Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

9.6 Scenarios and Exercises

Intended learning outcomes: Review factors that influence people’s acceptance of ERP software. Differentiate between standard and company-specific software. Describe basic issues of software for transcorporate planning & control.



9.6.1      Factors That Influence People’s Acceptance of ERP Software

Look again at Figure 9.3.2.1 and recall the three main areas that have an influence on a person’s acceptance of ERP software. Please describe for each area the factors that have the greatest effect on acceptance. Does your personal experience match the findings presented in Figure 9.3.2.1? Please discuss this with your colleagues.

Solution:

a.    Personal features: In this area, general knowledge of data processing and experience and support from colleagues have the highest impact on acceptance.

b.    Support for employees during implementation: In this area, the most important factor is being informed of the reasons for implementing the ERP software. Other factors that influence employee acceptance are duration and breadth of training and satisfaction with training. Also important are cooperation between departments, planning and organization, and time to learn the software aside from normal daily work activities during the implementation phase.

c.    User’s opinion of the ERP software: From the user’s point of view, the most important factor is whether the user feels that the adopted software is generally suitable for his or her own work. Another factor with high impact is the “scope for action,” meaning that the software gives users the freedom to decide the order in which they perform their tasks and the sequence of activities within each task.


9.6.2      Standard or Company-Specific Software

Today, ERP standard packages like mySAP™ or J.D. Edwards are used to support planning & control activities by IT. However, a lot of company-specific software is still being produced in this field. Can you explain why?

Hint: Ask people in companies using company-specific software about this issue and compare their responses to the arguments given in Sections 9.1.2 and 9.2.6.


9.6.3      Software for Transcorporate Planning & Control

Figure 9.2.4.1 illustrated the SCM software concept and some of the tasks it performs. In this exercise, you will examine this concept further and look at some success factors.

How do you evaluate the claim of some SCM software salespeople that SCM software at last solves the problems that ERP could not handle, such as:

a.    Taking into account capacity constraints when creating production schedules. (Hint: Compare especially the planning principles of the processor-oriented and the variant-oriented concept.)

b.    Finding the correct solution. (Hint: Look very carefully at the structure of Figure 9.2.4.1)

c.    Finding best solutions rapidly (real-time planning).

Finally, consider the more general question that is raised in Section 9.3.1, which discussed possibilities and limitations of the IT support of planning & control:

d.    What are the real reasons for the success of SCM software implementations?

Solutions:

a.    When proclaiming the advantages of modern SCM software, salespeople often contrast SCM with older, outdated versions of ERP software. Ask a salesperson if he or she is familiar with any software for internal enterprise planning & control besides MRP II. Many software packages for the variant-oriented concept (for example, also project management software) and particularly for the processor-oriented concept, subsumed under ERP software, do indeed take capacity constraints into account.

b.    Figure 9.2.4.1 shows that SCM software must get the planning data from a company’s ERP system. This means that the same errors in master and order data are generated in enterprise planning with SCM that were generated using ERP software. Ask the software salesperson about the consequences of erroneous data on lead time in the master data of ERP software for the quality of planning through SCM software. After all, the following principle will hold: “garbage in, garbage out.” Claims that SCM software eliminates the need for ERP software are true only in theory or in very specific cases. Ask the salesperson for examples that correspond closely with your own company’s situation.

c.    Rapid planning through the use of SCM software is generally only the case for variants of a plan that has already been calculated. Ask the SCM software salesperson how long it takes to transfer greatly changed master or order data from ERP to SCM software. Ask for a reference from a company similar to your own in order to learn about their experience with the data transfer.

d.    As in the case of ERP software, the decisive factors in success with SCM software lie in the company culture and the organization of supply chain collaboration. For implementation, therefore, the task is to find appropriate measures for all of the nine fields in the framework of Figure 2.3.2.1, and not for the ninth field alone.




Course 9: Sections and their intended learning outcomes