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  5. Experiment of Information Sharing System Using Electronic Tags to be Conducted

Experiment of Information Sharing System Using Electronic Tags to be Conducted

To solve societal challenges laying in supply chains through collaboration among supply chains and consumers

February 8, 2019

On February 12, 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will start an experiment of operation of an information sharing system using electronic tags, under the “Plan to Introduce 100 Billion Electronic Tags for Products in Convenience Stores” *1 and the “Declaration of Initiatives for Making Drug Stores Smarter”*2. In this experiment, a variety of stakeholders involved in supply chains, such as those in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors, and consumers will read the data stored on electronic tags attached to respective test-target products into their devices and link the data through a test-information-sharing system to be built for the experiment. This experiment is part of efforts to achieve social infrastructure that makes inventory information and other supply-chain-relevant data identifiable and solve social challenges, such as excess inventory and food loss.

1. Background

In Japan, stakeholders involved in the distribution sector, including the manufacturing, wholesale and retail industries have been facing a labor shortage and an increase in labor costs. They also face a variety of issues across its supply chains, including food loss and returned goods, despite achieving highly effective logistics backed by mass production and frequent deliveries.

To address these challenges, METI formulated two plans jointly with operators of convenience store chains and with the Japan Association of Chain Drug Stores (JACDS), respectively: the Plan to Introduce 100 Billion Electronic Tags for Products in Convenience Stores in April 2017; and the Declaration of Initiatives for Making Drug Stores Smarter in March 2018. These plans present guidelines for next-generation supply chains taking advantage of radio-frequency identification (RFID) and other technologies.

Aiming to achieve the goal of information sharing between supply chains set in the plans, METI built a test-information-sharing system and will conduct experiment of the system. Based on the results of the experiment, METI will examine data formats, rules and other elements necessary for conducting information sharing.


2. Outline of the experiment

The following three aspects in using electronics tags and other IoT-related technologies will be examined under the FY 2018 experiment:

(1) Collaboration between stakeholders involved in the supply chains

Following on from the FY2017 experiment*3, in the FY2018 one: i) participating manufacturers or distribution centers will attach electronic tags to test-target products; ii) distributors will read data stored on the electric tags when loading and unloading the products and send the data to the test-information-sharing system; and iii) the system will accumulate the data and make inventory information visible for every stakeholder.

In addition, ordinary citizens in the household sector will participate in the FY 2018 experiment as consumer monitors. Such monitors will read data from electronic tags on their smartphones or other devices, and look for ways to practically use the data in their households. Opinions offered by such monitors will provide ideas for system providers and other stakeholders involved in this experiment to create new services using electronic tags.


(2) Collaboration between stores and consumers

Participating convenience stores and drug stores will undertake the following two efforts under this experiment.

Dynamic pricing Participating stores will mount devices equipped with a RFID technology, an automatic recognition technology that uses radio waves to read and write data stored in electronic tags on products, on their store shelves. The data obtained by the RFID devices will be sent to the test-information-sharing system. The system will identify products whose expiration or best-before date is closing, and inform customer monitors via their smartphone applications that they will get a price discount or premium points on purchasing such identified products. This is an effort to reduce food loss.
Optimized advertisement An RFID device will be linked to a digital signage system installed in a participating store. When a customer picks up a product, the device will read data from an electronic tag on the product, and the digital signage mounted on the product shelf will automatically show the customer a video advertisement of the product.

(3) Experience-based exhibitions of services using electronic tags for the household sector

From February 12 to 28, 2019, at the Yokohama Showroom of Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd, METI will exhibit a variety of ideas for potential IoT-oriented services using electric tags for the household sector, upholding a theme of “Future Society in which People, Things and Houses are Connected”. Those ideas are created based on the results of an ideathon and a hackathon concerning new services using electric tags held by METI in December 2018.

In addition to this exhibition, METI will showcase a refrigerator mounted a RFID technology to read data from electronic tags on products at the lobby on the first floor of the METI Main Building.

For further details of the experiment, see the Appendix titled “Outline of the Experiment.”
For information on how to participate in the experiment and the experience-based exhibitions, see the Appendix titled “How to Participate in the Experiment.”

3. Details of the experiment

(1) Title of the project:

FY2018 NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) Project for Enhanced Efficiency of Domestic Consumer-Goods Supply Chains under the Project for the Development of Infrastructures for Creating New Industrial Models Taking Advantage of IoT

(2) Period of the experiment

From February 12 to 28, 2019
Note: The test in the Welcia Chiyoda-Ochanomizu Store will start on February 15, 2019, since electric tags will be attached to all available products in the store.

(3) Participating stores

Welcia Chiyoda-Ochanomizu Store
Cocokara Fine Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Store
Tsuruha Drug Meguro-Nakane Store
Ministop Kandanishikicho-3chome Store
Lawson Gate City Ohsaki-Atrium Store

(4) Venues and periods of the exhibition of services using electronic tags for the household sector

Venue 1: The Kitchen Library in the Kurashino Library Section, Yokohama Showroom, Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Period: From February 12 to 28, 2019

Venue 2: Lobby, first floor, Main Building, METI
Period: From late February to February 28, 2019

(5) Cooperating companies, etc.

Company to which METI commissioned the project Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
Cooperating companies in providing a store Welcia Yakkyoku Co., Ltd.
Cocokara Fine Inc.
Tsuruha Holdings, Inc.
Ministop Co., Ltd.,
Lawson, Inc.
Cooperating companies in providing distribution Kokubu Group Corp.
Hitachi Transport System, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Shokuhin Co., Ltd.
Cooperating companies in wholesaling Participating wholesalers responsible for respective steps
Cooperating companies in providing products Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.
Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Kao Corporation
Kao Group Customer Marketing Co., Ltd.
Kanebo Cosmetics Inc.
Calbee, Inc.
Kirin Beverage Company, Limited
KOSÉ Corporation
Sunstar Inc.
Suntory Communications Ltd.
Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd.
Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited
FANCL Corporation
P&G Japan
Yamazaki Baking Co., Ltd.
Lion Corporation
Cooperating company in providing a site for exhibition Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.
Cooperating companies in providing systems and devices iret, Inc.
ASNO System Inc.
AdInte Co., Ltd.
VINX Corp.
Welcat Inc.
Avery Dennison Japan
Osaka Sealing Printing Co., Ltd.
OMRON Corporation
Keio Research Institute at SFC
Sato Holdings Corporation
Sharp Corporation
Teijin Ltd.
Toshiba Tec Corporation
Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.
Denso Wave Incorporated
NEC Corporation
Japan Pallet Rental Corporation
Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd.
Panasonic Corporation
Fujitsu Frontech Limited
MASPRO Corporation
LINE Pay Corporation
ZMP Inc.
Cooperating companies in research and data analysis Intage Inc.
Industrial associations and standardization associations Japan Automatic Identification Systems Association
Distribution Systems Research Institute (GS1 Japan)
.NET for Retail System Initiative, Japan
Experts Jin Mitsugi Research Group, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University
Koji Yatani Research Group, Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
Mizuho Information and Research Institute, Inc.
Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd.


Division in Charge

Consumer Affairs, Distribution and Retail Industry Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group