Special Talk Dr. Zenon Michaelides

Zenon Michaelides is Lecturer and Director of Studies for the MSc E-Business Systems & Strategy Programme at the University of Liverpool Management School. He studied Aeronautical Engineering at Chelsea College London in 1981 and completed his PhD from the Department of Engineering at Liverpool University in 2003. His areas of research are E-Business Enterprise Systems, Manufacturing, Planning and Control (MPC), Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) and E-Business Supply Chain Integration. His special area of interest is Air Transport Management and Production Systems. He conducts research and teaching in Operations and Supply Chain management, Logistics, Enterprise Systems, E-Business Technologies and E-Business Strategy. He is a visiting Lecturer at the Ecoles des Mines Nantes, one of Frances Grand Ecoles.

Prior to joining academia, Dr Zenon Michaelides held various management and senior management positions in the Aviation Sector, and until the end of 1999 worked for the Boeing Airplane Company in Seattle, Washington U.S.A, on leading-edge projects including Core Systems Integration on the Next Generation 737. He is a Chartered Engineer with the Engineering Council and a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He holds SAP Solution Architect Consultant Certification, and presents SAP Courses in Higher Education. He is a Steering Group Member of the SAP UK Universities Alliance Programme.

Title: Using Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems to support Decision Support activities in Operations & Supply Chain Management: The Introduction of SAP into Universities taught Curriculum


Universities in the U.K. and internationally have identified a shortfall in the ability of graduates to be effective decision makers. This shortfall is particularly notable in the management sciences, where recent graduates are unable to effectively use techniques and technologies aimed at supporting decision making activities.

Enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems allow practitioners to take important strategic as well as operational decisions based on current and projected enterprise data, in an effective and informed manner. Without a grounded understanding of such systems, practitioners find themselves at a disadvantage, as they are continuously reactive or responding to current events rather than adopting a proactive or informed approach, which is key to the decision making process.

It is well accepted that ERP systems enable visibility and foster integration of disparate resources in an enterprise. Since much of any company’s operations are global, including their supply chains, the decision making process relies on key enablers to dynamically link or process data and effectively disseminate resulting information in the extended enterprise.

It can be argued that people lacking the knowledge or capability of such enabling systems are at a significant disadvantage in terms of strategic positioning. Understanding the scope that such systems offer are key in enabling effective decision making.

Higher Education Institutions worldwide are increasingly adapting their curricula by adding ERP-centric subjects, particularly in the management areas. The University of Liverpool Management School joined the SAP University Alliance Programme in 2003. They have been a Steering Group Member since, and have introduced Taught Courses using SAP into their Programmes for Operations & Supply Chain Management and E-Business Strategy & Systems.

The course subject matter is presented through both lectures and seminars or labs, by SAP qualified practitioners/ academics. The focus of the SAP presentations is to enable participants to gain real-time experience in ERP systems, by using current industry-leading software. The teaching experience primarily focuses on Case Studies and the application of ERP and SAP software in the business world.

The learning method used is “guided learning”. The benefit of this method is that specialist knowledge is imparted quickly. Students also acquire applicable skills and competencies on industry leading systems, which are relevant and useful in their work environment. This also enhances their employability and relevance to the Industry, which is struggling under recessionary conditions and often, cannot afford the resources and training traditionally afforded to new graduates.

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