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 eight survey rounds is available.  

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 (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 2022 was carried out in more than ten 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 over 2,500 companies of the manufacturing service could be prepared for analyses.

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


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)




Commissioned by

own research project