تقاضا برای آموزش و سرمایه گذاری مشاوره در پیاده سازی سیستم های SME - خاص ERP و بهره برداری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|12917||2009||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 122, Issue 1, November 2009, Pages 241–254
This research examines the demand for the level of investment in training and consultancy necessary to successfully implement and operate small and medium sized enterprises (SME)-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in SMEs. The extant literature on ERP, as well as established business practices adopted by the majority of ERP vendors and trainers, suggests that in order to implement and operate ERP systems effectively, a training model including an extensive training period, and often utilising external consultants, is a necessary condition. An in-depth case study has been conducted in this research on a UK-based SME-specific ERP systems vendor, which maintain that their SME-specific ERP systems can be implemented and operated effectively with only five days of formal training and no additional consultancy. This research evaluates the validity of this claim, and investigates the basis for the training model employed by the case company is, or is not, sufficient for users to successfully implement and operate SME-specific ERP systems.
The modern business world is an increasingly competitive and hostile place. Customers expect a prompt, flexible service, with a great deal of attention paid to both increased quality and reduced costs. Indeed, Nah et al. (2001) point out, businesses today face a stark reality: anticipate, respond and react to the growing demands of the marketplace, or perish. As a result of this severe market competition, modern businesses are constantly on the look out for ways to improve their processes and to obtain a competitive advantage (Wei et al., 2005). One way in which many companies have tried to achieve this advantage is through the implementation of the integrated information systems known as ERP (Koh et al., 2008). Botta-Genoulaz and Millet (2006) have described ERP as an integrated software package composed by a set of standard functional models (production, sales, human resources, finance, etc.). It attempts to integrate all departments and functions across a company onto a single computer system that can serve all those different departments’ particular needs. ERP was developed out of manufacturing resources planning (MRP II), which was itself developed out of material requirements planning (MRP). ERP is a more advanced version of both of these systems. Whilst both MRP and MRP II focus purely on manufacturing operations, ERP systems integrate both front and back office applications, and may include and integrate a number of additional business functions, including sales, purchasing, finance, marketing, logistics and human resources (Verville et al., 2005; Woo, 2007). These functionalities can have significant benefits for companies who manage to successfully implement and operate the software. Indeed, these systems have the ability to help organisations to overcome the coordination and information problems that can accompany “local” systems1 (Giachetti, 2004), and consequently, authors such as Bendoly and Jacobs (2004), Loh and Koh (2004) and Woo (2007), have argued that ERP has the potential to reduce inventory levels, reduce costs, lower lead-times, increase productivity, facilitate corporate communication, improve information and decision making capabilities, and improve customer service. Such functionalities have led Ketikidis et al. (2008) to conclude that ERP systems offer the potential for companies to increase their competitive advantage and gain market share. As a result of these potential advantages, a growth in the ERP market has taken place in recent years, and an increasing number of SMEs have attempted to implement and operate these systems (Loh and Koh, 2004). Traditionally, ERP has been a solution primarily provided by large vendor companies such as SAP and Oracle, and purchased and implemented by large, often multi-national, firms. However, Raymond (2005) has argued that the increasingly competitive nature of the business world is forcing many SMEs to adapt and change their processes, and that integrated information systems are being increasingly seen as an attractive way to do this. This recognition of a need for change in many SMEs has been facilitated by the emergence of SME-specific ERP system vendors providing less costly and less complex systems, aimed at catering specifically to the technological needs of SMEs (Muscatello et al., 2003; Loh and Koh, 2004; Buonanno et al., 2005; Koh et al., 2006). SME-specific ERP system refers to mid-range ERP systems designed for smaller businesses. Indeed, several large ERP vendors have recognised the growing demand for SME-specific ERP systems catered to the needs of SMEs, and this recognition has seen, amongst other systems, the release of “Business One” by SAP (www.sap.com) and “Oracle Accelerate” by Oracle. (www.oracle.com). However, despite this rise in SME-specific ERP systems adoption amongst SMEs, several barriers exist to the successful implementation and operation of these systems, and the literature is littered with examples of failed ERP projects (Davenport, 1998; Muscatello et al., 2003; Koh and Saad, 2004; Ehie and Madsen, 2005; Tchokogué et al., 2005; Koh and Saad, 2006). Indeed, due largely to issues related to the cost and complexity of these systems, ERP implementation and operation can be extremely difficult for a given organisation to achieve, and Muscatello et al. (2003) has reported that 40% of all ERP installations only achieve partial implementation and nearly 20% are scrapped as total failures. In response to these failures, many academics have studied the key issues, or critical success factors (CSFs), which contribute to ERP project success. As will be shown in the literature review, the overwhelming majority of these works list, explicitly or implicitly amongst these CSFs, the issues of both considerable user training and external consultancy as key factors for successful ERP implementation and operation, with some even going so far as to argue that improper training and support is a key reason for the failure of ERP projects (Motwani et al., 2005). These arguments raise an interesting point with regard to the training model employed by the case company in this research. This training model is based on only five days of formal training, and no additional consultancy, and yet the vendor claims that this level of training and support is sufficient to ensure the successful implementation and operation of its SME-specific ERP system. Therefore, a clear research need exists in this area. The objectives for this research are to: • Establish whether or not SME-specific ERP systems can be implemented and operated by SMEs with seemingly limited investment in formal training and no additional consultancy. • Establish if a short training model on SME-specific ERP systems is sufficient to ensure project success.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This research has concluded that it is possible to avoid high level of investment in training and consultancy for SME-specific ERP systems implementation in SMEs, and yet achieving a successful SME-specific ERP systems implementation and operation. The results have sug- gested that SME-specific ERP systems can be implemented and operated effectively with a limited investment in formal training and no additional consultancy. The findings indicate that the success of the case company’s training model is based on three key underlying reasons, namely the system design, the previous experience of users with ERP systems, and the support tools offered by vendor. A theoretical model classifying the key variables for a successful SME-specific ERP systems implementation and operation in SMEs with reduced levels of investment in training and consultancy was then generated based on evidence grounded from this research. However, it is important to recognise that no one factor can be seen as explaining why SME-specific ERP systems can be imple- mented and operated effectively with a limited invest- ment in formal training and no additional consultancy. Indeed, the research revealed that a hybrid of all of the identified key variables allowed the training modelemployed by the case company to be successful, and that there is no standard formula for the success of this training model. Instead, the importance of each key variable is heavily dependent on the context of each individual user’s organisation, and this was highlighted in the analysis by the presence of deviant cases, which showed how different key variables had different impacts on the success of the training model at different organisations. The novelty of this research is the identification of the key variables for minimising demand for investment in training and consultancy for a successful SME-specific ERP systems implementation and operation. Three major themes were revealed, namely simplified system designhighly experienced users and effective support tools. It is the combination of these themes that led to minimal training and consultancy. The findings of this research differs from the majority of the literature on this subject which purports that extensive training, external consul- tants, and BPR are necessary to ensure that ERP systems are implemented and operated effectively by user orga- nisations. Furthermore, these findings also challenge the training models employed by other ERP vendors and trainers. This is the case as the research has shown that a training model which prescribes a limited investment in formal training, and no additional consultancy, can be sufficient to ensure the successful implementation and operation of SME-specific ERP systemsIndeed, not only does this research vary significantly from the approach to ERP training adopted by many ERP vendors and trainers, and contradict much of the extant literature, but also, these findings can be seen as having significant ramifications for the SME-specific ERP systems in SME market. Whilst these findings do not challenge the importance of training to SME-specific ERP systems project success, they do show that a limited investment in training, in terms of both cost and time, can lead to the successful implementation and operation of SME-specific ERP systems at SMEs. Therefore, this research suggests that, under the case company’s business and training model, SME-specific ERP systems training can be seen as less of a burden to SMEs than may have been previously supposed, and this findings may encourage more organi- sations of this size to adopt this system with minimal levels of training and consultancy, or even persuade other SME-specific ERP system vendors and trainers to rethink their own business and training models, so as to better serve the SME-specific ERP systems in the SME market. However, since only ten user organisations were studied, it is difficult to conclude that the key variables identified within this study regarding the case company’s training model are relevant to other users, or even that the training model employed by the case company was successful for the majority of the SME-specific ERP system users. Based on these limitations, and the results obtained in the research, it is possible to make several recommen- dations for future research. First, it is felt that research which considered not only a wider range of SME-specific ERP system users, but that also actively looked for users who had objectively chosen other methods might help to overcome some of the limitations of this study. Second, a questionnaire survey to collect more quantitative data to measure the relative impact of the key variables in the theoretical model, as patterns may emerge which suggest that certain key variables are more important for organisations with certain characteristics. Finally, it may also be beneficial to conduct longitudinal study to test the sustainability of this type of business and training models; it is possible that over a period of time, due to increased complexity in the supply chains and multi-site informa- tion loading into such system may necessitate further adjustment to such approach. Nevertheless, this is still a novel stance of research which will be very useful for many SMEs seeking to minimise investment on training and consultancy, and yet achieving a successful SME- specific ERP systems implementation and operation especially under the climate of economic and financial turbulence and uncertainty.