New from NetVendor

Unveils latest version of collaboration solution, signs up mold manufacturer as early adopter

Atlanta, GA  November 12, 2002  NetVendor, a provider of collaboration software, today announced the general availability of EMBRACE Collaborative Workspace 5.0, a solution for capturing both structured and unstructured communication across the enterprise with the goal of enabling real-time, enterprisewide collaboration and communication with peers, managers, customers and partners.

NetVendor also announced that D-M-E Co., a manufacturer and distributor of materials, components and technologies, has adopted the new version of the solution in a bid to address global integration, cycle time and process efficiency issues.

The software company said that it developed EMBRACE for product designers and managers dissatisfied with lengthy product design cycles and the cost and confusion of collaborating around CAD-like documents of different formats. EMBRACE allows them to securely manage documents and related communication in a single Web-based application, according to the solution provider.

Sean McCloskey, NetVendor president and CEO, said the new version of the solution would let users organize, edit and share documents such as 2D and 3D CAD, as well as various office and graphics packages.

Collaborative Workspace 5.0 is comprised of four innovative components, including Collaborative Studio, Document Director, Desktop Studio and Process Director. The application components combine to enable users to collaborate amongst themselves and various business partners in real-time or separately.

Collaborative Studio lets participants view, redline and conduct real-time meetings around documents, eliminating asynchronous markups and notes while allowing for inclusion of multiple parties, such as customers and suppliers, in the design process.

Document Director provides a secure, online document library where engineers, salespeople, customers and suppliers can obtain current product and project-related files using a Web browser.

Desktop Studio offers self-contained, "pack and go" client software that resides on a user's desktop and allows the user to review, write notes and edit documents offline and synchronize those files with the server-side Document Director and Collaborative Studio components at a later time.

Finally, Process Director manages and automates the work steps associated with document iterations, routing tasks, documents and information between people and systems. Common processes  such as change requests, non-conformance reporting or subcontractor design approvals  can be captured in a predefined workflow process initiated directly from the workspace. Additionally, process management tools allow managers to analyze how work is performed and make real-time adjustments, as needed, NetVendor said.

Meanwhile, NetVendor announced an early adopter of the new solution, D-M-E Co., a manufacturer and distributor of materials, components and technologies that are used in the manufacture and operation of molds for the plastics and die casting industries.

Sixty-year-old D-M-E selected the NetVendor solution to serve as the technology infrastructure for both communication and collaboration with the goal of enabling improvements to the company's many workflow processes, including product development. D-M-E is betting that products can be brought to market more quickly and efficiently and product development processes will be significantly advanced through an EMBRACE-powered project collaboration extranet.

"EMBRACE will serve as a single source for project information concerning product development at D-M-E," said Larry Navarre, director of business development for the company, which is a subsidiary of Milacron Inc. "In particular, the features inherent to the Process Director component of EMBRACE will enable D-M-E to collect statistics, review information, manage exceptions, highlight delays and advance 'tasks' through automated workflow."

Within D-M-E there are three distinct issues that EMBRACE is targeted to amend: global integration, cycle time and process efficiency. The solution will bring D-M-E's globally dispersed development centers together through an online interactive workspace to enable international collaboration on the product development process in real time to help ensure faster global acceptance of new product introductions.

D-M-E also plans to use EMBRACE to direct administrative and logistical tasks required for product development and introduction, thereby assisting the project teams in generating more new products quickly and in exploring new revenue streams. The company is also looking to EMBRACE's Process Director to enhance process efficiencies by streamlining key business processes and routing tasks, documents and information between people and systems.

"While evaluating EMBRACE for product development, we have come to learn how this infrastructure can be leveraged across our business," said Navarre, "We have identified about 30 business processes that could benefit from EMBRACE and are already implementing several quick-hit opportunities. We have pretty much expended the benefits of e-mail and intranets. EMBRACE will elevate us to a new level of capability for enterprise collaboration."