Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI

European Manufacturing Survey

The European Manufacturing Survey (EMS) has been organised by a consortium of research institutes and universities from and across Europe since 2001. On company level, EMS surveys the utilisation of techno-organisational innovations in manufacturing and the thereby achievable performance increases in the manufacturing sector. As yet, data from five survey rounds is available. Currently the national surveys of the European Manufacturing Survey 2015/2016 are in the field or the data are undergoing the harmonization and quality check process to be included in the EMS data set.


Economic growth and the securing of jobs strongly depend on the companies' innovative ability. Innovation can thus refer to new or improved products, services, processes, organisational forms, markets, etc. Respectively, companies' competitiveness is thus not only determined by the performance of their products and services, but also by the corresponding production proc-esses. Production costs, delivery flexibility, or quality are important figures, too.

Several surveys try to monitor innovation activities of the economy, to identify backlogs of particular sectors or regions and to compare German economy to other countries. These surveys mainly focus on indicators for measuring product innovation. Process innovations are hardly taken into account or, if at all, then on a very highly aggregated level.

Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) has developed the survey Modernisation of Production in 1993 to close this gap and to complement existing surveys. In 2001, this survey went international and developed into the European Manufacturing Survey (EMS). The aim of EMS is to utilise a core questionnaire, in the respective language of the country, in all partner countries and to thus survey internationally comparable data allowing for internationally comparative analyses.

The European Manufacturing Survey

The European Manufacturing Survey (EMS) covers a core of indicators on the innovation fields "technical modernisation of value adding processes", "introduction of innovative organisational concepts and processes" and "new business models for complementing the product portfolio with innovative services". The questions on these indicators have been agreed upon in the EMS consortium and are surveyed in all the participating countries. Additionally, some countries ask questions on specific topics. The underlying idea of the question design is to have a common part of questions constantly over several survey rounds, to modify other common questions in the respective survey round corresponding to current problems and topics from the area of innovations in production and to thirdly give space for some country or project specific topics.

In most countries, EMS is carried out as a written survey on company level. For preparing multinational analyses the national data undergo a joint validation/harmonisation procedure.

The latest survey EMS in 2009 was carried out successfully in 10 countries. Due to the cooperation of the EMS partners, information on the utilisation of innovative organisation and technology concepts in the generation of products and services as well as performance indicators such as productivity, flexibility and quality of around 3,700 companies of the manufacturing service in these countries could be surveyed.

International EMS Consortium

EMS is managed by a consortium of research institutes and universities from countries of and across Europe. The Competence Center Industry and Service Innovations of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) coordinates the consortium. The following institutions belong to the EMS network:

  • Austria: Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Foresight & Policy Development Department, Vienna 

  • PR China: Institute of Policy and Management (IPM), Division of S&T Policy, Bejing 

  • Croatia: University of Zagreb, Economic Faculty, University of Split, Technology Faculty

  • Denmark: University of Southern Denmark, Mads Clausen Institute and Institute for Marketing & Management, Sønderborg and Odense 

  • Finland: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland 

  • France: University of Lyon, IAE Lyon, France 

  • Germany: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe 

  • Great Britain: Leeds University Business School, University   of Leeds 

  • Italy: Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation (ITIA-CNR), Milan 

  • Portugal: UNIDEMI - Research Unit in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

  • Russia: State University - Higher School of Economics, Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISEK), Moskow 

  • Serbia: University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences 

  • Slovenia: Maribor University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering 

  • Spain: University of Girona, Polytechnics School, Department of Business Administration and Product Design 

  • Sweden: University of Gävle, Jönköping University, Chalmers and Luleå University

  • Switzerland: Hochschule Luzern - Wirtschaft, Institut für Betriebs- und Regionalökonomie (IBR) 

Results and Analyses

Analyses of the national data set of EMS serve to improve scientific state of knowledge and policy counselling for evaluating technological and economic measures as well as information of associations and trade unions in the participating countries. Moreover, research cooperations execute multinational comparative analyses.

Data of the European Manufacturing Survey (EMS) furthermore constitute the basis for an informative performance benchmark offering companies the opportunity to benchmark themselves nationally as well as internationally with other companies. More information is available on the sites of the Fraunhofer ISI's Online-Benchmarking.

Publications (selection)

Jäger, A.; Moll, C.; Som, O.; Zanker, C.; Kinkel, S.; Lichtner, R. (2015): Analysis of the impact of robotic systems on employment in the European Union. Final report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2015.

Dachs, B.; Zanker, C. (2014): Backshoring of Production Activities in European Manufacturing, European Manufacturing Survey. Bulletin Nr. 3, December 2014.

Lay, G.; Copani, G.; Jäger, A.; Biege, S. (2010): The relevance of service in European manufacturing industries, Journal of Service Management 21(5), 715-726.

Kirner, E.; Kinkel, S.; Jäger, A. (2009): Innovation paths and the innovation performance of low-technology firms – An empirical analysis of German industry, Research Policy 38(2009), 447-458.

Armbruster, H.; Bikfalvi, A.; Kinkel, S.; Lay, G. (2008): Organizational innovation: The challenge of measuring non-technical innovation in large-scale surveys, Technovation 28(2008), 644-657.

Dachs, B.; Ebersberger, B.; Kinkel, S.; Waser, B.R. (2006): Offshoring of production – a European perspective, European Manufacturing Survey. Bulletin Nr. 2, Dezember 2006.

Armbruster, H.; Kinkel, S.; Lay, G.; Maloca, S. (2005): Techno-Organisational Innovation in the European Manufacturing Industry, European Manufacturing Survey. Bulletin Nr. 1, Dezember 2005.



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