Planting the Seed
During Papyrus' infancy, Time Inc. opened discussions with several of its primary suppliers, including Consolidated Papers (Note: Consolidated Papers was recently purchased by Stora Enso.), which had simultaneously been designing its own e-commerce solution, recalls Craig DeRusha, a Consolidated sales executive devoted to the Time Inc. account: "We had a similar IBM mainframe system in use, but we were looking to create a more user-friendly system for allowing our customers immediate access to order data. We wanted to afford the option of monitoring order status from start to finish, and the Web appeared to be the best platform."
Understanding the importance of integrating systems with one of its largest and highest-profile customers, Consolidated took part in the publisher's beta testing. "We were really fortunate to work with Time on Papyrus," DeRusha stresses. "They have the power to influence change in our industry."
Papyrus, which went "live" in April 2000, represents Time's first true extranet, according to Misiukiewicz. The first iteration provided the publisher, its printers and its paper suppliers with live-time purchase order and spoilage data. July 7, 2000 marked the launch of Papyrus 1.2. In the short span of time between its original launch and this upgrade, Papyrus' functionality has branched out. Systems integration now enables financial feed to Time Inc.'s PeopleSoft applications that
process monetary transactions and generate a plethora of accounting reports. And with each passing month, more paper and printing suppliers are signing on to participate in Papyrus, remarks Considine.
Beyond the sapling stage
Papyrus won't stop growing anytime soon. With nurturing, its functionality will continue to grow, and its productivity will be continually monitored. For Time Inc., the results manifest in the bottom line: "Papyrus will allow us to maintain the lowest inventory possible and reduce spoilage," Trevorrow emphasizes.
With less than a year since its original deployment, there have already been revelations about the system's value. "Where EDI fell short was in the amount of investment it required. The cost was enormous, and it was a cost that no particular organization was willing to incur. But all of that has been worked out, thanks to the Web," notes Spitz. "I firmly believe that the Web is going to pull our entire industry forward."