ERP and SCM – part of the Extended Enterprise – Talk give to VLFM participants at IIT Kanpur

I enjoyed talking to the participants of the VLFM (Visionary Leaders For Manufacturing) Program jointly organized by IIM Calcutta, IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras.

The 32 participants are middle level executives who spend a year pursuing full time education (including visits to Japan and other manufacturing destinations) at the three premier Institutions. They have their prior experience in

  • Aerospace (HAL)
  • Automotive (Maruti, Ashok Leyland, M & M,  John Deere, Hero Honda, Kirloskar, SKF)
  • Infotech (ITC, SISL, Oracle)
  • L & T (Engineering & Construction)
  • Marine Engineering (OMI)
  • Metals & Mining (SAIL, Tata Steel, Vizag Steel, NMDC, Vedanta, NALCO)
  • Oil (HPCL)
  • Pharma (GSK)
  • Power (NTPC, NPC)


VLFM gets its inspiration from LFM of MIT. Professors Jim Orlin and Nitin Patel of Sloan School at MIT ho gave me enough “Gyan” about LFM in mid 90’s.

I gave a set of three lectures on 21-22, February at IIT Kanpur.

I talked to them about the evolution of ERP and SCM as independent areas of an enterprise; leading companies like SAP (in ERP space) and i2 (in SCM space) talked of they being the “best of breed”. Over the years, the users have realized that in a connected world ALL enterprises are extended enterprises with some aspects of SCM  (Supply Chain Management) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) very much part of their business. 

Taking the example of “educational Institution” (like IIT or IIIT or IIM or Harvard), while ERP would address the

  • Lectures (Course Management, e-Learning, Content Management, Registration, Class room scheduling, exam scheduling, grade-book, transcript management),
  • Library (Digital Library, Catalog, Order processing),
  • Labs (Supplies, Scheduling), and,
  • Life (Mail, collaboration, projects, visitors, announcement)

(the 4L’s of Learning),

  • Admissions (JEE for IITs and CAT for IIM’s)

that is more like SCM for IIT / IIM may be as important (or more important) than the campus activity! In fact while the annual budgets of the 7 IITs is Rs 1,000 Crores the JEE Coaching is easily estimated to be 10 times larger!


  • Placement
  • Alumni

are more like CRM; these are as important as the core activity itself!

I alluded to this need for extended enterprises by taking examples from several other industries (including automotive, iron & steel, oil & gas and banking)

What probably went well with the students is my personal involvement with many of these industries

  • Board Membership of Bank of India, NMDC, BEL, NLC & IREDA, VisualSoft, Informatics… and,

my extensive consulting

  • Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Maruti, BHEL, NTPC, Indian Oil, ONGC, Amara Raja, TVS, Reserve Bank, SEBI..

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience; more so to be back in IITK (where I spent my formative academic years 1979 to 1995)

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