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The vast majority of executives with mid- to large-sized manufacturers responding to an IFS North America research study are grappling with two trends:

  • A lack of intuitive usability in enterprise software including enterprise resource planning (ERP). This reduces productivity and keeps manufacturers from realizing a return on their ERP or enterprise asset management (EAM) investment.
  • Rigidity and inflexibility that reduces total enterprise agility. This means that as manufacturing companies experience change, their enterprise software cannot change rapidly enough, again reducing return on ERP investment and at times even causing businesses to miss out on opportunities that would require them to change the way their business operates.

The study was conducted by an independent research company in early 2011 among more than 200 executives with manufacturing operations with greater than $100 million in revenue. Complete study results are now available online at in the Industry Reports & Studies section.

Study respondents gave their enterprise software generally poor marks for usability. Only 10-percent of manufacturing executives participating in a study conducted for IFS North America said their ERP software was “very easy and intuitive to use.” And almost 60-percent of respondents said their ERP or other enterprise software slows them down and prevents their organizations from changing the way they do business.

“At IFS, we have always been focused on the broad issues of usability and the ability of IFS Applications to deliver enterprise agility as a core benefit,” IFS North America President and CEO Cindy Jaudon said. “It is no surprise to us that agility and usability are key concerns in the market right now, nor is it any surprise that most study respondents claim their current enterprise solutions perform poorly in these areas. Today, almost every business is doing more with fewer people, and managers and executives both have less time to struggle with their enterprise software, putting a premium on usability. And market change has never been this rapid. Every merger or acquisition, every new product, every new regulatory or customer demand, every additional manufacturing or operational mode forces a company through structural change. Either enterprise software vendors are helping their customers with these realities or they are not. We have chosen to help.”

IFS Applications is built using the same principles as successful manufacturers—the production and assembly of components. Thanks to IFS’ service-oriented component architecture you can choose only the business components that are needed for a quick return on investment. New components can be added and the system reconfigured as needed with minimal business disruption. This maximizes enterprise agility by facilitating change without disrupting the implemented solution. IFS’ strategy of building for change includes a number of best practices, including a commitment to commonly-available technologies and open standards.