Can I use ERP to manage a network of foreign suppliers?
ERP was designed at a time when process management was an internal
affair. The systems have lagged behind the explosive growth
of globalization and offshore outsourcing of manufacturing.
When most U.S. manufacturing was still mostly local, companies
could link their ERP systems through expensive electronic data
interchange (EDI) connections. But EDI links (and ERP systems
themselves) never penetrated much beyond a manufacturers top
tier (read biggest, richest) of suppliers, due to the cost of
installing and managing the links at the supplier. In third-world
manufacturing destinations, even an Internet connection is often
a luxury. The market for managing the core ERP information (orders,
inventory, etc.) of the extended supply chain, is only now
beginning to emerge.