At the Center of Collaboration

Centric Software and Thomas Publishing join forces

SAN JOSE, CA and NEW YORK  March 7, 2002  In an effort to enable closer collaboration between product manufacturers and suppliers, Centric Software, Inc., a provider of Collaborative Product Innovation (CPI) solutions, and Thomas Publishing, a provider of online industrial supplier, product and service information, have joined forces in the form of a strategic alliance.

Centric Innovation(tm) aims to help manufacturers optimize product innovation by leveraging the collective competencies of their supplier network, pulling together disparate product data from the extended enterprise to digitally innovate, validate, and develop new products within critical windows of opportunity.  Thomas will enable users to identify appropriate suppliers and quickly locate parts and components using Thomas' parametric search capability, dramatically reducing the time needed to complete concept bills-of-material (cBOM's).

Centric Software will enable a new network of users to automatically link to, search and significantly accelerate the utilization of purchasing (source, specify, and buy) information available in the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers (and Thomas Regional Directories).  The online availability of detailed product information, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) data and key product attributes, creates opportunities for productivity gains early in the design process when crucial decisions are being made and 80 percent of the product's lifecycle costs are determined.  This enables OEMs and suppliers to work together to optimize product innovation with a common understanding of the target concept product definition.

"With its leadership in Collaborative Product Innovation, Centric Software is a natural partner for us, empowering buyers to not only locate optimal suppliers, but to access sophisticated sourcing and specifying content in the Thomas universe," said Erik Mikisch, vice president of Thomas Publishing Company's integrated marketing division.  "In addition to making Thomas Publishing information available to a wider audience of innovators and to ease the publication process, Centric Innovation enables users to collaborate and bring in content at the crucial product ideation phase, significantly accelerating concept development.  The ability to discover suppliers' product information and subsequently transfer CAD or functionality based product information very early in the design process creates enormous cost savings for the OEM manufacturer."

According to Pierre Mitchell and Kevin O'Marah in The AMR Research "First Thing Monday" Alert on March 4, 2002, "The relationship relies on the mutual benefit of Thomas pushing more volume for suppliers and Centric offering better functionality for its users.  The intent is to have desktop access to Thomas content and discovery capabilities embedded directly into Centric Innovation."  The Alert continues, "The partnership with Centric is also strategic for Thomas Publishing not just to provide value-added services, similar to its sourcing site, but also to move upstream from the buyer to the engineer's desktop - guaranteeing the visibility that Thomas's supplier community has come to expect."

"Thomas Publishing has been the premier information source for the manufacturing community for over a century, and the new partnership will prove invaluable for Centric Innovation users," said Neil M. Mitchell, vice president of marketing and strategic alliances for Centric Software, Inc.  "This partnership enables manufacturers and suppliers in the Centric Innovation environment to leverage the massive supplier and product information available in the Thomas directories, focusing on concept designs and validation in a true partnership that moves beyond the traditional procurement relationship."