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Straightline Provides Real-Time Visibility to the Steel Supply Chain With New Online Service

StraightEdge™ Enables Customers to Increase Inventory Turns, Enhance Operational Efficiency and Improve Cash Flow

PRNewswire
PITTSBURGH
10.08.2002

A new service that offers customers real-time information reporting and applications to manage their steel supply was introduced today by Straightline Source, the technology-enabled steel distribution division of United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X). The service, known as StraightEdge™, lowers the overall cost of materials procurement and management for processed steel products by improving supply chain management.

StraightEdge makes it easier and more efficient for Straightline customers to forecast their steel needs and manage the flow of steel into their operations to meet their production requirements on a just-in-time basis. StraightEdge tools help companies reduce on-hand inventory levels and eliminate the potential for stock outages. The StraightEdge suite of services is an additional value provided to customers that buy on contract with Straightline.

"We developed StraightEdge in collaboration with our customers," said Bob Dryburgh, Straightline president. "By understanding our customers' business needs, we will continue to develop capabilities that give customers control over very significant elements of their business."

"Steel buyers and materials managers have tough jobs," said Dan Pavlick, Straightline managing director of Strategy & Information. "They need to source material at a competitive price and reduce the overall cost of procurement. They are challenged to develop forecasts in order to balance the operational risk of material shortages with the cost of tying up their working capital in idle inventory. StraightEdge facilitates the exchange of information, assuring the customer a reliable source of supply and providing confidence that steel purchases will be managed in accordance with their production requirements."

Dryburgh added, "We believe StraightEdge gives our customers the assurance of knowing that their releases against their contract commitments with us will be executed and delivered to them on-time, every time."

The proprietary StraightEdge technology was developed and built internally by a team of Straightline software engineers and developers. It was designed to be simple and intuitive, with no complicated technology to learn or download.

The Customer Advantage

StraightEdge was piloted by a number of Straightline customers, including Generac Power Systems, a leading provider of generator systems for industrial and consumer markets, based in Waukesha, Wis. With StraightEdge, Generac has been able to receive real-time inventory management information that it can't acquire from its own systems or from other steel suppliers.

"StraightEdge allows us to see everything online -- part files, orders and inventory," says John Cotter, CPIM, manager of production and inventory control for Generac's Eagle, Wis. facility. "By reporting everything online, we've cut communication time by 90 percent."

Cotter also adds, "With StraightEdge, we expect to increase our inventory turns considerably, which will be a major cost savings for our company. Faster inventory turns allow us to use less space and reduce costs, which in turn improves profitability."

How StraightEdge Works

StraightEdge allows customers to view comprehensive information related to their contractual purchase commitments and execute releases against the terms of the contract. Customers can electronically submit forecast information for each of their parts. All information is assembled according to the customer's part file numbers. Historical views of material usage versus the customer's forecast are provided, along with visibility into the finished goods inventory Straightline maintains and steel on reserve for future orders. Customers access StraightEdge through the Straightline web site at www.straightline.com.

A Growing Enterprise

Officially launched last fall, Straightline serves customers in 34 states. More than 5,200 companies have registered to do business with Straightline, a growing number of which are conducting business through contracts.

Straightline takes ownership of all phases of the customer relationship, from the sourcing of steel through order fulfillment. It does this by partnering with a network of 25 strategically located steel processors that hold inventory and perform custom processing. Straightline sources the steel it sells from multiple suppliers, with finished goods shipped from processors to customers by carriers coordinated through a third-party logistics partner.

Steel buyers who want to learn more about StraightEdge capabilities can visit www.straightline.com for a free demonstration or call Straightline Customer Care toll-free at 1-866-252-0488.

Editor's Note: Descriptions of StraightEdge views and tools are attached. A flash demonstration of the functionality and benefits of StraightEdge is available online at www.straightline.com

Straightline Source is a division of United States Steel Corporation and specializes in a distribution business for carbon flat-rolled steel to customers of all sizes that do not typically buy steel goods directly from steel producers. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., Straightline has a growing staff of 150 employees. Visit Straightline at www.straightline.com.

StraightEdge offers the following information and tools:

Forecast Upload -- Allows customers to upload their forecast directly to Straightline. This reduces paperwork, ensures accuracy and improves Straightline's ability to implement and manage the customer's contract in order to meet the customer's needs.

View Contract -- Provides a detailed view of all committed quantities and prices for each contractual item.

View Part File -- All StraightEdge information is arranged according to the customer's part numbers. By clicking on any part file number, customers can see all product, processing, and packaging specifications for each item, assuring that Straightline, its suppliers and processors are all in sync.

Inventory and Forecast Report -- Allows customers to view their historical usage and forecasted releases by part number, along with the finished goods inventory that Straightline currently has available to ship. Customers can use this report to compare the accuracy of their forecast versus their actual needs, enabling them to improve their materials management.

Contract Release -- Gives customers the ability to electronically submit contract releases. For each part, customers can see contracted quantity, what's been shipped to date, what's planned for the week and what's immediately available. This tool also allows the customer to enter the quantities and desired delivery dates for a particular part for up to four weeks into the future. By automating this process Straightline is able to service customers more efficiently while reducing the risk of product outages.

Order Status -- Provides customers with the ability to view the delivery status of each item.

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SOURCE: Straightline Source

CONTACT: Maggie Bray of Magnet Communications, +1-412-456-4308 or
mbray@magnetcom.com, for Straightline Source

Web site: http://www.ussteel.com/

Web site: http://www.straightline.com/

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