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Product Strategy Case Scenario: Minit Lube

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Case Scenario: Minit-Lube

A substantial market exists for automobile tune-ups, oil changes, and lubrication service for more than 200 million cars on U.S. roads. Some of this demand is filled by full-service auto dealerships, some by Sears and Firestone, and some by other tire/service dealers. However, Minit-Lube, Mobil-Lube, Jiffy-Lube and others have also developed strategies to accommodate this opportunity.

Minit-Lube stations perform oil changes, lubrication, and interior cleaning in a spotless environment. The buildings are clean, painted white, and often surrounded by neatly trimmed landscaping. To facilitate fast service, cars can be driven through three abreast. At Minit-Lube, the customer is greeted by service representatives who are graduates of Minit-Lube U. The Minit-Lube school is not unlike McDonald's Hamburger University near Chicago or Holiday Inn's training school in Memphis. The greeter takes the order, which typically includes fluid checks (oil, water, brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential grease) and the necessary lubrication, as well as filter changes for air and oil. Service personnel in neat uniforms then move into action.

The standard three-person team has one person checking fluid levels under the hood, another assigned interior vacuuming and window cleaning, and the third in the garage pit, removing the oil filter, draining the oil, checking the differential and transmission, and lubricating as necessary. Precise task assignments and good training are designed to move the car into and out of the bay in 10 minutes. The idea is to charge no more, and hopefully less, than gas stations, automotive repair chains, and auto dealers, while providing better service.

I am requesting your help getting starting with the following:

- State any business problem that the enterprise needs to resolve.
- Briefly summarize relevant background information from the case.
- Describe how the enterprise dealt with its issues, if relevant.
- Comment on the appropriateness of these actions based on your reading of the
case content.
- Respond to the case questions included at the end of the case.

Discussion Questions

1. What constitutes the mission of Minit-Lube?
2. How does the Minit-Lube operations strategy provide competitive advantage?
3. Is it likely that Minit-Lube has increased productivity over its more traditional competitors? Why? How would we measure productivity in this industry?

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Solution Preview

Here are my thoughts to help get you started:

Minit-Lube has a developed a most unique business model. Its mission is to offer a high-end service automobile maintenance shop at a low-end price. A very unique business model indeed. Most automotive shops are either high-end service with high prices or low-end service with low prices. Minit-Lube is in the business of offering its customers the best of both worlds.

Minit-Lube has seemingly overcome some interesting problems. It faced some issues that had required innovative solutions that few, if any, competitors had or have been able to solve and implement. Specifically, how to provide that dealership quality service with competitive gas station type pricing. Additionally, Minit-Lube has been able to get its customers in and out in a very quick fashion, allowing them to get their cars repaired and be on their ways quickly. Minit-Lube's solution is to combine Henry Ford assembly line type processes to the maintenance ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines developing a business plan for a case study on a Oil Lube Shop. A substantial market exists for automobile tune-ups are given.