Manufacturing companies need a universally recognized standard for the exchange of product data across the supply chain, according to a survey of industry executives.

The survey, conducted by Germany's RAAD Research in cooperation with Contact Software and Siemens PLM, found that manufacturing companies are challenged by an absence of standards when exchanging information between production, development, marketing and service organizations.

That is especially problematic because key parts of the value chain are handled by partners, rather than by in-house departments, which makes it difficult to predict what systems will need what kind of data.

The survey, which polled executives of German companies with more than 500 employees, found that manufacturing companies will be pushing more strongly for the adoption of open standards in product lifecycle management such as those developed by the Prostep iViP association.

Survey participants also lamented the lack of automation in data exchanges between CAD and ERP systems. RAAD said this generates costs because companies have to manually transfer data. In addition, this timely process lengthens time to market, which can hurt companies' competitiveness.

The survey was conducted from July til September 2011. RAAD polled more than 250 executives.