A Performance Evaluation of the After-Sales Service Information Systems Provided by the Taiwanese Machine Tool Industry

Article excerpt

Machine tools are important equipment for basic and precision processing work, and are characterized by long operating life, high unit price, high technology and assembly involving a great number of components and parts. Providing efficient repair service for machinery breakdowns, reinforcing existing service and maintenance systems and enhancing after-sales service are the current goals. As machine tool products are marketed globally and the structure of current after-sales service is incomplete, existing service systems do not always meet customer requirements. Therefore, web-based information management systems must be used properly, and can provide an important tool for interaction between enterprises and clients as well as for strengthening corporate operations and competitiveness. Since emphasis and satisfaction differ while promoting such practice, a performance evaluation of satisfaction, with an emphasis on functional items of related systems introduced, must be performed, and an effective improvement model must be established to effectively obtain specific results regarding the after-sales service information systems in the machine tool industry.

This study used the questionnaire method to collect information on the performance of after-sales service system implementation in the Taiwanese machine tool industry and also statistically defined performance index of emphasis and satisfaction. The performance evaluation matrix was amended to develop a performance evaluation matrix for the standardized system. The management can assess their performance levels and draft strategies to improve service system performance according to the locations of considered items in the performance evaluation matrix of satisfaction and emphasis. As far as costs are concerned, the quality function deployment (QFD) is applied to define critical functional items in the structure of the service system from among items with low emphasis and high satisfaction and items with high emphasis and low satisfaction. This approach can develop the optimum countermeasures, which then can serve a reference for establishing the after-sales service system for the machine tool industry.

Introduction

The machine tool industry is a high added value industry. Abnormal operation of machine tools may influence the after-sales service costs, orders, goodwill, quality and delivery dates. Thus, it is critical to ensure smooth production of machine tools and reinforce existing maintenance and after-sales service systems. Presently, since the machine tool industry markets its products globally and the existing after-sales service structure is incomplete, customers are not always satisfied with the current service system established by limited human, material and financial resources. Consequently, proper use of web-based information management systems has become a useful weapon for promoting interaction between enterprises and customers, achieving competitive advantages for companies, and storing and researching various knowledge.

Some scholars have presented relevant information for obtaining effective and excellent service quality information management systems. For example, the results of the 6th World Wide Web User Survey conducted by GVU Center of Georgia Institute of Technology [1] showed the existence of four crucial factors that consumers consider WWW service providers should possess, namely: (1) security, (2) reliability, (3) quality of information provided and (4) timely delivery. Additionally, Xie M., H. Wang and T.N. GoIi [14] applied PZ13 to present a refined service quality model and assess search engines in 1991. Following amendment, Xie M., H. Wang and T.N. Gob, proposed five dimensions for the service quality of search engines, namely: (1) tangibility, (2) reliability, (3) responsiveness, (4) assurance and (5) empathy. Users considered reliability and assurance the most important dimensions, while tangibility, responsiveness and empathy were also significant. …

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