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Paper & Building Materials Industries Focused On Trading Partner Integration

Press release from the issuing company

According to New Survey Nearly Half of Companies Surveyed Have Integrated To Their Suppliers or Buyers ATLANTA, Sept. 16, 2002 -- An increasing number of paper and forest products companies are turning to system-to-system integration to improve their bottom lines, according to results of a new survey released today. The report found that the majority of respondents have either already integrated, or were planning to integrate, their back-end systems with their buyer and/or supplier networks. Two-thirds of those surveyed reported they had done so in the past two years, indicating a growing acceptance for the use of business-to-business (B2B) integration in an industry that traditionally has been slow to adopt new technologies for trading partner relationships. The independent survey, conducted by Stat One Research, polled professionals in the paper and building materials industries about the perceived benefits and barriers of B2B systems integration with suppliers and buyers. Those surveyed believed the key benefits of B2B integration include: * Faster transactions/saving time (51%) * Increased data accuracy (35%) * Cost savings (34%) * Convenience (15%) * Lower inventory (9%) * And less paperwork (9%) Bob Renner, CEO of ForestExpress, said, "The most impressive survey finding was that the industry appears to be much more comfortable with e-business. This is key. To remain competitive, it will become increasingly more important for companies to use technology that can help speed up transactions, deliver more and better information, and improve supply chain velocity. It appears that more and more companies are starting to see the real benefits of electronic exchange between trading partners." Survey respondents reported that the most common barriers in B2B integration between suppliers and buyers are: * Compatibility with buyer/ supplier systems (22%) * Upfront costs (21%) * Buyers/ suppliers not prepared for e-commerce (12%) * Security concerns (11%) * And the lack of people and/or time required to put integration systems into place (10%) According to Renner, "Early on we recognized that promoting an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, approach to B2B integration would be key in overcoming some of the barriers mentioned in the survey. No one wants to dramatically change business processes, or throw away expensive IT investments, if there's a chance they can continue to be leveraged." "We see the primary benefit of business-to-business systems integration in lowering inventories for suppliers and customers, and our ability to eliminate manual processes," said Charlie Wells, manager of sourcing, security and supply for the Savannah River Plant, Georgia-Pacific Corp. "Deploying and operating technologies that manage transactions between trading partners reduces costs and allows my staff to concentrate on other high-value projects." Among those companies integrating their B2B systems, purchasing (28.9%), payment (11.1%), and invoicing/billing (8.9%) were among the systems cited most frequently as completed. Between June 11 and August 16, 2002, Stat One Research interviewed professionals at paper and building materials companies nationwide. Respondents were interviewed via telephone and offered study highlights in exchange for their time and opinions. The survey averaged 4 to 5 minutes of interviewing time with the results measured at a 95% confidence level. For a complimentary copy of the survey, visit www.forestexpress.com. About Stat One Research Stat One Research is a full service marketing research firm conducting industry and custom research for other research firms, ad agencies, public relations firms, and end users including AT&T, Siemens, and Time Warner. Founded in 1992, Stat One's exceptional services and studies have been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Stat One recently presented "Maximizing ROI in Business to Business Research" at the 2001 M.R.A. Conference. About ForestExpress Focused exclusively on the forest products industry, ForestExpress provides e-business solutions that streamline and automate routine supply chain transactions between customers and suppliers. By leveraging a single connection to a secure, scaleable network, industry participants of all sizes can lower operating costs, collect better information for decision-making, strengthen customer relationships, and ultimately increase profitability to drive shareholder value. ForestExpress services and solutions include B2B integration, catalog content services, and timber sourcing via an electronic marketplace. ForestExpress was established as a neutral, independent company in 2000, with the support of leading forest products companies including Boise Cascade Corporation (NYSE: BCC), Georgia-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: GP), International Paper (NYSE: IP), MeadWestvaco Corporation (NYSE: MWV), and Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY). ForestExpress is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and on the Web at www.forestexpress.com.