Manufacturers lack e-business strategy

Despite exciting possibilities, UK manufacturing lacks an e-strategy, writes Antony Adshead.

Despite exciting possibilities, UK manufacturing lacks an e-strategy, writes Antony Adshead.

Many UK manufacturers lack an e-business strategy or are investing in e-business without having one in place, according to the E-Manufacturing Survey by Benchmark Research.

The study also found that even when organisations had a strategy in place IT departments have largely abdicated its development to sales and marketing.

Of the 700 UKsenior manufacturing executives canvassed, 42% did not have an e-business strategy and 13% have or intend to invest without a strategy in place.

Benchmark associate director Paul Watts said, "We are in the early adoption phase of e-business in manufacturing. Most have a strategy but some are proceeding in an unstructured way.

"Sales and marketing departments have been the most influential to date but we expect purchasing and procurement to become the fastest growing influence."

The survey indicates a bias towards sales and marketing and a lack of integrated inter-company relationships in the supply chain.

Some 79% of respondents have built a Web site to promote their products and 65% are using e-mail to confirm orders, but only 20% have carried out electronic purchasing and procurement.

The most often-cited (69%) driver towards e-business was the vague "keeping up with new technology", but the inhibitors on e-business included security (46%), shortage of internal resources and cost constraints (42% and 39%), problems integrating e-business with enterprise resource planning systems (39%) and difficulties with company culture (37%).

Watts said, "Fear is driving people towards e-business. We are dealing with companies which want to see practical examples of how it works."

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