Using grey relational analysis and
TRIZ to identify KSFs and
strategies for choosing importers
An example of the Taiwanese hand-tool
Po-Yin Lin and Tzong-Ru (Jiun-Shen) Lee
Department of Marketing, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung City,
Taiwan, Republic of China, and
Agnieszka M. Dadura
Institute of Electronic Commerce, National Chung Hsing University,
Taichung City, Taiwan, Republic of China
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine the key success factors (KSFs) of purchasing
decision making of overseas importers of Taiwanese products and the Taiwanese exporters; and
second, to translate these KSFs into critical problems and formulate strategies to solve them.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use grey theory to identify the KSFs. In the end, 24
KSFs are obtained and changed into 22 critical problems. That is, the authors deﬁne what
characteristics need to be improved for each critical problem and what characteristics could worsen
(deteriorate) when the improved parameters are applied to solve the critical problems. Then, the
authors use the TRIZ contradiction matrix to determine inventive principles they relate to and apply
them to formulate the strategies for the hand-tool industry.
Findings – The study offers short-, medium- and long-term improvement strategies for companies in
the hand-tool industry in the area of purchasing decision making.
Originality/value – The paper contributes in four ways. First, in understanding the overseas
importers and the Taiwanese exporters’ purchasing decision making with reference to the hand-tool
industry in Taiwan. Second, it determines B2B communication tools, which is a theoretical contribution
of this paper to the literature. Third, companies in Taiwan and other countries can also apply strategies
formulated in this research to solve similar problems. Finally, it simulates the critical problems and its
solutions in the operations.
Keywords Taiwan, Hand tools, Critical success factors, Decision making, Imports, Exports
Paper type Research paper
The hand-tool industry, a long-standing industry in Taiwan, has been developing for
last 40 years. The quality of many items produced by the industry is improving,
especially the materials, functionality, the equipment used for manufacturing, the
industry’s personnel’s skills, and the internal operation models. This is leading Taiwan
to gain a strong position in the international hand-tool market.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received March 2010
Revised October 2010
Accepted October 2010
Journal of Manufacturing Technology
Vol. 22 No. 4, 2011
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited