Enterprise Applications for Supply Chain Management

Enterprise Applications for Supply Chain Management

Susan A. Sherer (Lehigh University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0918-1.ch001
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Although many companies have implemented ERP systems to track and share information across cross functional business processes, they often supplement them with legacy, custom, or best of breed applications to support supply chain execution and management. This article offers a framework for understanding all types of enterprise applications that support the supply chain. In this study, the authors organize these applications, define acronyms, and describe the various types of systems that make up an information infrastructure for supply chain management.
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Coordination of information to effectively operate and manage a supply chain can be a source of competitive advantage today; a supply chain is only as good as its weakest information link. Companies continue to invest in technology to gather and utilize information, acquiring and integrating various different types of enterprise applications. The foundation of most enterprise information infrastructures today is the enterprise resource planning system (ERP) which has greatly reduced the number of applications required to track and share information across cross functional business processes. Basic ERP vendors such as SAP and Oracle have greatly enhanced their offerings with modules that add on functionality for many supply chain processes. However, many companies supplement basic ERP systems with legacy, custom, and best of breed applications for supply chain execution and management.

Supply chain management information systems have been defined as “systems used to coordinate the movement of products and services from suppliers to customers” (Wang, Yan, Hollister, & Xing, 2009). Studies of supply chain management information systems primarily focus on logistics and production processes (Rutner, Gibson, & Gustin, 2001), or B2B integration (Chalasani & Sounderpandian, 2004; Dong, Xu, & Zhu, 2009), or a category of systems for sourcing called supplier relationship management systems (Choy, Lee, & Lo, 2004). Some studies focus on specific types of applications, e.g., green SCMS (Ko, Tseng, Yin, & Huang, 2008; Sahay & Ranjan, 2008) or supporting technologies such as RFID (Ozelkan, 2008). No peer-reviewed studies have encompassed the range of functionality of even the most widely-used commercial SCM IS packages (McLaren & Vuong, 2008). And even the broader studies that focus on systems to support supply chain processes (Wang et al., 2009) do not consider all the various applications that need to integrate with these processes in order to create an overall enterprise infrastructure for supply chain management, including, for example, business intelligence for supply chain management (Sahay & Ranjan, 2008).

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