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This paper illustrates the results of an empirical study involving 21 engineer-to-order (ETO) companies, operating in the machinery-building industry. The study investigates the needs and requirements of such companies in terms of software support for governing the businesses, with particular emphasis on production planning and control (PPC) processes. An empirical analysis investigated two main aspects: (i) the set of business activities performed by the companies in the analysed industry anddoi:10.1080/09537287.2014.1001808 fatcat:l32edhewvjaebmtiz42hifsglm