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The Council for the Collaboration between the Manufacturing, Distribution and Sales Sectors Held its General Assembly and a Forum Guidelines for advancing the reduction in product returns and the facilitation of efficient distribution, etc., published

On July 15, 2016, the Council for the Collaboration between the Manufacturing, Distribution and Sales Sectors held a general assembly and a forum, and published [i] guidelines for reducing the number of product returns and the facilitation of efficient distribution, [ii] basic approaches to introducing multiple languages in product information, and [iii] winners of the Supply Chain Innovation Award 2016. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been supporting the efforts of the council since its establishment, and will endeavor to advance its efforts in collaboration with the council so as to fully optimize the supply chain across all industries.

1. Outline of the council

The Council for the Collaboration of Manufacturing, Distribution and Sales Sectors was established in May 2011. Through the collaboration of the manufacturing, intermediate distribution/wholesale (distribution), and retail (sales) sectors, it aims to eliminate inefficient operations from the entire supply chain and establish a system which creates new value, thereby enhancing industrial competitiveness and contributing to the prosperity of the public. It holds a general assembly and a forum annually and publicizes the details of its efforts over that preceding year. As of July 15, 2016, there are 55 member enterprises on the council.

2. Outline of the efforts

1) Guidelines for reducing the number of product returns and the facilitation of efficient distribution

Focusing on processed foods and commodities, which have complications including mass disposal and other challenges, working groups in charge of each issue discussed approaches to reducing the number of product returns and facilitating more efficient distribution. They shared case examples of better business practices collected through a program conducted by the council’s member companies, extracted the essential guiding principles from the list of best practices and compiled them into guidelines to be communicated to relevant industries in an effect to reduce product returns and the facilitation of efficient distribution concerning processed foods and commodities.
Note: As the guidelines for advancing the reduction in returned commodities were publicized in FY 2015, they are only partially updated in FY 2016.

For details, visit the following website:
http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/economy/distribution/shh_tebikisyo.html (in Japanese)

2) Basic approaches to introducing multiple languages in product information

Many overseas visitors in Japan face difficulties in reading product information (e.g. ingredients and pricing) when shopping because of the language barrier, and this often causes businesses to miss sales opportunities. To address this issue, a working group in charge of product information and multiple language issues discussed different approaches to solving the problem. At the discussion, it was pointed out that the manufacturing, distribution and sales sectors need to cooperate in establishing and operating common system by which product information can be read in multiple languages with bar-codes. As a result of the discussion, the idea is included in the collection of the basic approaches to addressing the issue. The council is scheduled to establish a prototype system and conduct a demonstration test.

For details, visit the following website:
http://www.metigo.jp/policy/economy/distribution/shh_tagengo.html (in Japanese)

3) Supply Chain Innovation Award 2016

Aiming to optimize the entire supply chain, the council called for applicants to submit case examples of companies that are engaging in efforts to reduce the number of product returns and facilitate efficient distribution in collaboration with the manufacturing, distribution and sales sectors, and it received applications from 37 companies. It examined them and determined one winner for the Supply Chain Innovation Award and three winners for the Supply Chain Innovation Excellence Awards (respectively from the manufacturing, wholesale and retailing industries). In response, these winners were recognized by the Director-General for Commerce, Distribution and Industrial Safety Policy, METI.

Supply Chain Innovation Award

  • Ito-Yokado Co., Ltd.

Supply Chain Innovation Excellent Awards

  • Kao Group Customer Marketing Co., Ltd.
  • Kokubu Group Corporation
  • Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co., Ltd.

For details, visit the following website:
http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/economy/distribution/shh_scitaisyou.html (in Japanese)

Release date

July 15, 2016

Division in Charge

Distribution and Logistics Policy Division, Commerce, Distribution and Industrial Safety Policy Group, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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