Plant productivity benchmarking including a special consideration of the location China and the enterprise type joint venture – a case study in the automotive industry
Because the selling markets of automotive companies are global, their production network is global, too. In this context, the Chinese selling market is the most attractive with about 20 million new registered cars in 2015 (Statista, 2016, p. 1). Due to globalization, however, labor costs in particular are rising and forcing automotive companies to take action, even in the previously cheap Chinese market. This paper presents a case study which answers the question, how a process for a regular productivity benchmarking can be conceptualized, especially in the automotive industry and with respect to the location China and the enterprise type joint venture (JV). Based on interviews at a Chinese JV, internal company and external data, the main results are as follows. Regarding direct production areas, this paper marks the key performance indicator (KPI) “time per unit” (TPU) as most important KPI and shows that a comparability between plants is possible through the so-called “TPU-methodology”. Regarding indirect production areas, this paper provides a benchmarking process based on the Harbour Report’s KPI “hours per unit” (HPU), qualitatively investigates 43 influencing factors (so-called “scaling factors”) on HPU, and quantitatively models and includes seven of them in the benchmarking process to set fair and challenging targets. Thus, the main contribution of the paper is two-fold: First, it provides a process for benchmarking based on HPU; second, in this process, it incorporates detailed (China-/ JV-specific) scaling factors and thus extends literature. Future research specifically includes modeling and incorporating additional scaling factors.