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Bechtel Uses Cephren´s Online Collaboration Service, Projectnet®, To Streamline Construction Of Webvan Distribution Centers

Palo Alto, CA - April 7, 2000 Internet collaboration technology from Cephren Inc. is enabling one of the world's leading builders, Bechtel Corporation, to design and build online grocer Webvan's (Nasdaq: WBVN) nationwide network of highly automated distribution centers. Cephren's web-based collaboration service, ProjectNet®, provides Bechtel's project teams—i.e. contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors and suppliers—with the ability to share documents, collaborate, and communicate in real time. With ProjectNet, documents, including computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, are being shared instantaneously among the many firms involved in building each Webvan distribution center, eliminating the expense and confusion of delivering paper documents overnight.

"The difference between using ProjectNet and traditional offline tools can be compared to the real time savings of e-mail versus postal mail," said Tim Horst, program construction manager for Bechtel's Webvan distribution centers project. "The ability to send out and respond to information requests within a matter of hours while tracking each response significantly reduces construction delays and crew down-time."

Webvan's distribution center project involves the construction of 26 distribution centers across the United States including locations such as Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, and Seattle. The ability for Bechtel project headquarters to coordinate and communicate effectively with all the disparate project teams is crucial, particularly since hundreds of drawings need to be shared for each Webvan project.

"Each location presents unique challenges with regard to terrain and building codes," said Brian Sedar, program business manager for Bechtel's Webvan distribution centers project. "Consequently, the designer in charge of producing the overall plans for the project must communicate quickly and simply with local architectural firms to ensure that each building meets building codes and that the design addresses local terrain issues. As a result, ProjectNet delivers significant value to Bechtel and Webvan long before ground is broken for the new buildings."

Even for users with limited computer experience, ProjectNet is easy to learn and works with any PC and web browser. Cephren also offers onsite training and support to project team members who may lack computer knowledge, thus providing additional value for builders and owners.

"Cephren ProjectNet is intuitive and straightforward," said Charles Sandvig, design manager for Bechtel's Webvan distribution centers project. "The true challenge is finding a system that responds to a wide variety of subcontractor's management and workflow processes. ProjectNet provides a flexible medium that accommodates a large subcontractor organization working daily with computers, as well as smaller operations that work in a fax and paper environment."