Establishing a mobile integration platform
Achieving enhanced communication and improved work efficiency
The Kao Group is Japan’s leading supplier of cleaning products and toiletries, and boasts the second largest share of the cosmetics market. In order to further improve their service, the group planned to create a smartphone-based mobile integration platform.
Transitioning from feature phones to smartphones with mobile platform
Kao Corporation provides the world with products essential for everyday life including detergents for home and business use, toiletry products, cosmetics, and food products. Kao is Japan’s leading supplier of detergents and toiletries, and boasts the second largest share of cosmetics.
Kao Group employs approximately 7,400 field agents whose tasks include sales, beauty counseling and product displays at department stores, mass retailers, and drug stores.
The various tasks of these field agents were previously complemented by a support system centered around feature phones. However, this system encountered a number of problems including the termination of the ASP service, and poor serviceability.
Kao determined to implement the use of smartphones which would solve these problems and remain effective in the future, and they also elected to establish an independent integration platform.
Masayuki Abe, Executive Officer, Information Systems, supervises the Kao Group’s information systems: “There were two chief reasons why we chose to implement this new system. First, we wanted to enhance and facilitate communications with our field agents- regarding new campaign content, for example. We believe in the importance of feeding back workplace opinions into the development cycle of our products and services. Second, we wanted to optimize attendance management, such as working shifts and work leave.”
Consequently, Kao established a mobile integration platform based on the SAP® Mobile Platform, and distributed smartphones to approximately 2,300 of its approximately 7,400 field agents, who provide all manner of customer services at drug stores. The company chose ABeam Consulting as their partner to provide comprehensive support from implementation to operation.
Mobile Utilization and Achievements
- Enhanced field work mobility
- Business integration and standardization
- Establishment of communications platform
- Improvements and enhancements to the quality of the sharing information system
- Improvements and cost reductions for business planning, activity reports, and attendance management
- Upgrades to an aging mobile phone-based system, and system integration
ABeam offered future-focused and easy to understand proposals
Hideaki Kiyohara, of the Commercial Excellence Group at the Business System Department within Kao’s Information System Division, recalled: “ABeam were passionate and easy to understand-these are the main reasons we chose them. This was the first time that Kao had undertaken such a project, and there were many things we didn’t understand. However, ABeam took the time to explain everything in detail. This created a relationship of trust.”
In particular, ABeam clearly explained the advantages of switching from the previously used feature phones to smartphones.
ABeam’s proposal consisted of three parts:
Implement a future-focused integration platform.
Implement measures to improve the level of service in the field.
Implement measures to optimize business, systems, and operation.
However, it is important to note that the project was not implemented in isolation.
The starting point, of course, was for the platform to be utilized by field agents; yet various, future-focused measures were to be successively developed. The fact that ABeam’s proposals took into account these future costs also earned high praise.
The scope of ABeam Consulting’s operations
- Company name:
1-14-10, Nihonbashi Kayabacho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8210
<Beauty Care> cosmetic products, skin care products, and hair care products
<Human Health Care> food and beverage products, sanitary products, and personal health products
<Fabric and Home Care> fabric care products, and home care products
<Chemicals> oleo chemicals products, performance chemicals products, and specialty chemicals products
85.4 billion yen (as of December 31, 2014)
- Consolidated Sales:
1.4017 trillion yen (year ending December 2014)
Establishment of a smartphone-based field work support system
SAP® Sybase Unwired Platform 2.2 ／ SAP® Afaria 7.0