Started by a team of faculty in the Seidman College of Business in 2000, the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Initiative has remained an active part of the College of Business’ landscape. The goals of the initiative are to provide students in all Seidman majors with an understanding of integrated, cross-functional business process experience using enterprise software (SAP) to execute business processes, and to develop proficiency in the use of enterprise systems.
“Grand Valley is one of the world’s leading universities in terms of the depth and breadth of integration accomplished in the classroom," said Simha R. Magal, Director of the ERP Initiative. To achieve a cross-functional approach, the ERP Initiative has developed a central teaching case focused around Global Bike, Incorporated (GBI), a small bicycle manufacturing/wholesale company. This case is the foundation for many exercises used in numerous courses in various academic majors within the Seidman College of Business, that integrate the different functional areas within the company with a focus on executing business processes. GBI’s organizational and master data have been populated in the market-leading ERP software package, SAP ERP. Currently, ERP Initiative curriculum can be found in over 54 class sections, across all business majors, impacting over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students at Grand Valley. Worldwide, the GBI teaching case is estimated to be in use in more than 400 universities in over 40 countries and the GBI SAP ERP system has over 100,000 active users annually.
“The ERP program at GVSU gave me an understanding of integrated business processes and engaged me to think critically about business processes. The professors in the ERP program truly cared about my success after college and they equipped me with the proper knowledge for my career. This knowledge and understanding has helped me make a smooth transition and excel as an IT Project Manager at Chrysler," said Katherine Dang, a 2014 graduate, Supply Chain Management.
In its latest venture the ERP Initiative has teamed up with the Automotive ERP Advisory Council (AEAC ), to better serve the automotive industry in the state of Michigan, by providing Seidman College of Business students with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the future needs of the automotive industry, particularly as these relate to ERP. Currently working in the auto industry, 2014 Management Information Systems graduate Samantha Brown, is experiencing first-hand, the challenges that are intrinsic to ERP systems in the auto industry. “It would be very difficult to implement an ERP system at a large company like Ford. However, the way I approach my job takes into account the benefits of ERP. I determine where there is room for improvements and I make those changes and share the knowledge I have with my team. Although we are not streamlining the entire company, creating best practices for our day-to-day operations for a single team can make a tremendous impact.”
Specifically, the AEAC is committed to assist Seidman students by helping to shape the strategic direction of the ERP Initiative and to identify new and important trends and their possible impact on the skills Seidman students should possess. Additionally, AEAC members intend to act as guest lecturers, seminar participants, career advisors and student mentors to help augment the understanding of ERP. Eventually, the AEAC plans to coordinate visits to member company facilities and to offer experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, co-operative education programs, mentorships and course projects.
The distinguished partnership with AEAC and the opportunities it will provide, combined with the successful ERP Initiative will allow Seidman College of Business students to attain an exceptional advantage as they enter the workforce. Taking part in the opportunities that the ERP Initiative has to offer, David Cooper, 2014 Finance graduate, attributes his career success. “As a student entering a competitive job market, I was uncertain about what my competitive advantage would be after graduation. The Seidman College of Businesses ERP Initiative helped me understand the changing needs of many companies, and provided me with the integrated business perspective to be successful in serving those needs. Today, as a financial analyst for Chrysler, it is clear the most important decision I could have made for a successful career in the auto industry was to supplement my finance degree with an ERP background. I believe integrated process thinking will not be the exception, but the standard in IT/Finance careers in the future and I commend to everyone Seidman’s exceptional approach.”
To read more about the ERP Initiative and the continued appeal to offer the latest industry skills, as it relates to ERP systems, to the Seidman College of Business students, please visit: www.gvsu.edu/business/erp