Internet Enabled Supply Chain

MIS 3537 – Spring 2017

Final Exam: Study Guide, Sample Test, Case

The Midterm exam will be conducted by Blackboard in-class on Monday May 8.

Some specifics:

  • The test will consist of all the topics that we discussed in the class, as well as the material posted by the instructor on the course blog.  The main focus will be topics discussed since the midterm Exam (Weeks 6 thru 14).
    This study guide contains the list of relevant topics.  While I have tried to make this list as comprehensive as possible, I may have inadvertently missed a topic or two, which may be included in the exam.
  • The test will be administered on-line during class using Blackboard.  Come to class prepared with your laptop and be ready to access the Blackboard system to take the test.
  • The exam is not open book / open notes.   However, you are allowed to bring 6 pages (6 sides of a page – not 6 physical pages) of notes, etc.
  • Maximum amount of time to complete the exam is 75 minutes.
  • Exam is approximately 25 questions (variety of formats i.e. Fill in blank, multiple choice).
  • Here is a copy of a sample final exam.
  • Some of the questions relate to this realistic but fictitious small business case.  You are encouraged to pre-read, print, etc. the case prior to the exam and bring a copy to the exam.

Case Teams: Member Evaluation (Optional)

All members of a case team received the same points / grade for the cases submitted. If you feel that one or more members are not doing their fair share, please do the following 2 things:

  1. Send email to all members of your team (.cc me) indicating that you will be submitting a team member evaluation form.  This step gives all members of the team the option of completing a form.
  2. Complete and submit the following form to me by email.

All responses will be kept confidential. 

Team member evaluation form.

Global Supply Chain Simulation

Global Supply Chain Management Simulation
Spring 2017

We will be running the Global Supply Chain Management (GSCM) simulation in class on April 24th (Monday).

In preparation for this, you need to:

  1. Organize into groups of two or three and have one individual from each team register for the simulation (note, only 1 account is needed per team).  The registration can be completed at this URL.

An Extra Credit bonus of 0.25 point will be provided if you:
a) Complete the registration by Wednesday, April 19th (noon) &
b) Post the username and e-mail address you used to register as a comment to this post.  Also mention the name of your group partner(s).

2.  Read through the attached instructions before we begin the simulation.  This will give you an overview of the game, how it works and what some of your activities (e.g. decisions) will be.

3.  Print out the Student Record sheet (below).  You will use this sheet during the course of the simulation to record your decisions and actions.


The deliverables for this assignment are:

  1. Student Record Sheet – please complete this as you work on the simulation. Enter detailed explanations for each decision in the space provided.  Submit the completed record sheets for all 4 years.
  2. Table to fill only for year 4.  Comment on which costs (as fraction of revenue) are high, and how you can improve.

The due date for submission of all deliverables is May 1, 2017 @ 5:30 pm (beginning of class).

8 years, $1 Bn ERP System – Worth It?

In a related post I copied an WSJ article that discusses a very large ERP system implementation at Dow Chemical.  The system processes ~ 7 million transactions / day and counts > 16,000 unique daily users.

Note: I was a member of this implementation team (i.e. a very small portion of the $1Bn investment paid my salary).


  1. Why would an implementation take this long and cost so much?
  2. Given the information shared – why would Dow Chemical company approve such a large investment?

Dow Chemical CIO Comments on ERP Project

Dow Chemical (now ex-) CIO Says Another 8-Year ERP Project Is Unimaginable

Dow Chemicalspent eight years and $1 billion implementing a new enterprise resource planning system that didn’t deliver value as quickly as hoped, Chief Information Officer Paula Tolliver said.

While the implementation officially finished at the end of 2014, Ms. Tolliver spent the first half of this year cleaning up messy databases, simplifying code and updating early parts of the implementation with features added later in the process.

Dow Chemical CIO Paula Tolliver


Would she attempt another eight-year implementation? “Not in today’s world,” Ms. Tolliver told CIO Journal. “I can’t imagine doing the project we did in the last eight years in a time of such volatility.” With the maturing of cloud computing capabilities and more “as-a-service” offerings, “the change we’ll see in the next three years is unprecedented.”

Along with scrubbing data and simplifying code, during the implementation Dow devoted about $15 million in “inefficiency resources” to keep things running while employees got used to working with the new ERP system. Part of that went toward employee-recommended changes, such as reducing the number of steps needed to complete some business processes, automatically populating data fields and improving reporting, Ms. Tolliver said. The company also invested in hands-on training for many of its employees.

Dow’s example highlights some of the nuts-and-bolts challenges CIOs face as they try to update software and merge disparate data sets to find cost savings and new insights about customers. Whole Foods MarketWal-Mart Stores and General Electric are all in the process of creating or consolidating ERP systems or integrating data across their companies.

Dow’s new ERP system – ECC version 7 from SAP SE – processes 7 million transactions each day and counts more than 16,000 unique daily users. The upgrade consolidated four separate regional systems into a single global ERP. Dow also pulled in some inventory and records tasks that previously took place outside the system.

A spokesman for SAP said the company does not comment on specific customer engagements.

Putting Dow on a single system gave employees more visibility into how their work fit into the company’s broader operations. But it also showed where certain processes got stuck or needed improvement, problems which may not have been noticeable at a regional level. Across the world, “people were performing the same work differently,” Ms. Tolliver said.

With much of the data scrubbing and code consolidation done, Ms. Tolliver now is trying to use the global view of Dow to simplify its core processes such as order-to-cash, supply chain and sales and operations planning. It’s part of the company’s “Dow 10.0” initiative, which aims to make it easier for customers to do business with the nearly 118-year old firm.

Besides change management challenges, Ms. Tolliver said a major lesson is never to underestimate the importance of accurate metadata. The firm created a centralized enterprise data management team that maintains all of the metadata related to customers, vendors, materials and product coding, which has helped as Dow works to ramp up its use of analytics.

Since the implementation, Ms. Tolliver said process cycle times have begun to decrease. Dow is on track to deliver $500 million in annual productivity by the end of 2017, she added. At the same time, she’ll contend with changes that could come as a result of potential deal activity. Separately, Ms. Tolliver said she’s wrapping up a project related to Dow’s “cloud transformation strategy.”


Last December Paula Tolliver, CIO and corporate VP of business services at Dow Chemical Co., talked with CIO Journal’s Steven Norton about her three biggest lessons from the company’s 8-year, $1 billion architecture and ERP implementation.

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