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Voice of Users
Self Order System and Local-grown Fish Transaction Entry System
Customer : Morimatsu Suisan Reito Co., Ltd.
We produce what we can feed our own children”: with EUHACCP certification, the company conforms with the world’s most stringent safety standards
IT Direct Sales Section Head Mr. Masaru Nishida
“Because, rather than Microsoft Windows CE, we were able to use proper Windows as the OS, the system development period was a lot shorter.”
Onsite Business: National Sales Team Member Mr. Kenichi Kito
“Rather than having to fill out sales slips by hand, transcribe, input and total it all up, now everything is taken care of during onsite data entry. I wonder why this system wasn’t introduced earlier.”
Besides supplying the local market around Imabari, Morimatsu Suisan Reito sends the rich bounty of the Seto Inland Sea out to the rest of Japan and beyond to the world.
To cope with demand, which has been rising in recent years, as well as introducing state-of-the-art equipment for processing fresh fish into fillets (three-fillet pack), the company developed its own computer-controlled system to handle everything from receiving orders to processing and shipping. The system is capable of dealing with many types of product.
The company was also determined to ensure that the factory would be able to make safe products: “Slogan: We produce what we can feed our own children” In 2000 it acquired HACCP* certification and in 2003 ISO9001:2000 certification. Totally committed to food safety, in 2004, Morimatsu Suisan Reito was certified as conforming with EUHACCP**, held to be the most stringent international food safety standard, spread from Europe through sales channels and accepted all over the world.
At the same time, the company keeps its pulse on consumer trends through related companies. One, which runs a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant is directly involved with consumers. Another sells products over the Internet.
* HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point techniques involve analyzing the entire factory to identify potential food safety hazards. To maintain safety through prevention, hygiene control is carried out by establishing and monitoring critical control points.
** EUHACCP: These European hygiene control standards are said to be the world’s most stringent of all the HACCP standards.
Just two weeks after receiving the CF-H1, the system was up and running
Inside the Sushi Suigun, sushi restaurant: customers see the sushi as it goes around on the conveyor, and help themselves by taking the plate bearing the sushi they want.
It’s fun to order by touching colorful images of sushi on the touch screen: the system is also popular with children.
Morimatsu Suisan Reito took an unusual path to system development. It created a section devoted to systems and developed its systems entirely in house. One of these systems was the self-order system implemented at affiliated sushi restaurant Sushi Suigun.
In the old business model for sushi restaurant, when an order was received from a customer, an experienced sushi chef would prepare the items. While this enabled diners to enjoy freshly made sushi, the sushi was expensive and the seating in the restaurants was limited. Such a restaurant could not be said to be aimed at the mass market.
But then the conveyor belt sushi concept emerged. Here the sushi is prepared in advance, put on a plate, and circulated in front of customers. Diners see the sushi as it goes around on the conveyor, and help themselves by taking the plate bearing the sushi they want. Using this method, fewer staff can provide a large amount of sushi, and so it is possible to reduce the prices. It was also possible to increase the number of seats and make it easy for families to come in. In the mass market in Japan, conveyor belt sushi restaurants have become popular.
Once the sushi is made and put on a plate, however, the freshness starts to decline and it loses the delicate flavor of made-to-order sushi. Addressing this problem, even while using a sushi conveyor-belt to deliver the items, rather than making the sushi in advance and leaving it on plates, Sushi Suigun has striven to provide customers with fresh, delicious sushi by sending orders to the chefs, who then make the requested items. When the hall staff has to deal with orders from 100 seats, however, it takes time to get the orders to the chefs and, inevitably, mistakes are sometimes made in transmitting the order from the table to the kitchen.
To overcome this difficulty, Sushi Suigun went about developing a system to make it possible for customers to order directly without going through the hall staff. The company tried out a number of terminals made especially for restaurants, but these terminals either ran on dedicated operating systems or on Microsoft Windows CE, and it was not possible to find anything suited to the conditions at the restaurant. Then, one day, on a news site, IT Direct Sales Section Head Mr. Masaru Nishida spotted a notice saying that the CF-H1 was going on sale:
“Drop tested from 90 cm, splash- proof, and fitted with a large touch panel, it looked usable. And then there was the appealing styling. It seemed to me that the CF-H1 would not look out of place on the tables in the restaurant. I suggested that we try it out.” (Mr. Nishida)
According to Mr. Nishida, the company was able to have the barebones self-order system in place only two weeks from the decision to introduce the CF-H1: "The system we had developed in a normal Windows environment could be directly transferred, as is, to the CF-H1. What a pleasant surprise that was! In this instance, it was only possible because the CF-H1 was installed with normal Windows." (Mr. Nishida)
This implementation of IT in a conveyor belt sushi restaurant enabled a few sushi chefs to accurately deal with many orders and to do so efficiently. So, it became possible to offer delicious sushi at inexpensive prices.
At the same time, it was decided to introduce a new system at the fish market in Imabari Port and to use the CF-H1 as the terminal.
Mr. Nishida was impressed: “That’s how easy it was to promptly move on to the next plan and carry it out straightaway. This speedy agility and quick responsiveness to change has given the company a competitive edge.”
Arranged on tables in conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, they are used as self order terminals
On hand at the table in the room seat, the CF-H1 enables direct ordering by customers.
Ms. Emi Murakami, Hall Attendant at Sushi Suigun Imabari Restaurant.
Rather than the ordinary tables, more customers prefer the tables where they can go direct with the CF-H1.
The Sushi Suigun self-order system was up and running in August 2009. Each of three chain restaurants in the prefecture had five to seven CF-H1 PCs available at tables in the room seat as customer-order terminals.
Different categories – daily recommendations, seasonal set meals, sushi, and sushi rolls – are displayed on the touch panel. The customer selects the category of interest and a screen displays the submenu. All the customer has to do is touch the desired item and indicate how many are desired. Sushi orders are sent to the sushi chefs, orders involving deep frying or for soup are sent to a different kitchen, and the hall takes care of drinks and desserts. At each order destination, a printer issues an order slip. The system is also set up so that the menu automatically adjusts to the season, the time of day, and to what is available from the fish market.
At the head office Imabari restaurant, before the system was introduced, when the restaurant might be bustling with orders from 100 customers, it was not unusual to hear complaints during peak times: “I’ve been waiting a long time, my order hasn’t come yet.” “I didn’t order this.”
Hall Attendant at Sushi Suigun Imabari Restaurant Ms. Emi Murakami says, “Since the self-order system was introduced, those kinds of complaints have been few and far between.”
The touch panel is easy to operate: Children love it!
Ms. Murakami adds, “No-one even asked to be shown how to operate it. This threw me at first. It was strange not to hear customers saying what they wanted. Sometimes I felt a bit lonely. But now I know how to make proper contact with the customers when the orders are delivered.”
The CF-H1 is tough and splash proof. It is ideal for use as a terminal for customers to place orders at the table. Moreover, because the case is made from corrosion-resistant resin, the CF-H1 can be wiped with alcohol, hypochlorite, and other disinfecting agents. At Sushi Suigun, to ensure proper hygiene, every time the customers change, the body of CF-H1 is religiously given a disinfecting wipe.
At stalls in the fish market, direct input of the sales price
Fish boxes are weighed at the scales and the product name, amount, and sales unit price are entered in the CF-H1. Even the older market staff say, “These days, we couldn’t work any other way.”
The CF-H1 has a wireless LAN connection to printers. Price stickers are immediately printed by a nearby label printer and applied to the fish boxes.
Meanwhile, during the same time frame, the company started operating its Local-grown fish Transaction Entry System at the fish market.
From the stacks of fish boxes brought by the fishing crews, each box is weighed at the scales and the product name, amount, and sales unit price are entered in the CF-H1. A price sticker is immediately printed on a nearby label printer and applied to the fish box. Then, the box is moved to a stuck in the store.
National Sales Team Member Mr. Kenichi Kito, who handles onsite business, explains: “When we buy the local-grown fish, the business is based on trust. The price is not decided at the time when the fish is landed from the boats. During sales processing, the items are totaled and then the invoice price is calculated.” In other words, data entry at this point is also used as the basis for working out the invoice price.
Mr. Kito added: “Before, we had to write everything on transaction slips. These were taken to the office and then someone else was responsible for doing the computer input. Since we got the CF-H1, all that is done onsite. There are no data transfer mistakes. Entering the data directly allows me, there and then, to get an immediate grasp of the situation in the market.”
Initially, saying things like “It’s better to write it,” some of the older ladies working at the fish market seemed stubbornly resistant but, as Nishida says, “About a week later, once they got properly used to the system, we heard things like, ‘This is great! In no time, you slap the price sticker on the box, and there’s nothing to do later.’ They went through a complete about face.”
From both locations, via wireless LAN access points set up in the premises, data entered in the CF-H1 is sent to the VPN (virtual private network) set up on the servers at the head office.
In the next phase, CF-H1 to also be introduced in factory, cold store, and direct-delivery sales section
The introduction of the CF-H1 also prompted an overhaul of the company’s servers. A system was put in place to guarantee the integrity of the bedrock of vital business data. Now the company is considering also using the CF-H1 on the processing lines to manage cold store, inventory, and the direct delivery sales section.
Nishida explains: “In the direct delivery sales section, lots of details require separate attention, including things like gift wrapping paper and message cards. Systematizing these things is sure to be effective. When things are packed for dispatch, there is a lot of water around, so it’s great to be able to use a PC like the CF-H1, which can stand getting splashed.”
The CF-H1 was originally designed for use in hospitals and clinics. Among the thoroughly considered design features were splash-proof, impact resistance, and operation by touch panel. Panasonic even made sure that the TOUGHBOOK CF-H1 had elegant styling. In fields unrelated to healthcare, users have also found that the CF-H1 admirably meets their needs. It is helping to streamline all kinds of business.
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Specifications subject to change without notice.
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