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12/29/2009
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Manufacturers Seek Green Monitoring In ERP

Executives want social media and environmental management functionality in their enterprise resource planning software.

U.S. manufacturers want social media and environmental management functionality in their business software, shows a vendor study released Monday.

A survey of 260 manufacturing executives found that most seemed ill-equipped to track the impact their operations had on the environment in the areas of carbon footprint, solid waste, air and water pollution, product lifecycle, and product end-of-life impact, IFS said. The survey was conducted by a third-party research firm hired by IFS, a maker of enterprise resource planning software.

When it came to measuring environmental impact, mid-market manufacturers did worse than companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. Among companies with revenue between $250 million and $999 million, only 20% were tracking any sort of environmental impact in the manufacturers' business software. For companies of $1 billion or more in revenue, that percentage jumped to 36%, IFS said.

In the area of social media, a minority of respondents were interested in integrating Facebook or Twitter into ERP systems. But there was strong interest in incorporating social network functionality.

For example, 64% of the respondents said they wanted their ERP systems to capture and record the knowledge of senior experienced engineers and professionals, so that the information could become part of a corporate knowledge base. Such tacit knowledge from groups of people can be pulled from corporate wikis, blogs, and other social networking applications.

IFS offers a component-based ERP suite built on a service-oriented architecture. The company claims to have more than 2,000 customers in more than 50 countries and focuses on seven industries: aerospace and defense, utilities and telecom, manufacturing, process industries, automotive, retail and wholesale distribution, and construction contracting and service management.

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