While more than half (59%) of the respondents to a recent study of manufacturing companies expect to maintain or increase their capital expense budgets in 2003, 23% expect to reduce spending by more than 20%. So says a study focusing on capital expense budgets and technology spending for 2003 conducted by Blue Martini Software in association with IndustryWeek. Only 3% of the respondents said they have increased their budget by more than 20%; 18% have increased it between 1% and 20%. In other findings, the study revealed that despite being cited as the most expensive technology investment by 43% of the respondents, enterprise resource planning (ERP) was chosen as the most effective technology in achieving desired goals by 23% of the respondents. Supply chain management, 19%, and manufacturing execution systems (MES) and customer relationship management (CRM), both at 14%, were also noted as effective technology applications. Perhaps not surprising, the study found that 63% of respondents say they have placed capital expenditures on hold due to the current market and political uncertainty, even if they have budgets in place.