Evaluating value differentiation in the South African polymer market
Neri, Joao Gabriel Fernandes
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the value differentiation in the polymer industry in South Africa by rating the polymer customers’ experience in this regard. This study is important in the light of increasing polymer competition worldwide. No records of similar studies in this industry in South Africa have been found. As such this study could make a contribution that could spur polymer manufacturers and suppliers in improving their competitive advantage by offering value-added services to enhance the customer experience and, as a result increase customer satisfaction levels. The type of research conducted was a descriptive research applying the quantitative research methodology. The non-probability quota sampling method was employed. The study population consisted of a select group of customers from a South African polymer manufacturer and supplier. A questionnaire was e-mailed to the select group of polymer customers, many of whom purchase polymer locally and abroad. A response rate of 74% was obtained from a sample of 68 customers approached. The survey results show statistically that a positive satisfaction level was attained, but also highlighted some areas where certain value drivers such as company image, supply and distribution, and information lack attention. Polymer suppliers could gain the competitive advantage by focusing on the drivers that many customers value to ensure that customer satisfaction levels are sustained or improved on. More importantly, polymer suppliers should focus on the low scoring satisfaction levels recorded from the survey, from which they could build by enhancing the total value proposition. Limitations of the study were identified. Recommendations for future research were made.