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3M Combines Packaging Expertise, Microsoft Technologies to Offer Web-Based Integrated Packaging Management Solution

3M's recent acquisition of HighJump Software adds to its ability to address critical business issues such as compliance, product surety, time-to-market, cost reduction

Monday, February 23, 2004 9:30 am CST


"Microsoft.NET provides the agility required to achieve greater systems integration and data access. The result is a solution that helps to solve some of the difficult challenges that manufacturers are facing today."

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--3M today announced plans to work more closely with Microsoft to maximize the architecture and feature set of the 3M Integrated Packaging Tool. 3M has combined its heritage of packaging expertise with Microsoft products and technologies to develop and deliver what it believes is the first available "integrated packaging management" solution. The Integrated Packaging Tool from 3M, is designed to help enterprise-level customers effectively address critical issues such as compliance, product surety, time to market and reduction of packaging costs.

The 3M Integrated Packaging Tool is a Web-based, data-enabled system that centralizes all packaging information. The 3M Integrated Packaging Tool was built with Microsoft.NET and uses Microsoft SQL Server as its back-end database. It also allows users to take advantage of their existing IT infrastructure through the use of an XML-based Application Programming Interface (API).

"We're taking the next step forward in coupling our manufacturing and supply chain experience with the best available software and services," said W. James McNerney, 3M chairman of the board and CEO. "We see our work with both HighJump and Microsoft as proof points validating our strategy to develop service businesses that build on our core competencies."

"The teaming of 3M and Microsoft results in a market-leading solution for manufacturers," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer, Microsoft. "Microsoft.NET provides the agility required to achieve greater systems integration and data access. The result is a solution that helps to solve some of the difficult challenges that manufacturers are facing today."

3M began development of the solution in 1999 to help manage its own packaging supply chain. After seeing internal benefits, such as dramatically improved productivity and significant cost savings, 3M decided to offer the integrated packaging solution commercially. After exhaustively researching the needs of the marketplace, the company built a commercial-ready application, introduced in 2003. 3M currently offers its packaging information management software and services to companies across several vertical industries, including consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, life sciences, automotive, and chemicals. Global manufacturers including Heinz and the W. W. Henry Co. are using 3M's software and services to more effectively manage their packaging processes.

"3M had so much success with in-house technology developed for integrated packaging management that it is taking the application to market and has several customers interested," said Kevin O'Marah in the AMR Research Alert, Jan, 22, 2004.

"Working with Microsoft is part of the 3M strategy to speed to market new, innovative software and services that improve business efficiencies," said Mike Haldane, business manager, 3M Industrial Services and Solutions Division. "The combination of 3M's more than 100 years of manufacturing and packaging expertise, and Microsoft's knowledge and leadership in the IT industry, will align nicely to bring the marketplace solutions that are real and effective."

To increase its ability to incorporate the latest technologies in its packaging solution, as well as offer leading-edge supply chain execution software and services, last month 3M announced its acquisition of HighJump Software, a leading Supply Chain Execution software company that also has close working relations with Microsoft. As recently as November, HighJump announced its work with Microsoft to enhance existing solutions and make available several new applications to provide a broad and flexible collection of RFID-enabled solutions for warehouse management, visibility and tracking, shop floor data collection, and RFID compliance.

"This is a great example of how Microsoft enables the development of new solutions to address pressing issues faced by manufacturers," said Chris Colyer, industry manager, General Manufacturing, Microsoft. "Through our focus on integrated innovation, we provided the flexible, scaleable foundation, 3M added its domain expertise, and 3M fielded a solution that the company is so pleased with in terms of flexibility, capability and cost that it decided to transform a portion of its business and deliver a valuable solution that other manufacturers will greatly benefit from."

"The 3M relationship with Microsoft further illustrates our dedication to solving critical supply chain and packaging concerns," said Haldane. "Supply chain efficiency in packaging has been an unrealized opportunity in enterprise applications until now, and we're extremely pleased to be working with a leader like Microsoft."

About 3M -- A Global, Diversified Technology Company

Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are, whatever they do, the company's customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better. 3M's brands include icons such as Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Dyneon. Serving customers in more than 200 countries around the world, the company's 67,000 people use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and protection services; health care; industrial and transportation. For more information, including the latest product and technology news, visit www.3M.com.

3M, Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Dyneon are trademarks of 3M.


3M, St. Paul
Ron Wenaas, 651-736-7918
Snow Communications
Katy Tanghe, 612-337-0740

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