There are mainly four Enterprise Integration Approaches. Firstly, Data-oriented Integration is the technologies that transferred the data between different applications within the organizations. This type of integration transports the information between two factors as well as interchanging the different data with different style in a fixed source. From the Figure 2, it can be seen that the software has been built by using the interface data and it is possible for communication between different systems, while information data are transferred between two points of business process applications with the same application codes (Lecture slides, 2011).
Secondly, the Application oriented integration approaches enquire a common interface in an enterprise system to exchange the information over the applications within an organization. This type of approach is different from the data oriented integration that applications create the interface and it passes both data and business logics. From Figure 3, it can be seen that in an application oriented integration approach, different systems could exchange the information to a common Application Programming Interface with a integration logic and business rules.
While customer could also checks the account information through the common API. However, this type of integration is relative complicated and transparent and tends to be incursive for the business applications (Lecture slides, 2011).
Application Oriented Integration (Lecture slides, 2011) Thirdly, Business Process-oriented integration create a common platform for the transparent and management of enterprise workflow. In this type of integration, enterprise can integrates the different business processes into a common workflow with different applications. Also, this business integration structure leads to a loose coupled connection between applications.
That means the applications located in the back office have tighter connections with the applications in the front. One of the benefits of Process oriented integration approach is that it is business process integration which could be controlled with specific techniques rather than basic data application integration (Li, et al. 2010).
Process Oriented Integration-Process Model (Lecture slides, 2011) The last approach of enterprise system is Portal Oriented Integration Approach. This type of oriented integration not only creates the basic platform for business control, integrate the different applications and design the common workflows, but also provide the business service from Virtual to be more realistic. From Figure 5, Portal-Oriented Application system combines the systems both from the internal and external with the same interface and keep the expansion of the data and application as well. It is not the integration of the applications but integrate them into a web browser (TEAM LIB, 2011).
Portal-Oriented Application Integration (TEAM LIB, 2011). There are several types of Integration and e-business. Coupling e-business integration model indicates the disconnection between applications and business processes and interfaces. Loose coupled model is the model which just exchanges the information between different applications but do not show the details of transformation. It is beneficial to quickly respond to the customers’ demand but not the good way to communicate and not safety (Papazoglou, et al. 2006). Another type of integration model is tight coupling which applications have more agreements on the transformation details (Lecture slides, 2011).
In the enterprise integration of the organization perspective, there are two main features: the coordination of data and process of applications is based on the organizations of customers; computer network is considers as the network for the whole supply chain. In order to optimize the coordination of information sharing, the extended enterprise integration promotes the connection with partners and make the information be more accurate (Montreuil, et al. 2000).
Discussion Issues There are several issues within the current business model. Firstly, the company only receives the order from the customers once a week and updates the sales management system similarly. In this case, the system is only updated once a week. It will be a huge problem that the information about customers may not be always accurate and delayed; actually it is also an insufficient communication with the customers.
It will cause a lack of coordination with customers and miss the changes of the customers’ demand. At the same time, the wrong data will lead to the inaccurate amount of production and affect the stock level. Moreover, the stock would be checked after the orders arrive, if it is out of stock or the stock is insufficient, company order the required components from the suppliers for producing the customer’s orders. This is time consuming processing for order and production processing.
In addition, each department has their own systems for inputting the relative data and information. For example, the order quantities which are sent by customers through EDI rely to the sales management system, while the components are scanned in a stock management system. It is a waste of time and labor and make the production be inefficiency. Otherwise, the production scheduling is complexity. Each day, manager should first check the confirmed customers’ orders by log in the sales system, after that, the schedule should be built, recorded and subtract from the total values. At the end of the production, the finished products quantities should be recorded as well to update the stock level. The time consuming process for ordering, stock controlling and the delay even inaccurate of information lead to fluctuate stock levels, long lead time and cannot satisfy the customers’ needs immediately.
Current Information flow for extended enterprise As the extended enterprises provide the basic information sharing in an organizational way which covers the suppliers and customers in a supply chain with an entire network (Cooper, et al 1997), the information flow for the extended enterprise system should be draw as following. According to figure 6, it can be seen that all the supply chain characters which compose the extended enterprise information flow within an entire network called supply chain business process. The suppliers that located in the upstream of the whole supply chain consist of the two types of suppliers which are domestic suppliers and overseas suppliers. The company which assembly the components from the different
Current Information flow suppliers locates in the middle of the chain. While the final customers of this supply chain are five car manufactures’ plants around the world. The whole production flow bases on the organizational boundary with suppliers and customers. Within this information flow, firstly, any of the cars manufactures order the products from the company by EDI which bases on a weekly order. The orders are immediately input to the sales management system.
Then the account manager confirms the order and set up the schedule for production after checking the current stock. If the stock is efficient, the products can be manufactured directly, while the order for the components should be placed to the suppliers for completing the production. The orders for the components are daily bases so the stock level of the components could be updated each day. After assembling the products, the finished goods will be shipped to the final customers.
SAP application As the description of the current business model, it is a huge problem with the time consuming of order processing, production scheduling and stock controlling. The orders and stock are placed in different systems and has no information sharing with different partners. Take the example of production scheduling, each day the production manager have to check the customers’ orders first, create the schedule and record it by spreadsheet and subtract its value from the total stock. After finishing the producing, the quantities of finished goods also need be addressed for counting the stock level. All the record has to be input and placed humanly. However, by implementing the SAP system, these issues could be solved as well as having an efficient production line and effective coordination with suppliers.
SAP, which stead for Systems Applications and Products in data processing, is one of the lead software of ERP system. It is mainly applied for the management of the whole enterprise information to assist the company to make the effective decision. It could help the enterprises to integrate the business process and create an effective network for coordination and improve the operations (SAP Website).
As the implement of the SAP, the order of products from customers, the components from suppliers and the manufacturing lines could be input into the SAP systems, and then the system will run a process of different segments with the cost and value, a workflow interface will also be built to manage the different tasks. In this way, it is easy to organize the different business tasks and receive the accurate information with efficiency. The segment of SAP system of current business model is shown as following (ibid).