Survey: Manufacturers Want Social Media, Green Monitoring in ERP

Execs want ERP system to capture and record the knowledge of senior engineers.

Manufacturers want to find ways to link social networking tools with their enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems, suggests results from a recent survey released by IFS North America.

The study found that although 40% of respondents believe that integrating social networking and ERP would be very important, a wider majority of 62% indicated that they wanted their ERP system to help perform functions typically associated with social networks and other Web-based collaboration tools.

"Enterprise 2.0 and social media tools are designed to draw information out of people, to get them to talk," said Rick Veague, chief technical officer at IFS North America. "This will become more of a business critical issue as the current generation of senior manufacturing operations and maintenance professionals prepares for retirement, only to be replaced by a smaller, less experienced but more technologically sophisticated generation."

According to the study, 64% of respondents said they wanted their ERP systems to capture and record the knowledge of senior experienced engineers and professionals. IFS says such knowledge from groups of people can be pulled from corporate wikis, blogs, and other social networking applications.

The survey, which queried 260 manufacturing executives, found that most were 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.

Among companies with revenue between $250 million and $999 million, only 20% were tracking any sort of environmental impact in the manufacturers' business software, while companies of $1 billion or more in revenue jumped to 36%.

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