Appearing on Channel 4’s Undercover Boss series, Hyundai Motor UK’s finance director, Ray Pope, left his desk at the company’s head office in Hemel Hempstead to learn more of Hyundai’s practices and business operations.
Wearing a disguise, Pope visited a dealer workshop, valeting base and sales centre and was concerned to find the business infrastructure was causing a number of problems.
When Pope visited the company’s largest operation, Tilbury Docks, where the company imports around 180,000 new cars every year, he was shocked to find that £35,000 worth of stock was temporarily going missing.
Similarly, when Pope worked alongside a garage workshop, he was concerned that staff members were still using ‘old-fashioned’ methods to carry out everyday tasks, such as using a white-board and marker pen to book in vehicle services, which could potentially slow business down.
Pope explained how Hyundai aims to expand by 25 per cent over the next two years, but it would be difficult to make this progress without the correct infrastructure and management systems.
Meanwhile, when monitoring a sales centre and valeting base, Pope found that expectations, such as valeting a vehicle in just 15 minutes, were not realistically achievable, putting strain on both the staff and the customer.
Pope was displeased by the manual methods being used to carry out the company’s most important services, as well as the lack of training from headquarters to prepare its staff to make sales and up their commission. He argued the current pen and paper systems were ‘pointless tasks’.
Pope told Channel 4: ‘We have grown so quickly but we haven’t got the infrastructure or systems to be perfect. And at the end of this there is a customer and that’s what’s annoying. We should really be better than this.
‘The business is not as smooth as it should be, and is still using old-fashioned organisation. I’ve learnt so much and I can take this back to the head office and make these changes.’
In a statement, Hyundai UK said: ‘The Hyundai business has almost tripled in the last five years and at the end of 2012 we became one of the top ten car manufacturers in the UK.
‘While we continually work closely with all of our dealer partners and our other sites to improve our offering, the experience of Undercover Boss has given us the opportunity to see whether our rapid growth in the UK has put the business under strain at a grass roots level, and to learn what Hyundai Motor UK can do moving forward to improve our systems and processes to enable our business and that of our dealer partners to function smarter and to deliver even better for our customers.’