Paper/Forestry Case Study

Headquartered in Covington, Kentucky, xpedx is a customer-driven distributor of printing paper, packaging supplies and equipment, facility supplies, and graphic imaging prepress equipment and supplies. xpedx delivers customer solutions through 120 wholesale distribution centers and 175 stores, serving retail customers and small printers. The xpedx market focus is retail, commercial printing, on-demand printing, heavy manufacturing, the automotive industry, high-tech manufacturing, publishing, and national accounts.

xpedx was seeking a means to reach its customers by providing in-depth and timely industry information along with complete order management capabilities and comprehensive specifications on the tens of thousands of products that it sells.

Fisher Towne & Associates created an inclusive business-to-business e-commerce system for xpedx, enabling xpedx customers to make purchases from their desktops with real-time inventory and order status information and includes many new and proven features. features:

• A stock checking mechanism allows customers to query in real-time the current status of inventory for items they are interested in ordering. The system will query the appropriate xpedx business systems for the item(s) and quantities in question and return a real-time availability status.

• A catalog search allows users to enter search terms and optionally define various filtering criteria.

• Through an "Order by Quick Add" screen, customers can add items to their cart by simply entering an SKU number and item quantity.

• An order review/order history component enables users to view past orders and, depending on its status, have the ability to modify it. The status of the order will change based on information provided by the business system uploads to the Web system, which occur in real time at the direction of the user, or via daily uploads. Fisher Towne created a custom integration module
that is specific to xpedx business systems and automates all uploads.

• A new interactive component automates the request for paper samples and other promotional materials. More widespread use of online sample requesting will enable xpedx to quantify real-time sample requests across the country ? information that will be used for more exact sales forecasting.

Technologies Used
FTA used the following technologies to complete this project:

• Active Server Pages
• IBM MQ-Series connections
• MS SQL-Server
• MS Visual Source Safe
• Visual Basic and C++ COM