Tokai Co-op uses FUJITSU Cloud Service MobileSUITE®

Tokai Co-op uses FUJITSU Cloud Service MobileSUITE® to improve deliveries, enabling drivers to immediately respond to members’ requests, elevating customer service

Improving efficiency and service

With a shared philosophy of “treasuring the Tokai region’s abundant nature, and the bonds between the people who live there,” the three Tokai Cooperatives (Co-op Gifu, Co-op Aichi, and Co-op Mie) are an integral part of the Tokai area, supporting the daily lives of their 900,000 members. The cooperatives from the three prefectures formed a business collaboration organization called the Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union Tokai Co-op (Tokai Co-op), to improve efficiency and elevate the levels of the co-ops’ stores, joint purchasing, information systems, and logistics.

In such an organization, where consumers pay fees to become members, improving member satisfaction lies at the root of business. Information must be utilized to respond to the needs of each individual member. In 2014, Tokai Co-op established an integrated database to collect information about members and their usage from all fields of the cooperatives, and began to work on a project to develop a joint purchase support system utilizing unified data on mobile devices, to help improve the delivery service for members.

“On busy days, our delivery drivers would visit up to 100 members to deliver their orders or pick up consignments,” says Shuichi Nezaki, Standing Director of Tokai Co-op. “We wanted to improve our delivery efficiency, and give better responses to our members’ inquiries and requests at time of delivery. To do so, we needed to digitalize our paper-based work flow, and revolutionize the way our delivery staff worked with a system that allowed completeness at the delivery site.”

Fujitsu selected as partner with its delivery site-centered proposal the deciding factor

When deciding on a vendor to construct the system to support the integrated database and joint purchasing tasks, Tokai Co-op placed priority on a delivery site-centric perspective. What really set Fujitsu apart from its competitors was the fact that its proposal didn’t focus only on the system itself; instead Fujitsu focused on how it could utilize the system from a delivery site perspective,” says Nezaki.

Ikuo Niwa, Information Systems Manager at Tokai Co-op, also praises Fujitsu’s on-the-ground perspective. “They said they would like to actually ride with our staff in their delivery trucks to see with their own eyes how the deliveries work, so that they could fully understand the situation before giving us their proposal. I could really tell that they placed importance on the actual delivery sites, and that they would work with us to create a system that would be useful on the ground.”

Tokai Co-op selected Fujitsu as development partner in 2014, and work on the integrated database began in June 2015. In April 2016, development started on the system to support joint development utilizing smartphones.

Reflecting delivery drivers’ voices on every screen, achieving both security and convenience

Keiichi Niimi, Center Head of Co-op Aichi’s Miyoshi Center recalls the early days of the project. They reflected our requests in the user interface they created. We really felt that the on-site staff had been involved in making the system. I remember being so impressed when I carried out a test on an actual device. I thought, ‘now this is something I can really use!’”

“By using the mobile utilization platform FUJITSU Cloud Service MobileSUITE application and file transmission function, Fujitsu was able to develop the system in an efficient and speedy manner, while consulting closely with people on the ground,” says Niwa. If one of the smartphones is ever lost, the information on it can be protected from disclosure by using the remote delete function. Risk of information leakage is also kept at a minimum as any data stored on the device is cleared overnight. “We also made an operational adjustment so that there would be a clear line separating product delivery information from customers’ personal information such as phone numbers,” says Niwa. “The device can be used for regular delivery tasks with a single password input. But to access personal information, the driver needs to reenter the password, which helps enhance security.”

More than 300 work hours reduced per day

Once the system was up and running, Tokai Co-op drivers were able to do data entry tasks such as reporting delivery status via their smartphones onsite. Not having to drive back to the delivery center to do these tasks has reduced the organization’s working hours by more than 300 hours per day. The drivers also used to use paper lists when unloading products at the delivery destination, but moving these lists to the smartphone has eliminated the need to carry this list around, as well as the risk of it being lost. The items ticked off the list change color, and if an item is not ticked the user cannot proceed to the next screen. This makes the list easy to understand and helps prevent errors in product unloading.

Drivers can also respond to customers’ queries such as questions about delivery status or expected stock arrival, by accessing the enterprise system on the spot. This has led to an improvement in customer service. Nezaki says that utilizing the information accumulated on the integrated database to provide each customer with tailored products and services be an important theme for Tokai Co-op from now on. “More of our members are using their smartphones to order products now, so we hope to provide services that connect to their devices. We will continue to pursue ways to further increase our customers’ satisfaction.”

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