July 22, 2020
Under support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. will launch a demonstration experiment on joint store delivery across their respective supply chains under the theme of "Smart Distribution Services" in the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) (representative organization: Distribution Economics Institute of Japan).
1. Background and purpose
Nearly 56,000 convenience stores are running business across Japan and their locations are rich in variety, such as commercial facilities in front of railway stations, universities, and even hospitals. In addition, as convenience stores operated by Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Lawson, Inc. are designated as "designated public institutions" under the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act, they are expected to play an important role in case of disasters and are recognized as indispensable social infrastructure. Accordingly, it is very important to build and maintain their distribution networks for ensuring stable supply of commodities.
The three convenience store chains have endeavored to optimize and sophisticate their distribution systems independently, however, this time, they will launch a demonstration experiment to verify the effects of developing cooperative infrastructure for distribution, such as joint store delivery and inventory management, thereby examining the possibility of further expansion of collaboration and enhancement of efficiency in the field of distribution. The verification will also include the perspective of SDGs, such as reduction of food miles and reduction of CO2 emissions by decreasing the number of trucks in operation.
2. Demonstration experiment on joint store delivery among convenience store chains
By delivering commodities to stores of the three different companies within the Tokyo bay area by using the same truck, the effects of cooperation in enhancing the efficiency of distribution will be verified. The demonstration experiment covers a total of 40 stores (13 Seven-Eleven stores, 13 FamilyMart stores, and 14 Lawson stores) and will last one week from Saturday, August 1 to Friday, August 7.
Specifically, a joint distribution center will be set up in a distribution warehouse in Koto Ward. Respective companies' commodities to be delivered at room temperature (drinks, snacks, daily goods, etc.) will be transferred to the joint center from their respective storage centers, and those commodities will be delivered to each of the targeted stores through the most efficient routes across the respective franchise chains. Additionally, in order to examine the possibility of joint inventory management, some commodities will be stored at the joint distribution center and an experiment of picking commodities separately for each store will also be conducted.
3. Future actions
Based on the results of this demonstration experiment, and with the perspective of SDGs, METI, along with convenience store chains and relevant stakeholders, will consider a new form of distribution in the convenience store industry. METI further intends to accelerate deliberations with the aim of optimizing the cross-industrial distribution system in the future.
* The Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) is a program established by the Cabinet Office with the aim of achieving science and technology innovation under the initiative of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, which will play a central role in the management by fulfilling its function as the command and control tower beyond the frameworks of the respective ministries and conventional fields. The Program has been implemented under 12 themes, and this demonstration experiment is to be conducted as part of research and development concerning "Smart Distribution Services," one of those 12 themes.
The theme of "Smart Distribution Services" aims to build optimal production and distribution systems by utilizing the entirety of data handled at each stage of production, distribution, sale, and consumption, and to achieve social implementation of such systems for the purpose of drastically enhancing the productivity of supply chains as a whole and gaining international competitiveness.
Division in Charge
Logistics Policy Planning Office, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group