementation
5.2

Conclusion

201

5.2.1

Effectiveness of the Improvement Outcomes

201

5.2.2

Contributions to the Company

206

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5.2.3

Project Limitations

208

5.2.4

Future Works

210

REFERENCES

212

APPENDICES

225

Appendix 1

Questionnaire Form 2a Document Received / Retrieved

226

Appendix 2

Questionnaire Form 2b Document Sent / Submitted /

228

Uploaded / Produced
Appendix 3

People You Usually Consult for Implicit Knowledge &

230

People Who Contact You for Advice on Implicit Knowledge


Appendix 4

Document and Implicit Knowledge Owned and Used by You

238

Only
Appendix 5

Questionnaire on the Efficacy of Technical Quality

242

Improvement in Repair Service


Appendix 6

Questionnaire used to determine the most important factor


affecting Technical Quality in Automobile after-sales Repair
Service.

246