Labels should help guide consumers to making better decisions. But when it comes to industrial goods, they create unnecessary costs and represent a hindrance to innovation for manufacturers. “In theory and in practice, there are no arguments in favor of obligatory product labels within the mechanical engineering industry,” says Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, Chairman of the Supervisory Board for Wittenstein SE, on the occasion of today’s publication of the IMPULS study “Benefits of Labels”.
The study proves that labels are irrelevant as a source of information in the mechanical engineering sector, since well-informed buyers and sellers are already carrying out business-to-business (B2B) transactions. Around half of the companies surveyed as part of the study assigned product labels fewer than 25 points on a scale of 0 (irrelevant) to 100 (sole decisive criterion). “The machinery market is not a consumer goods market, and those who advocate the use of labels unfortunately overlook this fact all too often,” said Dr. Wittenstein, who is also the Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees for the IMPULS Foundation.
Policymakers must finally accept the differences between industrial customers and consumers
An environmental footprint, or an additional product label for IT security (both of which are currently being discussed in the EU), would offer no added value to mechanical engineering companies because when it comes to customized product solutions, such labels are not comparable. “Although labels, including product labels, are supposed to guide a buyer in the consumer goods market during his purchase decision, investment decisions within the industry require a different level of information,” says Naemi Denz, member of the Executive Directorate of VDMA. “The open scope, which is often applied in practice unsettling, because it attempts to regulate consumer and industrial goods equally in areas such as energy efficiency labeling or the current labeling initiative in the field of cybersecurity.”