An analysis of the performance measurement practices in the manufactured and motor homes industries focuses on the development of a balanced scorecard methodology that would enhance measurement accuracy and increase productivity and efficiency

Balanced scorecard applications and model building: a survey and comparison of the manufactured homes and motor homes industries: an analysis of the performance measurement practices in the manufactured and motor homes industries focuses on the development of a balanced scorecard methodology that would enhance measurement accuracy and increase productivity and efficiency

Charles J. Pineno

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This article examines the current measurement practices of companies in the manufactured homes industry and the motor homes industry and checks for the applicability of balanced scorecards. An analysis of survey results shows how much the balanced scorecard is understood and applied in these two industries. The analysis also compares the similarities and differences of scorecard knowledge based on company size, sales, number of employees, educational level, and experience of executives. Extending beyond that, a scorecard methodology that quantifies the intuitive understanding most managers have about the relationships between and among performance measures is discussed. Applying the methodology to project possible results yields explicit bottom-line results–both financial and nonfinancial–that enable a strategy to be managed and validated. An example is provided that can be expanded so the chain of cause and effect could pervade all four elements of the balanced scorecard.


The balanced scorecard is a customer-based planning and process-improvement system aimed at focusing and driving the change process. It translates strategy into an integrated set of financial and nonfinancial measures that communicates the organizational strategy to employees and provides them with feedback on which they can take action to achieve their objectives. Traditionally, balanced scorecards include both objective and subjective measures addressing four major areas: Financial Perspective, Customer Perspective, Internal Business Process, and Learning Process and Growth Perspective. (1)

According to Tim Fielden, corporations across the world have begun leveraging the power of balanced scorecards for converting vision and strategy into measurable targets. (2) Introduced as a management tool in 1991 by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, balanced scorecards provide executives and managers with the ability to develop measures that accurately forecast the health and wealth of an organization. (3) In 1998, the Gartner Group estimated that at least 40% of Fortune 1,000 companies would implement balanced scorecards by 2000. (4) A 1998 survey commissioned by Business Intelligence, in association with Renaissance Worldwide, found that 54% of surveyed companies use a balanced scorecard to manage and measure performance. (5) Providing the ability to translate strategy into action–rapidly, measurably, and knowledgeably–a balanced scorecard aligns organizational structure with strategic plans, which helps tap into hidden assets and knowledge. Moreover, by connecting both internal and external people with these strategies, continual learning and growth can be achieved.

According to Allan Bailey, Chee Chow, and Kamal Haddad, companies such as AT&T, Brown and Root, Intel, 3Com, Elf Atochem, the AM&R division of Mobil Oil, and Tenneco use balanced scorecards. In the service sector, scorecard adopters include KPMG Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young. (6)

The authors said that balanced scorecards have many benefits. They:

* Promote the active formulation and implementation of organizational strategies.

* Make organizational strategies updated and highly visible.

* Improve communication within the organization.

* Improve alignment among divisional or individual goals and the organization’s goals and strategies.

* Align annual or short-term operating plans with long-term strategies.

* Align performance evaluation measurement and long-term strategies. (7)


One of the main features of the balanced scorecard is the set of measures that addresses the company’s business performance and success in strategy implementation. For a balanced scorecard to be effective, the relationships among the objectives and measures must be explicit so that they can be managed and validated. (8) Measures that interact on the basis of established cause-and-effect relationships make the scorecard as comprehensive as possible. For example, the subjective measure of customer satisfaction typically is correlated with a business’s market-share growth.

A sensitivity analysis can show what effect, if any, a marginal change in one balanced scorecard measure would have on any of the others. To determine optimal targets, the measures need to be weighed, and the weighted average of a success indicator must be calculated. This allows for changes to one or more measures to be tested to maximize the success indicator. Changes in specific measures that maximize the success indicator should be included as targets in the balanced scorecard. One version of this success indicator was developed by Matthew J. Liberatore and Tan Miller. (9) An extract of their performance index calculation is presented in Table 1. Their index can be used to determine optimal targets for the balanced scorecard, as shown in Table 2, which presents an example of the ex post evaluation process.


When actual results of business performance become available, an ex post evaluation can measure the effectiveness of the scorecard targets–comparing the concrete numbers to the numbers projected by the balanced scorecard. The actual results may reveal flaws in the causality relationships established when selecting the scorecard’s measures.

Table 2 shows target measures and actual measures for one period. Each measure is contrasted with its baseline value (from the prior period) to find the percentage change. By reviewing the target measures and the difference between the percentage changes for the actual results and the targets, one can see that most of the measures have evolved as anticipated–indicating that these are normal changes. There was, however, an unexpected decrease in the order fill rate and the line fill rate. The 10% increase in number of customer partnerships seems to cause the 5% drop in order fill rate and the 6% drop in line fill rate–an abnormal change. If the company believes that this result represents a genuine causality problem, the scorecard’s measures can be adjusted for the upcoming period.

Scorecard evaluation is a continual process. When performed at the end of each reporting period, it enables management to constantly measure the effectiveness of the balanced scorecard targets and further refine and focus the scorecard to improve its effect.


Most experienced managers have an intuitive understanding of the relationships between and among measures. They know where to focus improvement efforts to achieve desired results. The balanced scorecard quantifies this intuitive understanding to project possible results. By using the analysis and success indicator, managers have a bottom-line result (financial and non-financial) based on actual efforts.


Factory-built housing has long been considered inferior to traditional site-built homes. This view has been slowly changing recently as manufactured houses have become better built and sturdier than ever before. Also, while a site-built house is normally much larger than a manufactured home, the size of factory-built homes has increased from an average of 1,512 square feet in 1995 to 1,680 square feet in 2000.

There are two types of factory-built homes. The first is the manufactured home, which is completely built and appointed in the factory before being transported in one or two sections to the community or private lot. These homes come with the seal of approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are often referred to as HUD-Code homes.

The HUD Code is a nationally recognized building code. Passed in 1974, it became federal law in 1976. A HUD-Code seal attached to the exterior of a house means that it meets the regional standards for roof load, wind resistance, thermal efficiency, safety, and durability. Manufacturers producing these types of homes, therefore, are greatly influenced by the government, and their manufacturing plants must be inspected by a HUD employee to ensure houses are built correctly.

The second type of home is the modular home. The components of the house are built at the factory. Then they are shipped to the homeowner’s property where a specialized licensed builder assembles them and adds the desired appointments. Modular homes can be one or two stories and must comply with the same regulations and standards as a site-built home.

Due to design innovations, vertical integration of manufactured housing companies, and partnerships between site builders, land developers and retailers have made HUD-Code housing more competitive with site-built houses. The number of HUD-Code homes placed in permanent foundations is rising, and fewer homes are being placed on land-lease communities. Also, instead of personal property loans, HUD-Code homes are now financed with 30-year mortgages.

Production is highly concentrated. Only 10 of the 89 manufactured-housing companies produce about 75% of all shipments. Since 1992, in its monthly survey of construction, the Census Bureau has tracked the number of homes built using various systems. Modular homes represent a small but significant share–about 3%–of new homes completed. (10)


Recreational vehicles (RVs), or motor homes, are designed as temporary living quarters for camping, travel, or seasonal use. There are four types of RVs sold: motor homes, travel trailers (including fifth-wheel travel trailers), folding camping trailers, and truck campers. RVs may have their own motor power (motor homes), may be mounted (truck campers), or may be towed by another vehicle (travel trailers and folding camping trailers). Conversion vehicles, off-road vehicles, and manufactured housing for long-term residence (park trailers and mobile homes) do not fit the definition of an RV.

According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), manufacturers shipped 311,000 RV units in 2002–a 21.1% increase over the previous year and the second-highest shipment level in nearly a quarter century. (11) In 2000, RV shipments topped 300,000 for only the second time in 22 years–despite the national economic downturn. A 21-year record was established in 1999 when 321,200 units were shipped–the most since 1978.

A record 7.2 million RVs are on the roads in the United States today. A 2001 study commissioned by the RVIA found that nearly seven million U.S. households own an RV–a 7.8% increase over the previous four years. (12) According to RVIA estimates, there are as many as 30 million RV enthusiasts nationwide, including renters. (13)

Due to favorable demographic trends, long-term indicators point to substantial growth in the RV market. As baby boomers enter the prime RV-buying years over the next decade, the RVIA estimates that the number of households owning an RV will reach nearly eight million by 2010, an increase of 15%. (14)


Six companies that produce manufactured homes were sent a preliminary survey. This acted as a focus group so that I could record basic information about the current measurement practices in the industry, thus making it easier to design a specific questionnaire for the entire survey group. Based on the responses from the focus group, I prepared two industry-specific questionnaires targeting the manufactured homes and the motor homes industries. Questions that seemed irrelevant based on the responses from the focus group were replaced with more relevant and specific questions.

Every manufactured homes and motor homes company in the United States was sent a questionnaire and a cover letter, information on the balanced scorecard, and a prepaid self-addressed envelope. A population survey was conducted of the 89 manufactured homes companies and 149 motor homes companies because a sample survey would have resulted in too few responses for the research to be scientifically significant. About 10% of the 238 questionnaires were returned undeliverable because of insufficient address or the business had moved. The information was resent to those companies whose new addresses were located. Companies that did not return a completed questionnaire were contacted by telephone to find out their reason for not responding and to again ask if they would fill out the questionnaire and return it.

The questionnaire was addressed to the CEO or vice president of accounting and finance. The main focus was on each company’s current performance measurement practices and their satisfaction with the existing system. It probed the respondents for their familiarity with the balanced scorecard and their thoughts on its applicability to their company. Questions were framed to cover all four elements of the balanced scorecard as well as any existing or future application in the company of any portion of the balanced scorecard. The questionnaire also covered respondents’ background information, such as education level, experience, and influence on major corporate decisions.


Motor Homes Industry

Results show that motor homes companies with higher sales are more likely to agree that the balanced scorecard applies to their current measurement processes than those with lower sales. Also, companies that do not apply the balanced scorecard appear to have a higher rate of automation, on average, than companies using the balanced scorecard. Small companies with an average automated rate that use the balanced scorecard produce more units per week than small companies with an average automated rate that do not use the balanced scorecard. This suggests that applying the balanced scorecard under the same conditions would improve the latter group’s measurement processes and, as a result, productivity.

While respondents are generally satisfied with their existing measurement practices, they are split on their satisfaction with current growth. Only one respondent in the motor homes industry had knowledge of the balanced scorecard. Areas where respondents feel the balanced scorecard could be applied include cost balances, efficiency, employee satisfaction, cycle time, and customer satisfaction and other areas. Respondents are evenly split in the opinion that balanced scorecard techniques apply to their current processes, but less than half are likely to adopt the balanced scorecard.

A majority of respondents are male and hold an undergraduate degree. Half have over 20 years of industry experience, and more than half have over 16 years of experience with their current company. Only two respondents hold the position of president/CEO or vice president, and the overall influence respondents have on decisions was medium.

Manufactured Homes Industry

In the manufactured homes industry, companies with much larger sales apply the balanced scorecard, even with fewer years of operation and a higher number of employees, but the level of automation does not seem to be a factor in relation to balanced scorecard use.

Respondents are satisfied with their measurement systems and growth. They are split on knowledge of the balanced scorecard. The areas in which they feel the balanced scorecard can be applied include cost variances, efficiency, employee satisfaction, cycle time, and customer satisfaction and others. Most respondents feel that balanced scorecard techniques apply to their current processes and would like to adopt the balanced scorecard approach.

Respondents generally are male, hold an undergraduate degree, and have more than 10 years of industry and company experience. More than half the respondents hold the position of president/CEO or vice president, with very high influence on major corporate decisions.

Both Industries

The average company in the survey is about 20 years old and has annual sales revenue of $50 million. The number of units produced each day varies due to factory size and the type of homes manufactured. In general, average production is around 10 units per day.

Table 3 shows the responses broken down by industry. There seems to be a general consensus to many of the questions. In both industries, the average level of automation is 20% or less. There is greater satisfaction with growth in the manufactured homes industry as compared to the motor homes industry, and companies from both industries indicate satisfaction with their current measurement systems. Motor homes companies conduct more daily tracking and performance measurement.

Knowledge of the balanced scorecard is more prevalent in the manufactured homes industry. Only one respondent in the motor homes industry had knowledge of the balanced scorecard. There is agreement among the manufactured homes companies as to the application of the balanced scorecard. Also, more manufactured homes companies would like to adopt a balanced scorecard than motor homes companies would–less than half of the latter would like to.

Executives visualize possible balanced scorecard applications. One potential use is in addressing financial measures and department improvements, areas that mirror quality and product improvement.

In terms of company size, the survey has revealed some common trends. Large firms are more familiar with the balanced scorecard concept than small firms, particularly in the manufactured homes industry. Instead of concentrating solely on financial results, large firms with sales of over $50 million also focus on other areas, such as production efficiency, to measure their current performance. Small firms, on the other hand, rely mostly on financial indicators. Moreover, large firms are more familiar with the balanced scorecard and are more likely to use it as a measurement system than small firms. In fact, many large companies already use the balanced scorecard in a limited form. It also appears that respondents from large companies have a higher level of education (beyond a bachelor’s degree) than those from smaller companies–one reasonable explanation for the general lack of familiarity with the balanced scorecard among the smaller companies.


Because the balanced scorecard includes subjective as well as objective measures, it provides management with a comprehensive view of operational results. The performance index allows the weighting of the measures to determine an overall result. The incremental approach of the balanced scorecard allows management to develop realistic alternatives and be able to test causality, determine a range of target measures, and evaluate the reasonableness of the targets for future periods. The example presented in Table 2 focused on changing just one measure, the number of customers partnerships. Further modeling would be necessary to investigate changes in multiple measures. Organizations need to consider their options, but a weighting of objective and subjective measures based on planned strategies and formulated analysis can enhance productivity and profitability in the manufactured and motor homes industries.

Management accountants must devise different planning, control, and evaluation systems that deal with the varied aspects of modern business systems. Competition necessitates a flexible system that can lead to continued success, and implementing a balanced scorecard is an effective method to help ensure that happens.

Table 1: Performance Measure Index

Measure Baseline Current

Value Value

ROE 10.00 10.50

Market Share 30.00 31.00

Cash Flow 100,000.00 101,000.00

Sales Growth 10.00 11.00

Operating Income 66,000.00 70,000.00

Order Fill Rate 84.00 85.00

Line Fill Rate 96.00 97.00

Number of Customers’ Part-PS 30.00 30.00

Customer Satisfaction Rating 90.00 90.00

Manufacturing Cycle Time 10.00 10.00

Unit Cost 1.00 0.98

New Product Actual vs. Planned

Introduction 40.00 39.00

Employee Satisfaction Rating 80.00 76.00

Order Fulfillment Cycle Time 10.00 10.00

Product Development to Market Cycle

Time 30.00 30.00

Percent of Sales from Newest Product 20.00 21.00

Manufacturing Yield 95.00 94.00


Measure Index Weighting Weight

Points % Points

ROE 105.00 7.00 7.35

Market Share 103.33 7.00 7.23

Cash Flow 101.00 6.00 6.06

Sales Growth 110.00 6.00 6.60

Operating Income 106.06 7.00 7.42

Order Fill Rate 101.19 6.00 6.07

Line Fill Rate 101.04 7.00 7.07

Number of Customers’ Part-PS 100.00 3.00 3.00

Customer Satisfaction Rating 100.00 7.00 7.00

Manufacturing Cycle Time 100.00 7.00 7.00

Unit Cost 98.00 7.00 6.86

New Product Actual vs. Planned

Introduction 97.50 3.00 2.93

Employee Satisfaction Rating 95.00 4.00 3.80

Order Fulfillment Cycle Time 100.00 7.00 7.00

Product Development to Market Cycle

Time 100.00 7.00 7.00

Percent of Sales from Newest Product 105.00 3.00 3.15

Manufacturing Yield 98.95 6.00 5.94



Adapted from Matthew J. Liberatore and Tan Miller, “A Framework for

Integrating ABC and the Balanced Scorecard into the Logistics Strategy

Development and Monitoring Process,” Journal of Business Logistics,

vol. 19, no. 2, 1998, pp. 131-155.

Table 2: Target vs. Actual

Measure Baseline Target %

Value Value Change

ROE ** 10.00 10.50 1.05

Market Share *** 30.00 33.00 1.10

Cash Flow ** 100,000.00 103,000.00 1.03

Sales Growth ** 10.00 11.50 1.15

Operating Income ** 66,000.00 72,600.00 1.10

Order Fill Rate *** 84.00 84.00 1.00

Line Fill Rate *** 96.00 96.00 1.00

Number of Customers’ Part-PS * 30.00 33.00 1.10

Customer Satisfaction Rating *** 90.00 103.50 1.15

Manufacturing Cycle Time 10.00 10.00 1.00

Unit Cost 1.00 0.90 0.90

New Product Actual vs. Planned

Intro 40.00 40.00 1.00

Employee Satisfaction Rating 80.00 80.00 1.00

Order Fulfillment Cycle Time 10.00 9.00 0.90

Product Development to Market

Cycle Time 30.00 30.00 1.00

Percent of Sales From Newest

Product 20.00 20.00 1.00

Manufacturing Yield 95.00 95.00 1.00


Measure Actual % Difference

Value Change in Change

ROE ** 10.60 1.06 0.01

Market Share *** 32.00 1.07 -0.03

Cash Flow ** 104,000.00 1.04 0.01

Sales Growth ** 11.50 1.15 0.00

Operating Income ** 73,100.00 1.11 0.01

Order Fill Rate *** 80.00 0.95 -0.05

Line Fill Rate *** 90.00 0.94 -0.06

Number of Customers’ Part-PS * 33.00 1.10 0.00

Customer Satisfaction Rating *** 95.00 1.06 -0.09

Manufacturing Cycle Time 10.00 1.00 0.00

Unit Cost 0.90 0.90 0.00

New Product Actual vs. Planned

Intro 40.00 1.00 0.00

Employee Satisfaction Rating 80.00 1.00 0.00

Order Fulfillment Cycle Time 9.00 0.90 0.00

Product Development to Market

Cycle Time 30.00 1.00 0.00

Percent of Sales From Newest

Product 20.00 1.00 0.00

Manufacturing Yield 95.00 1.00 0.00


Measure Index Weighted

Points Points

ROE ** 106.00 7.42

Market Share *** 106.67 7.47

Cash Flow ** 104.00 6.24

Sales Growth ** 115.00 6.90

Operating Income ** 110.76 7.75

Order Fill Rate *** 95.24 5.71

Line Fill Rate *** 93.75 6.56

Number of Customers’ Part-PS * 110.00 3.30

Customer Satisfaction Rating *** 105.56 7.39

Manufacturing Cycle Time 100.00 7.00

Unit Cost 90.00 6.30

New Product Actual vs. Planned

Intro 100.00 3.00

Employee Satisfaction Rating 100.00 4.00

Order Fulfillment Cycle Time 90.00 6.30

Product Development to Market

Cycle Time 100.00 7.00

Percent of Sales From Newest

Product 100.00 3.00

Manufacturing Yield 100.00 6.00


* Incrementally changed measure, growth by 10%

** Measures positively correlated to altered measure

*** Measures negatively correlated to altered measure

Adapted from Matthew J. Liberatore and Tan Miller, “A Framework for

Integrating ABC and the Balanced Scorecard into the Logistics

Strategy Development and Monitoring Process,” Journal of Business

Logistics, vol. 19, no. 2, 1998, pp. 131-155.

Table 3: Survey Results by Industry

Motor Manufactured

1 Years in existence 33 22

2 Sales

a. 0-25M 3 7

b. 26-50 1 4

c. 51-75 0 0

d. 76-100 0 1

e. over 100 6 0

3 Units produced weekly

a. 0-5 7 2

b. 6-10 1 6

c. 11-15 1 0

d. 16-20 0 2

e. over 20 4 2

4 Number of employees

a. 0-50 3 1

b. 51-100 1 3

c. 101-150 0 1

d. 151-200 1 1

e. over 200 8 6

5 Percentage automated

a. 0-20 9 12

b. 21-40 2 0

c. 41-60 0 0

d. 61-80 0 0

e. 81-100 1 0

6 Satisfaction with growth

Yes 7 10

No 5 2

7 Satisfaction with measurement system

a. completely satisfied 1 0

b. satisfied 7 6

c. neutral 0 1

d. dissatisfied 3 4

e. completely dissatisfied 0 0

8 Tracking and measuring performance

a. Daily 7 1

b. Weekly 2 6

c. Monthly 5 4

d. Yearly 0 2

e. Other 0 3

9 Knowledge about the balanced scorecard

Yes 1 6

No 10 7

10 Areas where the balanced scorecard can be applied

a. Cost variances 4 7

b. Efficiency 5 8

c. Employee satisfaction 5 9

d. Cycle time 3 5

e. Other 4 6

11 Does the balanced scorecard apply to your current process?

Yes 5 8

No 5 2

12 Would you like to adopt the balanced scorecard?

Yes 4 8

No 6 4


1 Gender

Male 9 9

Female 4 4

2 Education

a. High school 0 1

b. Undergraduate degree 11 9

c. Graduate degree 1 3

d. Doctorate degree 0 0

e. Other 0 0

3 Experience in industry

a. 0-5 1 2

b. 6-10 1 1

c. 11-15 3 3

d. 16-20 1 3

e. over 20 6 4

4 Experience with company

a. 0-5 1 2

b. 6-10 2 3

c. 11-15 3 5

d. 16-20 1 0

e. over 20 5 3

5 Job title

a. President/CEO 1 6

b. Vice president 1 1

c. Manager 3 3

d. Executive 0 0

e. Other 7 3

6 Influence on decision making

a. Very high 3 6

b. High 3 3

c. Medium 1 4

d. Nominal 3 0

e. Negligible 2 0

(1) Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, “Why Does Business Need a Balanced Scorecard?” Journal of Cost Management, May-June 1997, pp. 5-11.

(2) Tim Fielden, “Pilot Refines Decision Support,” InfoWorld, November 29, 1999, pp. 77-78.

(3) Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, “The Balanced Scorecard: Measures That Drive Performance,” Harvard Business Review, January-February 1992, pp. 71-79.

(4) Fielden, 1999.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Allan R. Bailey, Chee W. Chow, and Kamal M. Haddad, “Continuous Improvement in Business Education: Insights from the For-Profit Sector and Business School Deans,” Journal of Education for Business, January-February 1999, pp. 165-181.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Kaplan and Norton, 1997.

(9) Matthew J. Liberatore and Tan Miller, “A Framework for Integrating ABC and the Balanced Scorecard into the Logistics Strategy Development and Monitoring Process,” Journal of Business Logistics, 1998, pp. 131-155.

(10) Gopal Ahluwacia, “Factory-Made Housing,” Housing Economics, November 2001, pp. 7-9.

(11) Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), “Baby Boomers Boost RV Ownership to Record Levels,” p0206.htm.

(12) RVIA, “RV Snowbirds Escape the Big Chill to Enjoy Fun in the Sun,” breakingnews/p0304.htm, 2003.

(13) Ibid.

(14) RVIA, “Baby Boomers Boost RV Ownership to Record Levels.”


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Charles J. Pineno, Ph.D., is a professor of accounting at Shenandoah University, Winchester, Va. He can be contacted at (540) 665-4615 or

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