Study offers snapshot of industry and its new dependence on project management software

IFS North America

Manufacturing in the Western Hemisphere has changed dramatically, taking on a project-intensive business model that requires dramatically different management techniques and business software, according to a study released May 14 by IFS North America.

Due in part to competition from overseas, North American manufacturing can no longer be characterized by long production runs or identical products. The study, based on a survey conducted by a third-party research firm of 341 executives from mid-market to large manufacturers, indicated that 77 percent of respondents were with companies that were extremely reliant on projects due to their focus on short-run, engineer-to-order, and highly regulated manufacturing of high-value products.

However, respondents reported low levels of integration between project management software and the enterprise software like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems used to run their business. A full 59 percent said project management software was completely separate from ERP, and another 29 percent reported varying degrees of partial to full integration.

“Many of these respondents commented about the integration projects necessary to get project management and ERP tools to talk to each other,” IFS North America president and CEO Cindy Jaudon said. “As project management becomes a more and more central discipline for manufacturers of all types, we feel that project management needs to be a built-in part of ERP. Custom integration projects are expensive and risky, so implementing standard software that meets project management needs with few to no modifications will be an appealing option to our customers and prospective customers.”

The survey data suggests that manufacturers will be increasingly reliant on a new type of ERP software, project-based solutions (PBS). PBS is designed to help manufacturers gain real-time visibility and control of projects they are running, and allows them to manage their entire business more like a project.

The study can be downloaded now at For more information on this survey project, contact Chuck Rathmann at 262-317-7419.

About IFS
IFS is a public company founded in 1983 that develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications, a component-based extended ERP suite built on SOA technology. IFS focuses on agile businesses where any of four core processes are strategic: service & asset management, manufacturing, supply chain and projects. The company has 2,000 customers and is present in more than 50 countries with 2,700 employees in total.

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