ERIC Number: EJ940911
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
Open-Source ERP: Is It Ripe for Use in Teaching Supply Chain Management?
Huynh, Minh Q.; Chu, Hung W.
Journal of Information Technology Education, v10 pIIP 181-IIP 194 2011
The field of supply chain management has changed greatly and rapidly. With the advent of enterprise systems, supply chains are now operating with up-to-the-minute information. The value of the information flow is marked by speed, accessibility, accuracy, and most of all relevancy. As it continually evolves, the supply chain management curriculum needs to stay current and relevant. This paper advocates the use of technology such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to teach business process integration. The literature review indicates a number of significant benefits when firms use ERP. For instance, an ERP system can help firms manage their assets and operate their internal business processes more effectively and efficiently. It has the ability to coordinate a complex network of sub-processes to achieve the goals of the organization. This paper describes the needs for teaching business process integration and stresses the roles of ERP in a supply chain process. It then presents two approaches: the SAP University Alliances program and the open-source ERP option. To illustrate the potential of open-source ERP, the discussion focuses on one particular application called xTuple-PostBooks. What is xTuple-PostBooks? How can one obtain it? What is involved in its installation and setup? How is it used in teaching and illustrating business process integration? What was the students' feedback? xTuple-PostBooks is developed by xTuple as an open-source ERP. It can be downloaded at no cost. This paper describes an actual experience of how xTuple was installed on Ubuntu operation system and how it was used to teach students in two university MIS courses. One of the interesting observations is that the user communities from Ubuntu and xTuple are very helpful and the useful resources are readily accessible. This marks a significant maturity in open-source software in general. After the students learned the conceptual knowledge of ERP, they began to use xTuple-PostBooks in a series of hands-on sessions. Students had an opportunity to observe and actually try out how one transaction could trigger multiple operations and link them all together within a typical business process. At the end of the semester, each student filled out a survey to provide feedback on his/her experience with xTuple-PostBooks. The majority of the students perceived that xTuple-PostBooks met their requirements and they were satisfied with xTuple-PostBooks. The conclusion of the paper highlights the feasibility of xTuple-PostBooks to be used as a teaching tool, the shared experience from this paper to reduce its learning curve, and the potential for xTuple-PostBooks to be used as a bridge for partnership with small and mid-sized organizations. Finally, the paper offers practical implications as well as discusses the limitations and direction for future work. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
Descriptors: Organizational Objectives, Information Transfer, Educational Technology, Knowledge Management, Business Administration Education, Computer Software, Computer Software Evaluation, Computer System Design, College Students, Comparative Analysis, Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, Open Source Technology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana