Yamato Group Solutions

Enhancing Mail Order Provider Profitability through Improved Consumer Convenience  
Mail Order Solutions

Same-Day Delivery and Electronic Payments

Mail order is one of the few business segments in Japan that have performed strongly despite sluggish growth in consumer spending. The Yamato Group provides a wide range of services to mail order providers aspiring to boost earnings on the back of the growing popularity of Internet shopping. The basic strategy of these services is to further enhance the convenience for the buyer, under the ultimate goal to grow the bottom line of mail order businesses by improving customer satisfaction. To address consumer demand to receive an order as quickly as possible, Yamato Transport began offering to mail order providers the Today Shopping Service (TSS), which can deliver a customer's order as quickly as the same day it was ordered. Yamato Transport also addressed consumer demand for a broad mix of payment options by having its sales drivers (SD) use a handy terminal that can process most types of electronic money (e-money) developed and used in Japan today. Both of these approaches demonstrate that the Yamato Group is committed to improving consumer convenience from a variety of angles. 
(Reporting and editing by Nikkei BP Consulting Inc.)


Auto-Pick Factory – Key Factor in Expedited Deliveries  
Reducing Overall Distribution Costs through Extensive Use of Automation

The Yamato Group introduced a new system called the Auto-Pick Factory at its TA-Q-BIN terminals near major cities in order to make TSS a reality. The Auto-Pick Factory is a state-of-the-art system that employs automated stocker and sorter racks as well as automated conveyor belts that operate 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Mail order providers deliver merchandise directly to the Auto-Pick Factory beforehand, and then instructions are transmitted to the system based on customer orders. Next, the Auto-Pick Factory picks the merchandise from the rack in as quickly as 15 minutes. Once ready, the merchandise is sent to the TA-Q-BIN terminal where it is shipped to the buyer by TA-Q-BIN.

At present, the Auto-Pick Factory system has been installed in TA-Q-BIN terminals located outside of five major cities including Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka. The Auto-Pick System located in the Kanagawa Center in Yokohama is the largest of the five and is capable of storing up to 15,000 buckets of merchandise. The Yamato Group also plans to expand TSS moving forward by setting up new Auto-Pick Factory systems.

"For example, deliveries can be made to 15 of Tokyo's wards primarily centered on the downtown core in as little as four hours. Shipments to other areas can be performed in as quickly as 8 hours from our own warehouse." explains Funakoshi. Regarding the TSS fee, the Yamato Group offers a packaged rate that includes all processes including storage inside the Auto-Pick Factory, picking for up to three products, shipment and TA-Q-BIN service charges. Funakoshi says, "Using the Auto-Pick Factory greatly reduces costs and mistakes compared to picking and shipping a product from their own warehouse. This reduces the hassle of having to reship a product, so in most cases the total logistics cost can be reduced compared to conventional methods."

Funakoshi offers cosmetics as an ideal example of a mail order product where TSS can be used effectively. He also mentioned that books, DVDs, video games, food items, alcohol and apparel also work well with TSS. "There are even mail order providers that ship office consumables using TSS. Merchandise ordered the night before can be delivered prior to the start of business the following day, so TSS is actually faster than purchasing the same product at a brick-and-mortar store. The price of the product generally remains the same, so sales grow. The added-value nature found in the speed of delivery helps the mail order provider avoid price competition and product returns. In addition, we also provide a service where we take orders on behalf of the mail order provider, which enables these providers to offer services outside of normal business hours without the need for overtime," explains Funakoshi.

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  • (Previous) TSS – Making Same-Day Delivery a Reality
  • (Next) One of the First to Process E-Money Payments

<Mail Order Solutions> 
Enhancing Mail Order Provider Profitability through Improved Consumer Convenience

  • Chapter-01. 
Providing a Wide Range of Services to Mail Order Providers that Enhance Consumer Convenience
  • Chapter-02. 
TSS – Making Same-Day Delivery a Reality
  • Chapter-03. 
Auto-Pick Factory – Key Factor in Expedited Deliveries
  • Chapter-04. 
One of the First to Process E-Money Payments
  • Chapter-05. 
Use of E-Money on the Rise with the Advent of Loyalty Reward Point Programs

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About the Yamato Group

The Yamato Group includes the following companies: Yamato Transport Co., Ltd., which has developed an express delivery network nationwide; Yamato System Development Co., Ltd., which develops and operates diverse IT solutions including data centers; Yamato Home Convenience Co., Ltd., which transports and sets up consumer electronics, household goods, and machinery that cannot be transported via express delivery; Yamato Logistics Co., Ltd., which specializes in domestic and overseas logistics outsourcing; Yamato Financial Co., Ltd., which provides settlement services; and others. These companies pool their talents, which encompass "information, logistics, and settlement", to provide optimal solutions from a comprehensive perspective to the problems of client companies.