Customers' perceptions towards product quality in automotive small and medium enterprises in Durban Metropolitan areas
Dlamini, Henry Lucky
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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa (SA) contribute significantly to job creation, wealth, social stability, economic growth and reduction of poverty. While research has been conducted, with regard to customer’s perception for entire world, not too many studies have focused on the automotive sector, with specific reference to the Durban Metropolitan areas. Therefore the understanding of the factors affecting Automotive SMEs are clearly defined and explained, in order to help entrepreneurs to improve product quality and attract customers to the business. Furthermore, the study focused on examining the customers’ perceptions towards product quality. The research sample was selected using convenience sampling because populations are easily available to the researcher. The target population for this study were all owners of SMEs in the automotive sector in Durban. Based on the census study, the sample size of the study was 120 owners of the SMEs in the Durban Metropolitan Areas. A combined method of both quantitative and qualitative techniques were employed, while the analysis of data was done using the Statistics Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 23.0, with the result presented by figures developed in Microsoft Excel and cross tabulation tables. Various techniques were tested such as (Pearson Chi-square Test, qualitative analysis and, factor analysis). However, the report based on testing techniques were as follows: The result of the gender participants of males were greater than females who participated in the study. Therefore, the Pearson Chi-square Test was done and the result state that p = .000. Qualitative analysis was tested and the result report of “what exactly are the customers’ perceptions towards product quality in the business”. However, the result of the qualitative analysis shows that the larger number of the respondents, they felt that “good customer service” were their customers’ perceptions in the study. Factor analysis was also tested using KMO and Bartlett’s Test to present results. The result of Bartleytt’s Test of Sphericity was = 212.800; Sig = .000 this indicated that the data were appropriate for the purpose of factors analysis. The result of Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy was = .609. This result shows that there were sufficient items for each factor. The findings of the study revealed that lack of managerial skills and development negatively compromises product quality of the automotive sector. The findings further revealed that creativity and necessary entrepreneurial skills influence implementation of sustainable growth of SMEs, and the entrepreneur’s success depends on the identification of crucial entrepreneurial skills for starting a business as well as for helping the business to survive and grow in the early stages. Therefore, capacity building for SME owners to sustain business growth is recommended. The results of the study further revealed that the absence of financial support from financial institutions delays the improvement of stock in the business as this is an obstacle resulting in the unsustainability of the SMEs in the long term.