Planting the Seed
"Accuracy is essential to us. We spend a lot of money on paper, and our publications get charged back per paper usage. We need to have immediate access to accurate data," adds David Trevorrow, director of finance, Time Inc. "We needed to migrate out of the mainframe world and devise a three-year plan for getting Web-enabled."
Designing an open, XML- and WWW-based architecture proved to be the best solution for exchanging real-time data across the manufacturing supply chain; in place, it would also alleviate redundant data entry and thus cut out cycle time and costs associated with tracking and correcting bad data.
"The system [which we call Papyrus,] is written in Java," explains Leon Misiukiewicz, IT project manager, Time Inc. "And we are moving all of our transactional information from EDI to XML. [Time Inc.] is represented on the GCA's (Graphic Communications Association) committee that's helping to drive the XML standard, so we've been looking at XML for quite some time."
At full implementation, Papyrus (which utilizes GCA standard XML transactions, HTML Web browsers, Java servlets and Sybase databases) will be a publisher inventory management system that monitors roll-based, cut-size and newsprint paper for the company's magazines, books and commercial print products. It will automate a full suite of standard XML inventory management transactions, including purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgements, shipping manifests, receipts, usage transactions, invoices and adjustments. Papyrus will also support supply-chain initiatives by providing inventory, usage and spoilage reports—via the Web—to publishers, paper suppliers and printers.
"If you think of Papyrus," suggests Anne Considine, B2B information manager, Paper Purchasing Department, "you have to imagine that it's a two-part system.
"The first part is the GUI, or graphic user interface. That's the part that the user sees and interacts with. The second part is the technology that runs behind the scenes, exchanging the business data," Considine adds.