Manufacturers Lack the Technology to Manage Their Environmental Footprint, Study Says

IFS North America is releasing the results of a study that revealed almost half of manufacturers lacked the enterprise technology to manage their environmental footprint, and another 28 percent had only limited capabilities.

The study asked manufacturers to what extent their enterprise-wide software allowed them to track their impact on the environment in the area of carbon footprint, solid waste, air and water pollution, product lifecycle and product end-of-life impacts.

When it comes to the ability to measure environmental impacts, middle-market manufacturers did more poorly than did companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. Among companies with between $250 million and $999 million in revenue, only 20 percent of respondents said they were tracking some environmental measures but not others in their enterprise software, while 36 percent of companies with $1 billion or more in revenue said they had this capability.

“It comes as no surprise that middle market companies report less capacity for environmental tracking than larger enterprises,” IFS North America Chief Technical Officer Rick Veague said. “Most mid-market manufacturers find their enterprise software does not support this type of environmental tracking. With a lean IT operation, acquiring and integrating a third-party software package can be expensive and problematic. Very large companies are in a better position to undertake this expense and risk.”

The study, conducted for IFS by a third-party research organization, found that 83 percent of manufacturers said this software functionality was somewhat or very important, and 63 percent said they would like to see their enterprise resources planning (ERP) software vendor include this functionality as an embedded feature in their products.

“IFS has evolved its enterprise suite, IFS Applications, in the direction of integrated environmental footprint management,” Veague said. “These research results reinforce our earlier belief that this is the way the market wants enterprise software to go.”

The study was based on a survey of more than 260 manufacturing software decision makers. An in-depth report of the findings will be available from IFS North America later this month.

More information on IFS is available at

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