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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Volume 21, Issue 3.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the third issue of the 21st volume of the Journal of Enterprise Information Management. This issue covers a variety of contributions in the area of supply chain management, bearing both theoretical and practical implications.
Whilst the body of literature on supply chain management continues to grow, there is little empirical evidence demonstrating how, where and why supply chain integration has been achieved through eBusiness implementations. With the objective to establish whether supply chain integration is an identified goal within the implementation of new eBusiness mechanisms, Alan Smart examines four organisations who have implemented eBusiness solutions at different points in the supply chain. The four case studies namely: online order processing, eProcurement, reverse auctions and a private exchange illustrate how these recently-emerged mechanisms are being adopted in varying organisational situations. In the paper Alan aimed firstly at identifying the business drivers for the eBusiness implementation undertaken by these firms; and secondly at defining the level of supply chain integration achieved in each of the cases examined, using integration frameworks from the literature as a point of reference. The findings showed that in three of the cases there is very little, or nil integration at supply chain level and only in one case there is evidence of a supply chain perspective contributing to the project. Furthermore, three of the firms did not consider the supply chain implications of implementing their eBusiness applications. The study concludes that firms need to be aware that IT projects by their trading partners may have supply chain cost implications for their own business. Hence eBusiness projects should not be solely examined based predominantly on a business case for the implementing firm only. The paper illustrates that if the new eBusiness mechanisms are to support wider supply chain goals, then the focal firms involved must take a more holistic view of how and why such solutions are implemented.
The second contribution of this issue is a paper by Peter Buxmann, Anette von Ahsen and Luis Martin Diaz who examine economic approaches to evaluate different cooperation scenarios to explore the potentials of inter-organizational cooperation in the context of Supply Chain Management. In their paper they analyze the value of different cooperative scenarios (No cooperation, Decentralized Cooperation, and Centralized Cooperation) in the fields of procurement and distribution planning. In doing so, they examine coordination mechanism in the field of supply chain management using an analytical approach as well as simulation to quantify the advantages of cooperative planning in the fields of procurement planning as well as distribution planning. Thus, the overall aim of both approaches is to increase transparency of benefits achieved by Supply Chain Management. The two approaches showed that the centralized coordination scenarios usually lead to superior results compared to different decentralized approaches in the field of procurement planning and distribution planning. Peter, Anette and Luis present their prototype SCOptimizer which is mainly based upon open standards, open source software, and freeware with the purpose to support the evaluation of cooperation in the fields of procurement and distribution planning. The simulations revealed that, based on their model assumptions and using the given input parameters, a centralized distribution planning is a superior planning form in terms of total costs for a supply chain. The results can be considered as an indicator to measure the economic value of cooperation.
There is a lack of research in the literature to deal directly with the uncertainty of human judgments in evaluating the benefits of various information sharing decisions in a supply chain. Hence the paper by Selçuk Perçin aims at providing a good insight into the use of fuzzy Analytical Hierarchy Process (fuzzy AHP) approach that is a multi-criteria decision making methodology in evaluating the benefits of information sharing decision problems. The use of Fuzzy AHP to select the various types of information is justified by its ability to be used as a decision making analysis tool since it handles uncertain and imprecise data..In doing so, Selçuk proposed the integration of AHP with the fuzzy synthetic extent analysis method (fuzzy AHP) as a framework to guide managers in evaluating the benefits of information sharing decision problems. Findings demonstrate that the customer requirement and operational information alternatives are the preferred key decisions, which all supply chain partners might agree to share with each other. Furthermore, it was concluded that the planning and financial information alternatives have almost the same importance. This paper is especially of interest to managers as they make decisions on which types of information they should share with their supply chain partners.
Keeping track of progress in early stages is also important for the acceptance of ERP systems and for managing related skepticism. However, in order to assess the ultimate impact of the system on the implementing organization there is a need to look beyond these early experiences. Lotta Häkkinen and Olli-Pekka Hilmola concentrate in their paper on the life after ERP implementation. They present the outcome of a case study that was conducted in the after-sales division of a large multinational organization. The objectives of the empirical work were to examine: how user evaluations of ERP system success differ between the shakedown phase and the later post-implementation phase; and what factors contribute to user evaluations of system success in the later post-implementation phase. Through the case study, three specific problem areas were identified, which require tending to both before and after system implementation: ensuring the quality of information, ensuring that user support personnel have adequate system and case-specific ERP skills, and managing communication between organizational levels and across organizational units. According to Lotta and Olli-Pekka if these issues are not taken into account throughout the implementation process, it will reflect rapidly on both individual work and external customer service in an after-sales environment.
The last contribution of this edition is the paper by Emad M. Kamhawi who aimed at providing better understanding of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems adoption as well as non-adoption practices in a less developed country settings, namely Bahrain. It explores connections between strategic and decision making aspects of evaluation with other classical ones such as operational and technical dimensions of evaluation. In doing so, Emad administrated a questionnaire survey to elicit opinions from IT executives from two types of companies: those which have adopted ERP systems and those which have not. The study highlights the benefits, motives and barriers of implementing such systems. Moreover, it investigated the reasons behind not implementing these systems for those companies which have not experienced these practices before as well as their managers’ attitudes and future intentions towards ERP systems. The study resulted in six main outcomes; presenting a new impetus for evaluating ERP practices in less developed country settings. The paper extends research efforts concerning the adoption of ERP systems to include strategic and decision making aspects of evaluation, which have not had appropriate attention from past research.
Finally, we hope you enjoy reading this issue, and hope to receive your valuable contributions for the following issue.
Zahir IraniEditorAhmad GhoneimEditorial Assistant