Integrating multiple manufacturing initiatives: challenge for automotive suppliers

Document Type


Publication Date




The primary purpose of the research was to determine whether automotive manufacturers integrate multiple manufacturing initiatives and whether performance measures were impacted directly by these initiatives.


A mail survey questionnaire was used to gather data about the attitudinal attributes associated with implementing multiple manufacturing initiatives (i.e. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, lean manufacturing) and changes in key performance measures, both financial and nonfinancial. Descriptive statistics were utilized to gain a better understanding of the level of implementation of specific initiatives. Different forms of regression analysis were used to try to locate a statistically significant predictive model.


Two surveys of automotive suppliers were conducted during early summer 2001 and 2002 to gather information about multiple initiatives, customer mandates, and performance measurement. The results indicate that suppliers are not integrating the initiatives or linking them to financial and/or nonfinancial performance measurements. It was intended to develop a predictive model linking the implementation of multiple manufacturing initiatives and the impact on changing in performance measures. No statistically significant model was discovered. However, and not surprisingly, the level of implementation of different initiatives varies from one organization to another.

Research limitations/implications

The size of the sample could pose a limitation in terms of generalizabiity. Also, this study was applied to specifically to the automotive supply parts industry and it could be applicable to other manufacturing supply chains.

Practical implications

Automotive industry suppliers have been faced with multiple, mandated requirements from the original equipment manufacturers. Continuing pressures to reduce price, improve quality, while producing an environmental friendly product using lean manufacturing practices has placed a financial strain on suppliers operating with thin profit margins. Are these initiatives being integrated into the overall business strategy and what impact are they having on performance measures? Based on the research, it did not appear to be well integrated. Additionally, a comparative analysis was conducted to note differences between senior management and middle management/professional staff. It was not surprising to find that senior management has higher expectations and opinions regarding implementation levels and performance.


The information in this study is particularly useful to manufacturers or others implementing standards or methodologies and to understand whether there is a direct impact on performance measurements.

Publisher's Statement

© 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13683040710820746

Publication Title

Measuring Business Excellence