Background:

Established in the 1908s, Company M is one of Japan’s largest planning, distributing, and retail company for clothing, household goods, and food.

Its pursuit of simplicity that is commonly present among selecting materials, manufacturing, and packaging won the company a strong brand identity.

Company M today has about 900 stores among 27 countries with a product line of about 7000. The company has about 180 thousand employees and a yearly sales of about 400B yen.

Issue:

Since the company is responsible for the whole process from product planning to manufacturing to retail, they must react consciously to changes in the market, and to do so, rich communications within the company is crucial. Until recently, the company worked on a combination of different software from various vendors to manage supplies and sales, and also to analyze its data. As a growing global company, there was an increasing need for a system that supports their process of planning, improving and innovating their work— a concept that is in line with their company vision.

Solution:

In the process of renewing their system, they found out about UNICAGE. After several iterations of POCs (proof of concepts), they concluded that UNICAGE will indeed help them create an ideal system through in-house development.

 

They decided to continue using existing systems for business processes that are defined by law and for those that required specific environments such as cash registers and sorters for distribution. For other backbone processes that needs to reflect corporate strategies such as deploying actions and analyzing decisions, the company decided to develop in-house.

 

During the initial phase of the project to replace existing processes with UNICAGE, a joint team of Company M staff and USP staff worked on the system design, and USP staff developed the system.

Processes to be replaced were divided according to their functions, and were developed in 2-to-3-week cycles that each prototyped, evaluated, improved and added on specific functions, and validated the said portion. In total, the project took about half a year from design to implementation.

After, they continued working on improving and adding on more functions to accomplish their original goal to renew and improve each of their work processes. This process, Company M staff joined the developing team in an OJT format to learn the technology and to become able to operate on their own. Three years later, most all development is done by Company M staff, with USP providing some technical support.

Client Voice

The simplicity of the design philosophy had effect on the corporate culture, and as a result no one needs to work overtime any longer. 

7million

Costs saved: system costs were reduced from $17 million to $10 million

Fast development by a small team

Approximately 160 system functions were developed and implemented by a team of 7 developers over a period of about half a year.

0

Organization and optimization of internal communications by the system brought overtime work to zero.

The Systems Post became the center of improving and driving business processes, bringing the post to one of the most popular positions within the company.