The stated goal of the group is to facilitate the real-time exchange of information—system to system—between buyers, sellers and distributors of paper and broader forest products. The methodology being pursued is implementation of XML-based, global electronic business transaction standards.
From Quad/Graphics' Essex, WI, offices, Ron Nash, vice president of customer service, and Mike Ziegler, integration services manager, are helping direct the printer's efforts in this area. Both are active in the papiNet NA (North America) development organization, as well, serving as board member and work group representative, respectively.
Supply Chain Chatter
According to Nash, the goal of Quad/Graphics' involvement is to build a peer-to-peer communication process so it can speak more clearly and directly with its supply chain partners. "We want to see a common language put forth in the industry as a catalyst for investment in the infrastructure to take cost, time and complexity out of the supply chain," he explains.
A central benefit of papiNet is the ability to eliminate data entry, and errors that can go along with it, Ziegler adds. "For printers, direct cost savings are just the tip of the iceberg. papiNet is also going to help shops manage their administrative processes better," he says.
It's not a magic wand or silver bullet unto itself, but a first step toward a lot of opportunities to increase efficiency through automation, Nash believes. The potential is in eliminating what he calls human touch points in the process. The intent of the initiative is to create an opportunity to make the whole supply chain more efficient while not taking away any competitive opportunities, the company exec says.
Internally, this could include gathering data on consumption press side and reporting it throughout the company in an automated information flow, Nash explains. "We also can use papiNet as a communication bridge to the mills and to our clients."