3M Allies with Microsoft on Packaging Management Solution

Manufacturer of Post-Its and Scotchgard expanding supply chain offerings

Manufacturer of Post-Its and Scotchgard expanding supply chain offerings

Chicago, IL  March 5, 2004  3M has said it plans to work more closely with Microsoft to maximize the architecture and feature set of its Integrated Packaging Tool in order to offer a Web-based packaging management solution.

Widely known for such products as Scotch, Post-it and Scotchgard, 3M also offers a variety of supply chain solutions based on its heritage of packaging expertise and, more recently, its acquisition of supply chain execution specialist HighJump Software.

The company plans to combine its own core competencies with Microsoft products and technologies to develop and deliver what it believes is the first available "integrated packaging management" solution.

3M said its Integrated Packaging Tool will be designed to help enterprise-level customers address such critical issues as compliance, product surety, time to market and reduction of packaging costs.

The tool is a Web-based system that centralizes all packaging information. Built with Microsoft .NET and employing Microsoft SQL Server as its back-end database, the tool allows users to take advantage of their existing IT infrastructure through the use of an XML-based application programming interface (API), according to 3M.

"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 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."

3M began development of the solution in 1999 to help manage its own packaging supply chain. After seeing internal benefits, such as improved productivity and cost savings, 3M decided to offer the integrated packaging solution commercially.

After 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 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," noted Kevin O'Marah in the AMR Research Alert, January 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 at 3M Industrial Services and Solutions Division, in a company statement. "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."