Dissertation: A System Analysis Approach to Analyze and Develop ERP Systems


UGSM-Monarch Business School Switzerland

Publication Type:



  • Dr. Khalil Duplessis, MProf.


ERP, LEAN, Manufacturing, Framework, Toyota Production Systems, Just-in-Time.



Modern manufacturing applies Lean Manufacturing Systems, also known as the Toyota Production System (TPS), to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Organizations are often forced to implement their Lean manufacturing independently of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system due to their conflicting philosophies and therefore finding themselves administrating two independent systems (Bartholomew, 2012a; Steger-Jensen & Hvolby, 2008). The ERP systems that evolved till now are criticized for not supporting the Lean philosophy and therefore not useful in a Lean manufacturing environment (Bartholomew, 2012a) Organizations make use of ERP systems for planning and to integrate back-office operations. There are currently two points of view; those who believe that the Lean system must be independent of the ERP system and those who believe that an ERP system can contribute to a Lean system (Bartholomew, 1999). Those who believe that the two systems should be independent argue that the Lean principles promote a “pull” action through the system, constantly changing to get rid of all the waste or muda whereas a traditional ERP system promotes a “push” action (Bartholomew, 2012a). The author believes that Lean and ERP might not be mutually exclusive in the field of ERP systems. However, there is a lack of research and a proper understanding of how ERP systems can support Lean operations in the move to further globalization. The test hypothesis is that a Lean ERP framework could be designed with Lean principles and implemented in a global environment. In order for the hypothesis to have value, it must prove to benefit Lean and ERP by being able to contribute to the reduction of waste as per the Lean principle and to reduce costs in the traditional ERP operation. The relevance of this research is to examine and discover the differences between the Lean principles and ERP applied principles when designing, developing and implementing enterprise systems in organizations. Furthermore, the research will attempt to propose a conceptual framework that can reconcile these differences and bridge the gap between the two system philosophies.

About The Author:

Dr. Khalil Du Plessis holds the positions of Professor of Management & Business Strategy at Monarch Business School Switzerland. He holds a Doctor of Management and Master of Management from Monarch Business School Switzerland. He also holds a Bachelor of Accounting from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Dr. Du Plessis has over 20 years management expertise in Enterprise Resource Planning as a professional consultant. Previously he has lectured in management at both the Cape Town and Witbank Technical Colleges in South Africa.