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Voice of Users

Sales Management System for Marine Product Traders

Customer : Market Trader Staff, Metropolitan Tokyo Central Wholesale Market Tsukiji

Even in the humid environment of a summer fish market, Toughbook proves itself. Everyone working in the wholesale market appreciates the easy-to-use touch screen.

Acting as a larder to the people of Tokyo, Tsukiji Market attracts fresh marine products and produce from Japan and overseas. From before sunrise, small trucks come and go along the wet streets amidst the vigorous voices of vendors. In this environment, about 100 Toughbook PCs are in daily use. Appreciating more than their superior ruggedness and splash-proof performance, at market pay desks, everyone who has used one for bookkeeping has wanted to tell others about how easy the touch screen is to use. And so, by word of mouth, the circle of Toughbook users has widened.

Toughbook plays a mighty role in Tsukiji, the go-to place for marine products

Customer name, product type, and other information are speedily selected on screen with the stylus.

Customer name, product type, and other information are speedily selected on screen with the stylus.

At 2,000 tons of seafood, traders in Tsukiji Market are proud to handle the largest volume of marine products in Japan. One of the hallmark scenes of the market is the spirited auction. This drama, in which wholesalers sell to brokers, starts every day from about five in the morning. Once bought, an auction lot is carried to the trader’s shop inside the market, divided into amounts that the trader’s customers want to buy, and laid out on the stall.
Housed at Tsukiji, from many rows of stalls, more than 800 vendors sell marine products. An unending stream of customers crowds the narrow aisle while small three-wheeled trucks travel about carrying the traders' stock.
In this boisterous setting, Tsukiji traders do essential bookkeeping on about 100 Toughbook PCs.

A system that’s easy to operate even for older pay desk staff

Mr. Toshihiro Nakahama, Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan Sales Manager

Mr. Toshihiro Nakahama, Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan Sales Manager. “The Toughbook has really simplified pay desk accounting work.”

Ms. Kyoko Aoyagi of Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan

Ms. Kyoko Aoyagi of Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan. “It has made me want to change our home computer to one with a touch screen. It’s just so easy to use.”

The traders at Tsukiji usually have what they call a pay desk, a small booth with a staff of two or three people. This is where the Toughbook is set up to process accounts for sales, stock management, and other business.
“At Tsukiji, most of the pay desks are run by older women, and you would think that a good number of them would be resistant to computers,” said Mr. Toshihiro Nakahama of Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan.
Before the new system was adopted, electronic calculators were used to total the amounts on handwritten transaction slips. As you can imagine, especially when you go beyond daily transactions to monthly and annual accounting, this involved an enormous amount of time and associated clerical costs.
“As a company, to improve efficiency, somehow we had to make the transition to IT for accounting. But it wouldn’t have been practical to introduce a system that was difficult to operate. That was the dilemma we faced (Mr. Nakahama).”
Around that time, a sales rep from a systems company recommended a sales management system, one that was optimized for marine products traders. A slogan in the pamphlet, ‘Transform your pay desk with touch screen notebook computer,’ seemed to resonate...
Ms. Kyoko Aoyagi, in charge of the Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan pay desk said, “I thought, ‘It’s worth a look,’ and went along with our chief accountant to see a demonstration of the system.”
She was impressed by what she saw: “Everything could be done by touching the screen. I just knew, ‘Even someone like me will soon be able to pick that up!’”

It’s unanimous. The touch screen is, all the traders say, “easy to use”

Ms. Toyoko Usui of Komegin Co. Ltd

Ms. Toyoko Usui of Komegin Co. Ltd. “We don’t have much room at the pay desk, so using the stylus on the screen is easier than using a mouse.”

Ms. Kimiko Hosokawa of Kikuichi Co. Ltd

Ms. Kimiko Hosokawa of Kikuichi Co. Ltd. “Since the system was introduced, we can total up more quickly. And in peak hours, we can smoothly service the customers.”

After the system was introduced and the time came to use the computer, her intuition changed to certainty:
“It is very easy to use. I’m so used to the touch screen that sometimes, without thinking, I touch the screen our home computer (Ms. Aoyagi).”
Before long, Ms. Aoyagi also had proof of how rugged the Toughbook actually is:
“Once, I accidentally knocked the Toughbook off the pay desk. Had I lost all the data” I was in a cold sweat. Heart in mouth, I opened the screen and tried the controls. It worked just as it did before. Nothing was wrong. That time, the real toughness of Toughbook saved the day.”
Used in the same way by other traders, the Toughbook is building a solid reputation.
“It feels like you are using a cash register, so it’s easy to deal with. Out at the stall, they take the orders, then the product and amount are relayed to us, ‘Tuna, one kilo!’ At the pay desk, just using the stylus for onscreen selection and the numerical keypad to enter figures, we can immediately work out the price. Even when the stall is packed with customers, the right screen comes up quickly and customers are never kept waiting. It also helps that we have never had a breakdown (Ms. Toyoko Usui of Komegin Co. Ltd.) ”
“This was the first time that I ever used a computer. Because it was so easy just to touch the screen with the stylus, I soon felt at home with the system. It’s great not having to use a mouse. It’s fun. And I’m really happy that we have done away with the accounting work we used to have to do with the paper sales slips (Ms. Kimiko Hosokawa of Kikuichi Co. Ltd.).”
In the cramped space of the pay desk, it is hard to find enough room to use a mouse. This is another great benefit of the touch screen. And, since the new system was introduced, job efficiency has greatly improved. For example, doing the monthly accounts, which used to take four or five days, can now be finished in about two days. This has delighted the pay desk staff, who all say how glad they are to no longer have to stay late to finish the work.

Far fewer complaints about breakdowns since switching to Toughbook

Mr. Kenji Mantani, Deputy Chief of First Sales Division, Riatec Inc.,

Mr. Kenji Mantani, Deputy Chief of First Sales Division, Riatec Inc., “More and more traders have bought into the system because people working in one trader’s shop have told people working in another, and so on.”

Mr. Akira Okada, Deputy Chief of Second Sales Division, Riatec Inc.,

Mr. Akira Okada, Deputy Chief of Second Sales Division, Riatec Inc., “When traders change to Toughbook, we get fewer reports of breakdown or other trouble.”

As mentioned before,Tsukiji, Riatec Inc. was the company that pressed ahead with introducing this Sales Management System for Marine Product Traders. From 2004, the company’s strategic business policy was to focus on the needs of Tsukiji Market. As the terminal for its original Sales Management System for Marine Product Traders, the company selected Toughbook.
Mr. Akira Okada, Deputy Chief of Riatec’s Second Sales Division, gave the reason: “It was the best model with the functionality and performance to match the situation in Tsukiji Market. We had complete confidence in the Toughbook.”
When customers adapted computers produced by other makers, frequent breakdowns occurred, but when they switched to Toughbook, the troubles went away and the system functioned as it should.
“In particular, the high humidity inside the fish market makes the summer a real challenge. I think that the Toughbook meets this challenge because of its splash-proof performance. And there is the added confidence of dust proofing and shock resistance. Then, on top of that, you get the convenience of a touch screen on a notebook computer. It really stands out from the products offered by other companies (Mr. Okada).”
Making the most of the touch screen, Riatec has gone out to make it as easy to use as possible, for example, by customizing the screens according to the situation found at each trader. The support system, with help on call late at night or early in the morning, has also been a big factor in attracting and maintaining the confidence of the market traders.
Mr. Kenji Mantani, Deputy Chief of Riatec’s First Sales Division feels that word of mouth is also a strong factor in a market like Tsukiji, with its dense web of personal relations.
“We appreciate that we have managed to install more systems because satisfied customers have told other traders about their experiences. At present, Tsukiji traders are running our system on about 100 units. As the virtues of the Toughbook get generally known, even more traders will get interested (Mr. Mantani).”

In the distribution sector, where IT tide is in full flow, Toughbook has a leading role to play

In the distribution sector, where IT tide is in full flow, Toughbook has a leading role to play

In the distribution sector, a move to generalize SCM (supply chain management) is proceeding. SCM is not limited to a single enterprise: taking advantage of IT, companies that deal with each other can now share order status and stock control information. This encourages the effort to make general upstream and downstream cost savings.
Tsukiji Market has not escaped this trend. Wholesalers and marine product traders are already operating a Web-based order control system. Retailers that sell to the public, traders are increasingly required to use data forms with common features. The forefront of this wave is the Toughbook theater of operations. Increasingly, you will see it in widespread use at distribution depots all over the country.

Customers (alphabetical order) 

Kikuichi Co. Ltd.
Komegin Co. Ltd.
Tsukiji Kanesan Suisan Co. Ltd.
Address 
5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Metropolitan Tokyo Central Wholesale Market homepage 

http://www.shijou.metro.tokyo.jp/english/
System supplier 

Riatec Inc.
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