3 M: Glued To The Web

The 98-year-old company's online database is generating New Economy efficiencies

David Crosier can't believe his good fortune. He's the guy who's supposed to keep Staples Inc. (SPLS) in Post-it Notes and Scotch tape. These days, he's rolling in supplies. Not too long ago, the Staples vice-president for supply-chain management couldn't even find a Post-it Note to jot down his complaints about Post-it maker Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. (MMM) Staples' stores were consistently low on 3M products. Crosier would put in an order for 10,000 rolls of Scotch tape and get 8,000. It was always a crapshoot. Worse, 3M couldn't be counted on to get them to Crosier and his stores on time. The problem was causing "stock-outs" of popular 3M office products.

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