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Title: Service quality gaps in container liner industry
Authors: Neo, Gina Xin Ye
Keywords: DRNTU::Science
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: Shipping has always played an important role in facilitating international trade and globalization. Container liner shipping constitutes a significant segment of the shipping market. To survive and prosper in the container liner industry, quality shipping services are required. The research seeks to address the concept of service quality through Total Quality Management (TQM) from the perspective of the container liner companies and their customers (shippers and freight forwarders) to have a broad understanding of service quality in general. This is done by examining the principles of TQM and effects of TQM on supply chain performance. A Service Quality (SQ) model is then proposed to address the gaps in the existing literatures. In addition, this study also investigates the existence of perception gaps between container liner companies and their customers (shippers and freight forwarders); employees of different statuses; small and big container liner companies. The triangulation approach, encompassing literature review, interview, and survey, was employed to develop, revise and verify the proposed SQ model. A Conceptual SQ model is developed from the literature review. Subsequently, seven interviews were conducted with key parties in the container liner industry to verify the feasibility of the SQ model. A revision was made to the Conceptual SQ model after the interviews, with six dimensions remained unchanged but the number of attributes has increased to 25. Surveys were then carried out to validate the revised model and address the research questions posed. The survey used a sample size of 159 container liner companies and 333 shippers and freight forwarders. A total of 79 responses were received, with 41 from container liner companies and 38 from shippers and freight forwarders. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel. In the survey findings, Outcomes is the most important SQ dimension perceived by the container liner companies and their customers (shippers and freight forwarders). In addition, Reliability of service performance (SQ6) and Competitive pricing (SQ9) were two of the top three SQ attributes valued by both sample groups. Some quality management practices have a positive moderate correlation to service performance, which in turn affect the overall supply chain performance, ceteris paribus. The survey results indicate the presence of perception gaps between container liner companies and their customers, as well as between employees of different statuses. However, no significant perception gap was displayed between both small and big container liner companies except Vessel design and capacity. This study serves as a preliminary framework for future research on service quality to establish an universal standard for service quality in the container liner industry. Future studies about service quality would be required to enhance the completeness of the SQ model.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:CEE Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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