SOURCE: Four51

April 30, 2008 12:42 ET

Fifty Years Later, Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" Inspires an E-Commerce Network Growing by 1,200 Members per Day

The Classic Novel About Book Burning Sparks a Supply Chain Devoted to Efficient Print Services and Distribution

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwire - April 30, 2008) - In Ray Bradbury's 55-year-old novel "Fahrenheit 451," a mechanical hound is programmed to hunt down and kill free-thinking people. In the real world of supply chain management, a company called Mechanical Hound designs and develops Web storefronts built on the Four51 e-commerce platform, hunting down and killing any chance of brand inconsistency or unintuitive design.

Four51 is an open e-commerce platform that connects buyers, distributors and suppliers of indirect goods, such as printed materials, promotional products and office supplies. Enlisting Mechanical Hound's design services lets these suppliers and distributors provide a cohesive buying experience for their customers. When customers access a branded buying site powered by Four51 to place an order, it matches the buyer's corporate look and feel -- logos, colors, images, layout and more. Mechanical Hound's services require no on-going maintenance or support, and the distributor maintains full control over its Four51 site. To see samples of these custom themes, visit

"A well-designed, visually pleasing theme can redefine the entire perception of a buyer's experience, building a strong connection to your product line and creating an easy and memorable transaction," said Edward Lee, founder and lead designer at Mechanical Hound. "Four51 is a great application, and print sellers and distributors can make it even more powerful with design work that enhances the user experience."

Proforma Spectrum Print Graphics is a Proforma franchise in Portland, Ore., that has used Four51 for print e-commerce since 2003. Proforma SPG had in the past worked with a customer's internal Web designer to customize Four51 themes and attempt to match the look and feel of that company's existing Web brand. Proforma SPG quickly learned that working with designers who have experience with the Four51 platform saves time and money.

"With only a little guidance, Mechanical Hound was able to match the design of the company's existing Web site. It looked like it was designed by the same people," said Andrew Ellmaker, designer, photographer and graphic services manager at Proforma Spectrum Print Graphics. "Mechanical Hound's design not only looked great but also made using the online store a very pleasing experience, which helps us sell more product."

About Four51

Four51 ( is an open e-commerce platform that connects buyers, distributors and suppliers of indirect goods, such as printed materials, promotional products, and office supplies.

Four51's unique approach to the indirect goods market is centered on Connect Four51, a Supply Chain Management program that removes inefficiencies from order processing, manufacturing and go-to-market activities and delivers the resulting financial benefits directly to the buyer. In addition, Connect Four51 suppliers gain instant, seamless access to hundreds of print distributors and hundreds of thousands of print buyers through a single online platform, many of whom are selecting Four51's no-cost option for integrated business management functionality using SAP Business One. Ennis, Inc., a leading wholesale manufacturer of a complete line of printed business products that employs over 6,000 people in 44 facilities throughout the United States, joined Connect Four51 in February 2008.

Four51 is growing virally at the rate of 1,200 buyers per day, and there are more than 25,000 businesses and 730,000 registered users conducting commerce on the Four51 network. Founded in 1999, Four51 is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, and is recognized as a leader in supply chain efficiency in its industry.

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