WMU News

Wagner discusses ERP software at business breakfast

Feb. 19, 2002

KALAMAZOO--Before investing in an umbrella software system meant to streamline operations companywide, corporate leaders should take a careful look at how they do business, according to a Western Michigan University professor who will speak at a Haworth College of Business presentation Friday, March 1.

Dr. Bret Wagner will discuss "To ERP or Not to ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning Systems from a Couch Potato Perspective" as part of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series. The free program, which includes a continental breakfast, will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Room 2150 of Schneider Hall on the WMU campus. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Haworth College of Business dean's office at (269) 387-5050.

ERPs are large business software packages that coordinate all aspects of a business--so that sales operations are connected to accounting, production is coordinated with warehousing, etc. Popular ERPs include PeopleSoft and SAP. In his talk, Wagner will discuss the hype, the reality and the promise of ERPs.

"ERPs have been around for about a decade, but they became popular around the Y2K scare, when businesses were looking at replacing rather than patching up old software systems," says Wagner. "There's been a lot of criticism of ERPs, and even some high-profile lawsuits, but the problems are often within the companies themselves rather than in the software. These systems will only work if a company already has good processes, systems and people in place, and if its leaders really understand what they want the software to do--and that's not as common as you'd think."

Wagner is an assistant professor of management in WMU's Haworth College of Business. His areas of expertise include production planning, supply chain management and ERP systems. He worked as an engineer for six years before earning his doctoral degree from Michigan State University. Wagner's research has been published in the Journal of Operations Management, Decision Sciences and the European Journal of Operational Research.

The Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series at the Haworth College of Business features WMU faculty and alumni speaking about their research and teaching on a variety of timely business issues. The company and college formed the partnership two years ago to offer monthly presentations, which are free and open to the public.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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