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Improved supply chain efficiency increases ROI for world-leading lens and semiconductor manufacturer

· Reduced administration costs generates accelerated response times for Leica’s stock control

London, 31st October 2002 – Sterling Commerce, leading provider of business-to-business commerce solutions, has signed up global electrical manufacturer Leica Microsystems as an early adopter of Sterling Integrator™, the company’s new advanced business process management (BPM) platform.

Leica Microsystems is a world leading innovator, manufacturer and supplier of high precision optical solutions based on microscopes and related instruments. The company yields an annual turnover of €615 million and is headquartered in Wetzlar, Germany. Leica has 12 global manufacturing facilities; branches and subsidiaries spanning 19 countries; customers in over 100 countries; and a network of more than 200 dealers around the world.

The company will rely on Sterling Integrator (Sterling Commerce’s unique integration platform for EAI and B2BI) to improve collaboration straight through the supply chain and increase the efficiency of the service side of its business by replacing the existing manual stock and logistics control system with an automated workflow process. The new solution will streamline business process integration and remove administrative delays in the transfer and deployment of spare parts stock from global factories between its warehouse network and its US customer base. It will provide internal and external application integration with support for real-time B2B interactions.

Sterling Integrator has been developed with a modular approach to the modelling and management of business processes at its core. The versatility of the solution will provide Leica with the ability to identify additional critical business processes that can be enhanced and automated to ensure optimum efficiency throughout the organisation.

Leica Microsystems, which has relied on Sterling Commerce Gentran EAI Server at the heart of its global operations since 1999, chose to adopt the Sterling Integrator solution as it offered a future-proofed solution to evolve the organisation’s existing infrastructure to become a fully integrated enterprise. In addition, Sterling Integrator will provide Leica with the common platform needed to support new and emerging eBusiness standards as well as allowing the company to take advantage of web services in the future when dealing with global trading partners.

Derek Payne, Fulfilment Technology Manager at Leica said: “In the past we have experienced delays in the reconciliation of parts due to a manual processing system. With Sterling Integrator, we have a finely-tuned engine that can correctly manage and monitor the flow of data and applications and ensure integrity of critical business processes. This effectively removes administrative delays in the processing and movement of our stock and results in a quick and substantial ROI.”

Payne continued: “Our decision to work with Sterling Commerce was one made with confidence, primarily because of their impressive background and extensive experience in EDI and B2B commerce solutions. As a result, we were eager to extend our existing relationship as a Gentran customer to take full advantage of the benefits that the Sterling Integrator solution has to offer.”

Roy Lee, Senior Director of Marketing at Sterling Commerce EMEA, said: "Sterling Commerce has over 25 years experience in understanding and providing integration solutions to improve business efficiency such as those deployed by Leica. We have developed Sterling Integrator specifically to address these business process management and supply chain needs and help make companies easier to do business with today and in the future."

This announcement marks the launch of Sterling Integrator into the EMEA market. Sterling Integrator is a next-generation platform that automates the flow of information between legacy infrastructure, enterprise applications and B2B commerce environments.

Sterling Commerce is already conducting other successful pilots across the EMEA region with a range of market leading organisations in the manufacturing, retail and financial services industries and expects to announce a host of new contract wins in the coming months.

About Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC) is one of the world's largest providers of business-to-business commerce solutions. For Global 5000 companies and their customers, suppliers and partners, Sterling Commerce software and services help maximize business performance and improve business metrics through integration of applications, external partner systems and people. With more than 25 years of experience serving tens of thousands of customers in a vast range of industries, Sterling Commerce is a recognized pioneer in business-to-business commerce through its longstanding expertise in EDI. Today, as customers explore new ways to improve business performance via the Internet, Sterling Commerce continues to innovate its software and services to further the global adoption of e-commerce while offering its customers strategic solutions that leverage existing technology.

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About SBC Communications Inc.

SBC Communications Inc. is a global communications leader. Through its subsidiaries' trusted brands - SBC Southwestern Bell, SBC Ameritech, SBC Pacific Bell, SBC Nevada Bell, SBC SNET and Sterling Commerce – and world-class network, SBC and its affiliated companies provide a full range of voice, data, networking and e-business services, including local and long-distance, high-speed Internet access and data transport, network integration, software and process integration, Web site and application hosting, e-marketplace development, paging and messaging, as well as directory advertising and publishing. America's leading provider of high-speed DSL Internet service, SBC companies currently have 61.3 million access lines nationwide. SBC has a 60 percent equity interest in Cingular Wireless, its joint venture with BellSouth, which serves more than 20 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in 28 countries and has annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.

For media enquiries please contact:
Linda Clifford
Sterling Commerce
+44 (0)208 867 8239

Sarah Griffiths / Claire Smither
Nelson Bostock Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 4400

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Nelson Bostock Unlimited in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit