Newcastle University Business School


Benfield Motor Group - Case Study

The Company

Benfield Motor Group, founded by the Squires family in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1957, recently worked with us on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

The aim of the KTP was to improve competitiveness, quality and efficiency of service, repairs and back office functions throughout the business via an innovative transformational change programme.

Prior to acquisition by Lookers plc in 2015, Benfield Motor Group became one of the largest and well known private companies in the motor retailing market.

About the project

Motor retailing is evolving as buying habits change. Strong aftersales performance is key to a successful business model, as it provides a stable source of profit and protects against fluctuations in the market.

Benfield needed to increase productivity and customer service via a programme of transformational change.

We were able to offer Benfield the skills and expertise to support the development and implementation of the change programme through:

  • development of lean tools and techniques in a service sector context
  • implementation of lean tools and techniques
  • change management
  • organisational development


The project aimed to transform a commoditised experience of purchasing and maintaining motor vehicles based on price, to a customised experience based on relationship.

Employee engagement and understanding was the biggest challenge as it was vital to the success of the project. This meant that everyone in the value stream, from managers to valeters, was trained.

Dramatic efficiency gains have already been observed, which results in savings in labour time. This, in turn, allows significant improvement of the customer proposition as well as customer retention creating additional profit.


  • Expected £450k increase in profit as a result of the KTP after year three
  • New Work Smart approach developed
  • Staff development and training
  • Improved efficiencies
  • Skills, knowledge and motivation required to make improvements to meet future market opportunities

The Associate

The associate, Melissa, completed training in a number of areas, including Lean, Project Management and Operations Management. Melissa was able to apply these complex management theories to achieve complete control of a strategically important project.


  • Experience of designing and delivering a transformational change programme
  • Training in management theories
  • Attendance at Lean conferences
  • Best practise visit to a car dealership in South Africa


  • Achievement of CIPD diploma and MBA modules
  • Nominated for prestigious KTP Business Leader of the Future Award 2015
  • Continued employment with the Benfield Motor Group

The Academic

The KTP enabled our academic team to develop new insights into the transfer of business improvement practices in a service environment, further developing their understanding of achieving sustained transformational change.


Our team now have real-world examples to enhance teaching, ultimately leading to improved student satisfaction.

The KTP also touched on all key areas of our academic specialisms, meaning we have a rich portfolio of materials that will enhance teaching.


  • Presentations accepted for international conferences
  • Academic papers published
  • Contribution to MBA student projects
  • ESRC application in progress to build upon project
  • Ongoing relationship with Lookers plc