“Guidelines for Improvement of Working Conditions and Reducing Overtime Work through Cooperation between Consignors and Transportation Businesses in the Distribution Industry Involving Paper and Pulp (in the Field of Household Paper)” Formulated
- As an effort for facilitating downsizing of household paper products and solving challenges in manual loading and unloading -
May 29, 2020
Based on the results of discussions held by a body called “Round Table on Improvement of Productivity in the Distribution Industry Involving Paper and Pulp (in the Field of Household Paper) and Reducing Overtime Work of Truck Drivers in the Industry (hereinafter referred to as the “Round Table on Household Paper and Pulp”),” which was inaugurated in FY2018, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) jointly formulated “Guidelines for Improvement of Working Conditions and Reducing Overtime Work through Cooperation between Consignors and Transportation Businesses in the Distribution Industry Involving Paper and Pulp (in the Field of Household Paper).” These ministries will encourage stakeholders to advance their efforts, aiming to solve challenges of manual loading and unloading and to facilitate downsizing of household paper products.
1. Background to formulating the Guidelines
The truck transportation industry is facing a serious driver shortage. To overcome this, the ministries conducted a survey and identified three fields of transportation in which drivers should address longer wait times before receiving cargoes in particular: processed foods, construction materials and paper and pulp. Based on this survey result, the ministries inaugurated round-tables for each category of items of goods to be transported in order to reduce the overtime work of truck transportation businesses in these three fields and since then, the round tables held meetings and discussions on related issues.
As an outcome of discussions at the five meetings held by the Round Table on Household Paper and Pulp, the ministries formulated the Guidelines.
The transportation industry involved in the delivery of household paper products has, over the years, typically adopted an inefficient loading practice, e.g., manual loading and unloading. As a result of this practice, the industry is now facing a variety of challenges, e.g., overtime work of drivers and failures to quickly address a dramatic increase in the demand for delivery. Meanwhile, some downsized products, e.g., double-length toilet rolls, are considered advantageous for the industry not only to reduce burdens that the industry bears in transportation operations but also to increase stockpiling in smaller spaces as preparations for disasters, states of emergency and other emergency cases. The ministries will raise awareness of the Guidelines among stakeholders in supply chains and encourage these stakeholders to improve productivity in distribution, e.g., solving challenges of manual loading and unloading and downsizing of household paper products.
2. Explanations of details of the Guidelines: Characteristics of the challenges in the distribution industry involving paper and pulp (in the field of household paper) and major measures for overcoming the challenges
Characteristics of the challenges
- The household paper products industry is facing a situation where it should advance efforts for improving efficiency of distribution, e.g., introducing pallets into operations, amid low unit prices of household paper products and difficulties to transfer the costs for new business investment to product prices; and
- Backed by the difficulties for retail stores to stockpile household paper products as inventories due to the products’ bulkiness, the industry needs to deliver a predetermined small number of goods every day as necessary, which results in delivering products in small quantities in high frequencies. This practice has squeezed the business management of transportation businesses, coupled with the low unit prices, i.e., low transportation charges.
Major measures therefor
- The household paper products industry should tackle efforts for introducing pallets into operations in order to overcome the challenge of manual loading and unloading;
- The entire supply chain involving the industry should shift to downsized products in order to reduce burdens from the distribution industry; etc.