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ForestExpress Delivers e-Business Integration for Forest Products Industry

Press release from the issuing company

ATLANTA-- Nov. 5, 2001-- ForestExpress, the transaction processing network for the forest products industry, today announced the completion of the industry's first system-to-system integrations, each in record time of less than 120 days. Divisions of companies now integrated to the ForestExpress network include Georgia-Pacific Corp., The Mead Corporation, Unisource, Weyerhaeuser Co., Wickes Lumber, Willamette Industries, Inc., and xpedx. A total of 12 business-to-business integration projects are now complete through the ForestExpress network. Leveraging this initial success, ForestExpress has already commenced work with trading partners for more than 40 additional projects. "These additional projects represent a broad range of forest products companies, spanning the entire industry value chain and clearly demonstrates the important role ForestExpress is playing in providing e-commerce connectivity for the industry,'' according to Bob Renner, CTO of ForestExpress. Analysts estimate some 30 - 40 percent of internal IT budgets go to support company specific integration projects. Instead of managing multiple connections to support each trading partner or activity, companies utilizing ForestExpress leverage a single connection to trading partners or business services via a secure, industry-specific network. By choosing to integrate through ForestExpress, companies can reallocate resources invested in infrastructure toward driving more strategic e-Commerce activities. The focal point of the ForestExpress network is the ForestExpress data exchange platform - a secure transaction brokering and messaging service unique to forest products companies. It provides trading partners with the ability to route messages, translate product names, map message attributes, and connect to other applications, services, exchanges and markets. In addition, ForestExpress provides complete project planning and implementation support along with access to hardware, network services, and adaptor development. "We believe the true value of e-business can only be unlocked if we get the back-end systems of our trading partners connected,'' said Keith Russell, CEO of ForestExpress. "We stand behind our mission of enabling the forest products industry to reduce costs, and strengthen and enhance relationships. Integration is the foundation for making that happen.'' A significant part of driving integration success is simplifying interoperability among trading partners in the forest products industry. ForestExpress is actively engaged in the development of XML-based industry standards including papiNet, a recognized standard for paper products. Today, ForestExpress trading partners are able to share message sets that include purchase orders, order confirmations, order changes and invoices. Additional message sets in development will further extend these capabilities and increase the value of doing business through the ForestExpress network. Further extending its value to the industry, ForestExpress offers a complete set of industry specific e-commerce services including catalog content services, procurement services, customer management services, and professional services. "Integration is our primary focus, but it's not the only thing that we're about,'' according to Jaymie Forrest, VP of Marketing and Solutions Strategy. "Once the foundation is in place, our members will be looking for things to build on that foundation. Our plan allows for that and we'll be ready with services and solutions that will help them improve their current business processes and ultimately increase their return to their shareholders.'' Supporting its approach, ForestExpress announced a strategic re-alignment of its resources to sharpen its focus on integration services and drive adoption of e-commerce in the forest products industry. An organizational alignment and resource plan was approved by the company's board as part of the company's funding package approval for 2002. ForestExpress is an independent neutral company funded by the leading companies in the forest product industry. "As our business model matures we will continue to focus our resources on achieving results and driving e-commerce adoption in the industry,'' stated Russell. "Our board has once again given us their unwavering support by approving our 2002 business plan and our focus on integration services over the next 12 months.'' The focus on bottom-line financial performance is motivating companies to get real about the savings that can result from eliminating manual errors, speeding up routine business processes, and creating a more efficient flow of information. As a result of integrating to ForestExpress, companies have already begun to see significant results in these areas. Adds Russell, "This is proof that we are on track in creating value for the forest products industry.''

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