Total quality management versus business process re-engineering: a question of degree

Williams, AJ, Davidson, JL, Partington, RS and Waterworth, SD 2003, 'Total quality management versus business process re-engineering: a question of degree' , Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 217 (1) , pp. 1-10.

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


An increasing number of manufacturing organizations are placing direct emphasis on operations improvement as a means of achieving competitive success. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), however, generally lack the resources in capital, time and expertise to implement business process re-engineering (BPR), as has been advocated by a number of authors. This paper presents a comparative analysis of continuous improvement (CI) versus BPR approaches to operational change. Change implies risk, and SMEs naturally require a means for establishing levels of uncertainty and net return. Equally, the performance measures adopted by these two (respectively, bottom-up and top-down) approaches differ significantly and normally defy direct comparison. A dynamic systems simulation is developed from a case study within the plastics industry and is used to evaluate the implementation of either varying levels of improvement or natural processes in the case of BPR. Although it is an industry-specific model, the approach raises several implications. Of specific interest is the trade-off between performance improvement and cost, time frame and risk. Attention is also focused on evaluation of the threshold at which the two philosophies overlap and the point at which companies may make the transition between the two philosophies. The paper goes on to evaluate the decrease in the return of investment (ROI), as improvements impinge on other stages within the process, creating up- and downstream bottlenecks. It also evaluates the level of a single 'natural process', as a means of costing BPR implementation. The paper concludes with the definition of ROI curves, which are intended to inform SMEs in the selection of appropriate improvement strategies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Total quality management, continuous improvement, business process re-engineering, operations management, systems thinking, simulation, resource allocation, return on investment, decision making
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD0028 - 0070 Management. Industrial Management > HD62 Standardization. Simplification. Waste
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Built and Human Environment
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Publisher: Professional Engineering Publishing
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 09544054
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2007 14:12
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2017 13:43

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)