Promotion of Digitalization and Technologies
Various industries are focusing on the re-examination of work styles and the improvement of productivity per person due to the rapid decline in population brought about by the declining birthrate and aging population of Japan. In the logistics industry, while the volume of packages in the e-commerce market is continuously growing, it is becoming more difficult every year to secure human resources such as drivers. The Group is also promoting automation and labor-saving through the use of technology in order to continue stably providing infrastructure in the form of logistics.
Specifically, we are actively engaged in the introduction of technology to strengthen services coordinated throughout the Group utilizing initiatives such as GOAL®, implement front and back-office business reforms, and strengthen IT governance.
Within the SG Holdings Group, SG Systems performs system development and maintenance for Group companies. In order to focus on the operation of business utilizing the Group's comprehensive strength including GOAL® in future, it is becoming increasingly important to utilize IT throughout the entire Group.
For this reason, SG Holdings established the IT Control Unit in April 2019 to promote the improvement of efficiency of our operations and labor-saving utilizing new technologies such as RPA, AI, and robotics. Furthermore, by taking advantage of this know-how, we will utilize new technologies such as RPA, AI, and robotics to provide solutions for improving the efficiency of operations and labor-saving not only within the Group, but also to customers outside the Group.
Goals and Results
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|Company||Fiscal 2018 Goals||Results in Fiscal 2018|
|Sagawa Global Logistics||Introduction of technology in logistics equipment||
● Labor-saving through the "CarriRo®AD" logistics support robot
● Improvement of productivity using the "Visual Warehouse®" route navigation tool
|Promotion of improvement of operations utilizing AI, etc.||
● Automation of invoice reading
● Labor-saving in equipment checking operations using voice recognition
In fiscal 2018, we engaged in the introduction of technologies mainly in distribution centers.
Introduction of Technology in Logistics Facility
Labor Saving Using Logistics Support Robots
Sagawa Global Logistics has been proceeding to automate transportation operations within warehouses with the introduction of the "CarriRo®AD" logistics support robot from ZMP Inc. in January 2019. "CarriRo®AD" is able to carry up to 150kg of cargo, and can automatically transport cargo accurately by reading markings on the floor called landmarks to recognize direction.
Every day, around 1,400 cases of cargo are brought into the Kashiwa SRC, where the robot was introduced. Carts loaded with cargo are connected to "CarriRo®AD," which automatically carries them within the warehouse unmanned. This reduced the time spent walking within the center by three hours and the distance walked by approximately four kilometers per day. This enables the optimization of resources such as the personnel responsible can utilize this time for supporting assorting work and inspection work.
One person was previously required to carry a single cart, but two carts can be carried unmanned with the introduction of "CarriRo®AD"
Improvement of Productivity Using Route Navigation Tool
Sagawa Global Logistics introduced the "Visual Warehouse®" route navigation solution for warehouses provided by SATO Corporation.
"Visual Warehouse®" is a navigation system that uses images and audio to provide instructions on the shortest distance on picking routes, instructing workers by drawing the optimal lines of movement from start to finish on a virtual map. The system enables even relatively new workers to have the same work efficiency as the experienced, improving picking efficiency per hour, and improving productivity by 23% compared to before the system was introduced.
Promotion of Improvement of Operations Utilizing AI and Other Technologies
Automation of Invoice Reading
SG Systems has introduced an AI-OCR* system in which AI replaces and automates manual entry work in the delivery invoice entry operations of Sagawa Express. Conventional OCR had trouble recognizing the "size and weight" section on delivery invoices because the size and weight were handwritten, and there was also a mixture of circled numbers. Approximately 1.5 million data points were used to train the AI in the development of "AI-OCR" able to perform recognition more accurately than humans, and this system is currently in full operation.
*OCR: Optical Character Recognition. Technology for reading written and printed text with a scanner and converting this into digital text.
Labor Saving in Checking Vehicle Maintenance Work Using Voice Recognition
SG Systems is proceeding to introduce voice recognition technology in the checking tasks in the maintenance workplaces of SG Motors. SG Motors checks 122 items in the process of vehicle maintenance and inspection, and the introduction of this technology results in voice instructions on inspection content to be played over a headset without the need to hold a check sheet. When the inspector responds aloud, the voice is recognized and the inspection record is converted into data. Utilization of voice recognition enables the reduction of workload and prevention of omissions when checking. It is scheduled to be fully introduced in certain plants because it is expected to reduce the number of man-hours by 5,350 hours (32 man-months) per year.
Services are stably provided with high quality in maintenance workplaces with diverse personnel including many non-Japanese mechanics.