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A Japanese Case Study: Surviving and Thriving in an Era of Unprecedented Change

Autor:   •  April 8, 2011  •  Case Study  •  334 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,194 Views

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Japan's entire wholesaling industry is under extreme pressure these days, pushing companies like Ryoshoku, the country's second largest food wholesaler, to reinvest themselves. Economic conditions are driving retail price discounting, large format retail stores are emerging, discount chains are growing more popular, and market power is shifting to consumers and retailers. These factors are turning wholesalers' attention to meeting demands for lower supply chain costs.

Further complicating the picture, large retailers have increased the amount of direct trade between themselves and large manufacturers, in some cases squeezing out the wholesaler altogether. The American transplant, Toys "R" Us Japan, has been a highly visible pioneer in reducing costs through bypassing traditional wholesaling channels and purchasing directly from the manufacturer. Moreover, large retailers have invested in point-of-sale data capture and analysis capabilities, reducing their reliance on wholesalers for these services. To meet these challenges and to maintain and increase market share, leading wholesalers are strengthening and expanding value-added services, particularly emphasizing information services, retail support, and logistics.

Faced with these changes and prospects for continued distribution system restructuring in Japan, Ryoshoku is positioning itself to thrive in these uncertain times. Aiming to bridge the gap between manufacturers and retailers, it is developing market-based transfer/consolidation centers to provide its retail customers with frequent and efficient full-truckload, multiple-vendor deliveries to stores. This combined delivery service is designed to offer the same flexible small-lot, just-in-time service demanded by stores without all the inefficiencies. Ryoshoku has invested in nine regional distribution centers to provide flexible unit picking and order assembly services.

To provide these sophisticated


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