The Literature Regarding Bpr Business Essay


In this chapter the literature regarding BPR from the introduction of this phenomenon till recent progress is discussed. Historical perspective of BPR, definitions of BPR from different authors, major differences between the BPR and rest of change concepts, the models used in BPR and later on role of HR in BPR will be discussed briefly. Later in this chapter some of the studies conducted on various companies from different countries are conferred and also the pro's and con's along with the hurdles and causes of failure are highlighted.

Historical Perspective

In today's business world with rapid change and global expansion, the trends are also changing. Companies are shifting from product centered approach to customer oriented approach. Therefore the priorities are also changing and the companies are trying to satisfy their customers to deliver what they want in terms of values. Therefore to meet customer's need and expectation and to get competitive advantage, a need to change in existent process arises. Companies need to identify the tasks that are unnecessary, causing delay and inefficiency, identification of areas and jobs that can be reengineered with the help of developed and up to date technology. Thus, BPR provides roadmap to achieve organizational goals that results in profit optimization and productivity enhancement. The combination of man and machine in such a way increases both effectiveness and efficiency of the organizations. Stevens (1994), Mckay & Radnor (1998).

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The concept of reengineering was adopted by US based firms in early 1980's while in public sector the issue to increase productivity took place in almost late 1990's ( Savoie 1994, Pollitt & Bouckaert 2000) as a replacement to Total Quality Management (TQM) and Change Management to condense numeral of non value added activities. BPR is useful in reducing cost, improving quality and service and speed (efficiency). BPR utilizes Information technology (I.T) and other technological advancement more effectively and efficiently than the other methods. (Gunasekaran & kobo. 2002, Soliman & Yousef 1998, Huang & Palvia 2001). Similarly, Stoddard and Jarven (1995) stated in their research that BPR is an effective tool for an organization in terms of operational cost reduction, customer services, staff improvement and it is effective in bringing innovation. Furthermore they concluded that effective for any organization in service sector as well as in manufacturing setup.

O'Neill and Soha (1999), collected all the available literature on BPR from 1980 till 1998. This paper discussed all the aspects of BPR and briefly elaborated the core concept of BPR from the published authors, scholars and articles. Hammer (1990), Davenport and Short (1990) were among the first people who explored and brought BPR in front of the world. BPR is said to be a new approach for the process management that brings radical change (improvement) in organizational performance. Hammer and Champy (1993) addressed the forces that are driving firms' to bring radical change i.e. customer, competition and change. These forces are essential for competitive advantage and survival in globalized setups.

Venkartaman (1991) elaborates the birth of BPR in his study as for the first time effort of BPR was to align the I.T with strategy. This effort started in 1984 during research program at M.I.T. Researchers worked on the concept and come up with five level criteria;

Localized exploitation: this level is about the utilization of I.T within organization to enhance efficiency at every operational level.

Internal Integration: at this second level, expansion of I.T program at every level of organization to insure efficiency and effectiveness.

Business Process Redesign (BPR): once I.T is aligned at every level of organization, at this stage I.T is aligned with the firms' process and objectives.

Business network redesign: this stage concerns with the redesigning of firms' network i.e. vertical and horizontal, value chain and supply chain etc.

Business scope redesign: this is the last stage and it deals with the firms' rethinking process. As with the fulfillment of objectives, company moves ahead and it has to expand their scope in terms of mission, vision, goals and objectives.

This was the first time that a proper procedure was developed and had dramatic results in the 1980's and 90's. Later on researchers and scholars had designed other process by studying and evaluating the outcomes. McKay A. and Radnor Z. (1998)

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On the other hand, Enterprise resource planning (ERP) in chase of change management are enhanced performance developed in US-based companies in 1980s. Since BPR has become a buzz word to fetch about innovative program and cultural change in business world many companies organized BPR and achieved new competitive advantage in global market. Ranganathan and Dhaliwal (2001), disclosed that most of Singapore firms (50%) has implemented BPR and other 30% in coming 3 years to increase competitive advantage and stay alive in dynamic and globalized environment. Smith (2003), the basic need for firms to go through BPR is to advance communication within organization. BPR has amazed and surprised companies across the world and is increasing popularity day by day.

According to Huang & Palvia (2001), change management and corporate culture have played important role in BPR and ERP acceptance in a variety of countries. Factors affecting BPR execution results can be classified into two categories National and environmental and organizational and internal. Sheu et al.(2003) finds that culture and language, government and corporate policies, management styles and regulations are amongst key feature that have been taken for to successfully implement BPR. Martinson (2004) reported that within same country different organizations can behave differently because of their government policies and internal factors of organization, as results showed in his study of four private ventures performed and showed much better results than four SOE (State Owned Enterprises) in China.


A crowd of interrelated tasks that creates value is called a business process (Hewitt, 1995) While process is set of logically related tasks performed to attain some defined results (Davenport & Short 1990).

Hammer and Champey defined Business process Research (BPR) as "the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business process to achieve dramatic improvement in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service and speed."

Another definition of BPR was from Davenport (1993), "encompasses the envisioning of new work strategies, the actual process design activity, and the implementation of the change in all its complex technological, human, and organizational dimensions."

Interpretation of business process varies from author to author (for example Hammer and Champy (1993) thinks it as radical change and rethinking of overall process to achieve overall performance in terms of cost, quality, service and speed, while Davenport and Short (1990) calls it as a process of analysis and workflow redesign in an organization. Talwar (1993) on the other hand emphasized on rethinking and reconstructing the organizational structure, workflow and value chain. Petrozzo and Stepper (1994) call it synergetic and synchronized redesign of firms' process and overall system to improve the operations. O'Neill and Soha (1999) argued that focus of the business process or change differs among many researchers. Hammer (1990) called it BPR (Business Process Re-engineering), Davenport and Short (1990) used BPR (Business Process Redesign), Harrington (1990) used term Business Process Improvement while Business process transformation term was used by Burke and Peppard (1993) etc. In all discussion, it is clear that the authors are obvious about the importance of BPR and all agree on the result i.e. improved performance, efficient and effectiveness. In short it can be said that radical improvement of organizational performance and process is the key aspect of BPR.

Gunasekaran & kobo(2002) stated that BPR includes organizational restructuring, behavioral change through I.T , that result in improved process delivery system & improved customer service level.

BPR can be fruitful when process is aligned with the customer's requirement in long-term. It may not be effective in short-term due to the change enduring. Hammer and Champy (1993). Furthermore, when the company thinks they are captured and occupied, at that stage the company needs to rethink and come up with some solution (change).

BPR concerns and focuses on whole process it provides the chance to reengineer the processor to decrease radically the number of activities with the help of highly developed I.T ( Hammer , 1990, Hammer and Champy J, 1993, Peppard & Rowland 1995). BPR is a technique used since 1980's in companies for efficient and cost effectiveness. (Hammer , M and Champy J. , 2003). IT can be used to lessen number of non value added activities. A group of linked tasks that creates value for customer is called a business process (Hewitt, 1995) While process is set of rationally related responsibilities performed to achieve some defined results (Davenpost & Short 1990) A process development team should be recognized with objective to analyze and classify non value added activities and eradicate them. Through efficient BPR a firm can achieve competitive advantage. (Maguter P et al.2010).

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Chan and Peel (1998) conducted a survey of 37 companies in 17 different sectors to examine causes and impact of BPR, concluded that the primary reasons for BPR are growing competence and improving customer service. Frances & Mcintosh (1997) identified causes for appearance of BPR, such as customers, competition, technology. I.T and globalized Reengineering makes one entity responsible for whole business process (self, 1995)

Difference Between TQM and BPR

"Total Quality Management (TQM) refers to management methods used to enhance quality and productivity in organizations, particularly businesses". Cua et al. (2001). TQM is comprehensive approach that is used to make sure organization work properly. It involves all the departments and workforce with the support of customers and clients.

The concepts of TQM (Total Quality Management) and change management are now over lapped by BPR due to unsatisfactory results of TQM and change management (Willmott, H , 1994). Reason of this move from TQM towards BPR is because on average 85% of the companies are not satisfied from the results derived from TQM.

TQM and BPR both approaches are meant to bring efficiency in an organization. Both aiming to bring and implement change in an organization. Although aim of TQM and BPR is same but the practices of these approaches are different. BPR seeks to bring change by introducing new system while TQM on the other hand is mostly concerned with bringing quality in Products and services. TQM is highly concerned with the quality based of customer focused approach while BPR is concerned with innovation and more technology oriented. Harvey and Millet. (1999).

BPR brings radical innovation and improvement in process while TQM is process of gradual and continuous improvement program. Risk of success and failure in BPR is high while it is moderate in TQM.

Soliman & Yousef (1998) claimed that the success of BPR depends on the use of IT and they also identify the characteristics of successful BPR. Furthermore, in redesigning work process ICT information and technology play vital role ( Hammer, M. and Champy B. 1993)

BPR once considered being a top-down approach but later on the importance of employees involvement has been realized and is considered to be a major factor of BPR success. Parys.M; and Thijs N. 2003). Further more in this study they identified four pillars of Copernican reform for better employer and better service (New organization structure, New HR vision, new management culture and new way of working). On the other hand TQM is bottom-up approach and involves its key HR in decision making and improvement program.

Process Improvement (TQM) versus Process Innovation (BPR)

From Davenport (1993, p. 11)

Improvement (TQM)

Innovation (BPR)

Level of Change



Starting Point

Existing Process

Clean Slate

Frequency of Change



Time Required






Typical Scope

Narrow, within functions

Broad, cross-functional




Primary Enabler

Statistical Control

Information Technology

Type of Change



Models and tools of BPR

From review of literature it has been observed that very few agreed on the use of similar tools and techniques for BPR. But most commonly used tools and techniques are: Process Visualization ( define the vision for the process, the reason for change) Barret (1994), Process Mapping proposed by Cypress (1994), Change management ( managing change in terms of workflow, organizational change and the human force) suggested by Kennedy (1994), Benchmarking (being an important factor of BPR for the sake of development and continues improvement) Chang (1994), and Process and customer focus ( customer oriented approach and value chain improvement) suggested by Vantrappen (1992). Among them most of the time authors referred to the use of combination of two or more tools together because of the fact that BPR is not only concern with one single part of an organization. it is a radical change and improvement in both soft and technical aspects of firm. Therefore using one method may not be abundant.

Lin et al. (2002) in their study on business process modeling (BPM) discussed five BPR methodologies i.e. Process analysis and design methodology consisted of four phases (Wastell et al.1996), Process reengineering life cycle having five stages ( Kettinger et al. 1995) BPR framework of three elements (Mayer et al. 1995), BPR stages comprised of five stages (Davenport, 1993)and BPR stages having six stages ( Kettinger et al. 1997). Lin et al.(2002) after critically evaluating the methodologies of BPR concludes that they are all based on ten concepts consisting of: activity, behavior, resource, relation, agent, information, entity, event, verification and validity, and on procedure. Essential concepts were missing in all the models and methods, therefore, Lin (2002) proposed a generic BPM (business process model) to remove the gap and provided a comprehensive model.

The phenomenon of BPR is explained and categorized by most of authors and researchers in I.T driven approach and Quality driven approach. Childe et al.,(1994) explains that I.T is the need of the day, not only for the companies but for every stakeholder. Therefore, utilization of I.T is essential for an organization. MIS, websites, networking and e-commerce helps firm in reengineering solutions, business modeling, and workflow management and in managing value chain. Moreover, technology helps in decision making for top management. The quality driven approach on the other hand helps organizations in identification of customers' need, cost minimization and most importantly in improved product and services. Davenport (1994).

Davenport (1995) further argues that BPR should not be copied the same way other firms are doing. It should be developed according to the need and expectations of every firm because of the variation of firm's requirement and so in their resources. Tikkanen H. and Polonen P. (1996), in their study say that BPR is revolutionary process and it begins from scratch. Both risk and return are higher than rest of the change phenomenon. In their study, they concluded that in Finland most of the service sector companies have adopted BPR broadly as compared to the production sector. Correspondingly public sector is utilizing the fruits of BPR as service sector of Finland.

Moreover five phases of BPR procedure are; Phase 1 (Mission and vision, strategic planning and goals), Phase 2 (defining objectives and principles and identification of opportunities), Phase 3 (elaboration of future perspective i.e. "to be" and "as is" situation, Phase 4 (gap analysis and planning for implementation) and Phase 5, (implementation).

On the other hand, Ellspermann and Robinson (1994) discussed three stage criteria; first make it evident to the end user (customer), secondly it should create wealth and provide competitive advantage and finally make BPR team comprising of top management and external professionals. In addition, the researchers explain that the team should set the objectives and then they have to conduct analysis and to evaluate the success ratio of the BPR project. After the analysis the team should work on redesigning including all the possible changes and innovations. Till this stage all work is of formulation, once everything is done then implementation and more precisely conduct pilot testing first. While going through pilot testing, record the behavior of employees and the reaction of organization to change and if the results are satisfactory then implement the BPR.

HRD cycle (skills need identification to training completion) I.T is an vital constituent in such integration of a descriptive model presented (Wayatt & Kletke, 1997). The suitable treatment of the human motivational reactions to change is undeniably as important in the successful introduction of extremely new methods as are the technical features of process design (Gunasekara N. and Nath 1997) otherwise the employees will show confrontation to change and eventually will feel stressful. BPR is top-down, process driven approach run by senior executives, which aims to make better the performance by radical changes in the system in short time(Ardhaldjin and Fahner. 1994). HR (internal) and political (external) are among the major obstacles in BPR. McAdam and O'Hare (1998). Furthermore, some other barriers e.g. organizational culture and resistance to change were also recorded by researchers. Zairi and Sinclair, (1995). Crowe et al. (1997) two third of BPR projects fail due to lack of proper planning. Modeling Techniques and analysis used from 1993 to 2000 were reviewed by Gunsekaran & Kobu (2002) used in BPR mainly conceptual models, simulation models, object oriented models, integration definition models, network models and knowledge based models. The tools and techniques used for redesigning human resources HR function Conceptual Models presented by Kesler 1995 suggesting redesigning. HR functions with the help and involvement of line executives up gradation of competencies and analyzing of role along with addition of new roles of HR staff. Furthermore researcher argues that redefining of fundamental partnership role should be supported rather than using best practices while reengineering the HR delivery system. Most of researcher's has emphasized on using conceptual models (31.1%), because they are easy to understand by the end users. They are based on total system modeling but on the other hand conceptual models are aggregate models with less accuracy. Conceptual models are information based systems that deal with information flow and HRM and are expectedly highly to work with human cooperation with in firms contexts.


Human resource plays major role in the success and failure of BPR because HR is a key factor of any organization. while reviewing the available literature on BPR it has been reviled that very few studies are conducted on the role of HRM in BPR success.

Zucchi F., & Edwards J., (2000) conducted study on exploring the attributes of HRM in BPR. Their study was focusing on 11 UK firms' that were undergone or under process of BRP. Findings of their study were; due to BPR organizational structure has changed, role of management increased and are now more accountable a as well as process oriented. Furthermore need of new training programs increased, teamwork and training on multi tasking have increased but major part of teams are still untrained. Due to BPR reward systems were revised and changed. Need for training on new structure and managing human resource is vital for any organization. To motivate the employees; they should be rewarded properly. Their study indicates that career paths were also changed due to BPR. Training programs were launched on the bases of multitasking skill development so that team works properly and effectively. Hence it can be said that in either typical or complex H.R system, the footprints are always of human kind that leads firm to the level of success and acknowledgement, therefore without their consideration and efforts and organization cannot achieve the actual cause of reengineering.

To maximize the human and other resources companies uses and utilizes BP. ( Oates. D. 1993). The successful implementation of BPR for a radical change needs change in attitude and the senior participation of devoted individuals and teams (Roby 1995). Smith (1995) point out that major feature of BPR is the human element. Therefore the companies should make sure that their employees are rightfully motivated and technology is available which is required for training

Due to BPR those masses whose jobs are reengineered in organization and are having no place in organization is a biggest problem for HR department. Layoff, turnover, low paid, stress, resistance to change are the major threats for organization. Reich.B. (1991). It has been suggested by Hickman (1993) that the involvement of people (employees) in reengineering specially in implementation phase is vital to insure and achieve organizational goals.

HR specialist are having two main aspects to think and act; to facilitate the change taking place and incorporate HRM techniques to tailor and adaptation of BPR by overcoming resistance to change. HRM specialists will have to work for assuring human resource is a different factor from FOPs (factors of production). Willmott, H , (1994).

HR department will have to play a vital role in resolving conflict between humans and system and to facilitate employees. For instance development of HR system along with strong leadership and proper effective communication will help in dissolving resistance. To improve the organization performance by process reengineering HRD is necessary and acts as a corner stone in the success of organization and in performance improvement. Deam P. (1999)

The degree of participation/ involvement from employees is as necessary as other aspects of reengineering. In implementation phase employees participation is very essential while less involvement is required in planning and development phase.

One of the important attribute of BPR is to take advantage from highly educated and capable work force Beckford (1998) Work around process are taking place of task oriented jobs. Hammer & Champy (1993)

Herzog N. et al, (2007) conducted research on the BPR variables in the Slovenian companies. Research was based on seven critical success factors (CSF) including management commitment, Education & training, team work, BPR project characteristics, employee cooperation, information technology support, and levers & results. Including 56 sub components to validate and estimate the dimension of BPR. According to the results shown, all seven plays vital role in the success or failure of BPR, but the employee's education and training, and team work are closely related with the implementation and operation of BPR in an organization.

Causes of Failure

Besides the success stories of BPR there is a list of failures in business world. These causes of failure vary from case to case and company to company. Some of the common reasons pointed by authors (Hammer and Champy, 1993; Valentine and Knights, 1998; Belmiro et al., 2000; are;

Management heterogeneity: BPR requires the coordination of people, processes and technology but it can only be achieved with clear vision and values. Top management sometimes is rigid in this regard and fails to bring harmony and integration in the key components.

Vague methodology: adaptation of proper methodology is essential for the success of radical change process but companies when adopting BPR often fails to choose the right method for introducing the change.

Cross-functional teams creating problem: most of the time companies fail to build proper teams and because of the need for cross functional teams, it creates problem for management.

Employee commitment and job security: top management sometimes forgets to assure job security and this result in low morale and decrees in employee commitment.

Focus on short-term objectives: sometime companies expect that BPR will deliver results soon in short-term but it is not the case. BPR is long-term process due to change enduring and it takes much longer time than the TQM and value-chain process to provide results.

Basic concept: companies that are following someone's footprints ignore or are not able to fulfill the prerequisites of BPR and results in failure.

Lack of proper training: when BPR is implemented, most of the jobs and functions change. Therefore employee needs to gain the new skills but company pays less attention to provide training.

Other reasons including, lack of resources, leadership, communication, resistance to change, organizational structure, organizational culture.

He(2004) surveyed 150 organizations and stated that resource based perspective that BPR is major success factor with the help of executive support. He(2005) conducted a research on 110 China base enterprises to understand the BPR Implementation in china and their role and impact on these enterprises, to reveal the factors effecting BPR, and to highlight the managerial role in BPR. Study was based on primary data using questionnaires with 7 scale rating from senior management, the study revealed that majority of firms agrees and accept the importance of BPR. BPR improves the information and communication. Two major success factors in BPR are improving cross functional communications and management support. Among various barriers, resistance to change and new ideas (creativity) are major obstacles. The researcher suggested improving technology and business process by utilizing firms resources, take corrective actions while keeping the existing culture in mind.

Belmiro et al.(2000) studied BPR in UK and Brazilian companies who adopted BPR. Sample was four companies from each country. Although the culture wand economic conditions of both nations varied alto but the results showed similarity among those eight firms. From the case study approach in this study they concluded that in practical ground BPR is practiced and implemented differently. In both countries, firms are lacking the basic concepts of BPR and this leads to the birth of so many unanticipated problems and issues and problems. These issues play role as a barrier and finally a failure to all the efforts. This is due to more focus on short term objectives rather than long-term orientation, among the sample firms, stream lining was done successfully but proper reengineering was yet to be conducted. Ignorance towards HR, team building, job security and organizational culture are the major causes of failure. This is due to lack of basic awareness and ignorance of understanding the process flow and not communicating the causes of redesigning. Thus the researchers recommends that all those companies who are in thinking or implementing process of reengineering should work on organizational structure, re-work design, reducing burden and to increase flexibility and competitiveness, firms' should reduce the number of layers between company and client. Furthermore, emphasis should be given to training and education. For educating and implementing the radical change, top management should play their role. Finally, authors suggested that educational institutes are having an important role in fulfilling the market need by providing educated fresh blood to the economy and also in mentoring.

Higgs and Rowland (2009) argue that bringing change in organization through BPR results in better financial performance, but most of the organizations fail to achieve the objectives. Hedley (2010) in their study referring to the study of Hailey (2004) stated that about 70% failure rate was recorded during change process and mostly it fails while implementing objectives. Furthermore the study conducted on banking sector of UK by Hedley et al. (2010) identifies that the change was not communicated properly to all stakeholders and so were the reasons of that change. Moreover, training was not provided to all the employees but to certain level of management. Although it is the fact that within services sector, mostly line management deals with customers but due to ignorance the bank faced failure in BPR. Similar to study conducted by Belmiro et al. (2000), the banking sector of UK were ignorant of the BPR basics, thus were facing similar problems in incorporating change.

In addition to other factor, lack of financial resources and HR and insufficient I.T are main obstruction in success of BPR along with executive support, vision, inflexible organizational structure (Ranganathan & Dhaliwal, 2001)

Critical success factors (CSF) of BPR described by authors varies from each other. Components of effective BPR described by authors in available survey are shown in table were discussed by Herzog et al. (2007). These factors play an important role in successfully achievement of organizational goals and fulfillment of expectations from BPR. BPR does not guarantee profits unless the CSF is properly worked out.

After critically evaluating the proposed CSF's from different authors, it has been observed that all agrees upon the use and utilization if IT and are considering IT being an integral part of BPR. Moreover, from employees perspectives (i.e. HR) authors have concentrated on HR factors, employees' empowerment, education and training, skills requirement, teamwork and employees' cooperation. This study is also focusing on factors relating to HR and its role in BPR, therefore based on available literature about the role and importance of HR factors (being CSF) in BPR cannot be ignored. As several authors just mentioned HR factors or involvement of Human factors being CSF for BPR but fell short to provide complete evidence as what major aspects of HR are the Critical Success factors in BPR. Therefore, this study will be analyzing and will be based on the employee education & training, and teamwork as CSF defined (used) by Herzog et al. (2007). Education and training will be accessed by the similar nine attributes and teamwork on six attributes used in prior research.


Hall et al.


Maull et al. (1995)

Guimaraes and Bond (1996)

Terziovski et al. (2003)

Maull et al. (2003)

Herzog et al. (2007).


Organizational structure

Scope of changes


Management commitment

Top management commitment





Employee empowerment

Customer focus


Human and organizational factors

Education and training.


Roles and responsibilities

Business process architecture

Methods &tools

Continuous improvement

Business process architecture

Project of BPR.



And incentives

Performance measure


Performance outcome


Performance measurement

Team work.


Information technology

Information technology


Information technology

Role of information


Information technology support.


Shared values




Strategic approach

Employee cooperation

Levers and results.

From the discussion above, it is revealed that BPR success is just a dream without concerning and proper attention towards the human resource of an organization. Factors discussed in the literature suggest that teamwork is one major issue for the companies to concern because of cross-functional activities. One can introduce I.T or any other advance equipment but to manage it and to operate that equipment, HR should be provided with proper education and training. Therefore in this study, focus will be on two factors (i.e. teamwork, employee training and education) and its relation with BPR.


BPR is as important in public sector as it is in private sector. To make this BPR work success fully it should be implemented with bottom up participation in public sector by involving both internal employees and external consultants. Parys and Thijs. (2003)

Literature revealed that almost every firm needs different BPR approach depends upon its needs and quantity of transformation and strategic vision. Shin. & Jemella, (2002). Moreover, it has been observed that Managers and leaders play vital role in successfully implementation of BPR and to minimize resistance to change, and the major obstacles includes leadership, Organizational culture and H.R. Rogerson. (1996).

For the successful implementation of radical change it is necessary to equip firm's workforce with the knowledge about change and technology. There is a need for proper training and education for employees' at every level of organization. Cross-functional teams are expected to deliver the results and they are supposed to achieve organizational goals. Therefore, teamwork is an integral part of BPR success and ultimately of firm's success.

This research is based on measuring the role of teamwork, education and training provided in BPR. In next chapter, methodology and approaches adopted for this study will be discussed and later chapters of findings, analysis and conclusion will be discussed.

Cua, K. O., K. E. McKone, and R. G. Schroeder. 2001. Relationships between implementation of TQM, JIT, and TPM and manufacturing performance. Journal of Operations Management 19 (6) 675-694.