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webPLAN Builds eSupply-Chain Community for ``Next Generation'' Manufacturer; webPLAN eSupply-Chain Suite Purchased by GE/FITCH.

Business Editors

KANATA, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 23, 2000

webPLAN(R) today announced the sale of its complete webPLAN eSupply-Chain(TM) suite to GE/FITCH(R), a joint venture company of GE Plastics and Fitch Corporation.

The hybrid is a unique manufacturing services company with a global network of contract manufacturing facilities, producing high-volume electronic and Electro-mechanical products for commercial and consumer markets.

"GE/FITCH is a 'Next Generation' manufacturer, and a model of the webPLAN vision of the future of the industry," said Michael Ker, President and CEO, webPLAN Inc. "GE/FITCH assembles a highly specialized group of companies, managed by a diverse team of operations experts, to collaborate on the design and production of quality products in less time, resulting in better margins for customers and suppliers. That means rapid growth for all."

"Next generation" manufacturing is e-Business in the truest sense of the word. GE/FITCH has extraordinary flexibility with no asset constraints, since it owns no facilities or equipment. Its role is to plan and manage the manufacturing process remotely, contributing design, management and fulfillment services to a family of networked contract manufacturers and service providers. Having no asset constraints also means having the ability to develop and produce an unlimited scope of products. Unlike traditional contract manufacturers, which are limited by their core product competencies, the Next Generation manufacturer is able to select subcontractors for each project, and, on a project-by-project basis, meet each customer's unique requirements for cost, quality and time-to-market.

There are five links in the GE/FITCH supply chain community: the end user of the finished product, the GE/FITCH customer that places the order, GE/FITCH itself, the contract manufacturer(s) and the contract manufacturer's suppliers. webPLAN will be the e-Business platform for all parties, facilitating on-line procurement, supply chain management, customer/supplier relationship management and real-time collaboration. Players worldwide will fulfill the orders in a collaborative fashion, in a marriage of cyber services and brick & mortar production facilities.

"The webPLAN contribution will have significant impact on our business model, particularly with respect to controlling the manufacturing process, and provide GE/FITCH and our customers with complete, real-time visibility and production information," said Pete Werwick, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, GE/FITCH. "The visibility webPLAN provides to us, our customers and our subcontractors, is vital to achieving our objective of becoming a seamless extension of our customers' operation."

While there are literally thousands of traditional contract manufacturers, GE/FITCH's "Next Generation" manufacturing model enables it to offer a broad range of products and services - including product design, development, manufacturing, logistics and inventory management. By adding Internet-based, real-time collaboration and visibility, GE/FITCH enhances its project management capability, and amplifies customer service levels.

The success of the GE/FITCH business model relies on the optimization of product development, manufacturing and service delivery functions, and the composite wealth of resources and expertise of the joint venture partners. webPLAN, with its industry-leading supply chain web applications, is a critical part of this optimization in that it provides the platform for transacting business in real-time, over the Internet.

About GE/Fitch:

Founded in 1989 as a joint venture of the General Electric Plastics and FITCH, a world-renowned industrial design firm, GE/FITCH specializes in providing its customers with network-based manufacturing services. GE/FITCH is unique in the world of contract manufacturing, in its ability to provide comprehensive "turnkey" manufacturing services with the world class management, quality and manufacturing resources of General Electric, combined with the global design expertise of FITCH. With its "Next Generation" manufacturing model, it has established a new paradigm in how products are designed, developed and brought to market.

About webPLAN eSupply-Chain:

The webPLAN eSupply-Chain suite enables customers, suppliers and manufacturers to actively participate in an integrated supply chain community, in real-time, for faster ordering, manufacturing and delivery of products. The cost of entry for clients is a standard browser, and the solution is easy to use and deploy. The eSupply-Chain Server is based on Microsoft Internet Information Server technology, and hosts a family of eSupply-Chain web applications. These applications can be tailored to suit customer specific e-Business practices, using the Microsoft COM-based webPLAN Open Framework.

About webPLAN:

webPLAN Inc. is a privately held company with corporate offices in Chicago, Illinois and Ottawa, Canada. A global community of over 8,000 users now employs webPLAN as their supply chain solution. For more information on the company and its e-Business solutions, visit

Copyright (c) 2000 webPLAN Inc. All rights reserved. Company and product names are registered trademarks of their respective companies. Collaborative Planning is a registered trademark of webPLAN.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 23, 2000
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