FamilyMart Co., Ltd.

Striving to strengthen corporate power and reform working style through the utilization of smart devices

Well known from their television commercial, FamilyMart was established in 1981 as a convenience store from Japan.

Currently, it has secured its position as one of the three largest convenience store chains in Japan, and the number of stores within the country surpassed 10,000 in October 2013. From 1988, ahead of its competition, FamilyMart started to expand their business to Taiwan, Thailand, China, the Unites States, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Additionally, they have been investing in IT as part of their growth strategy. They fully utilize IT in product development, marketing, and even in enhancing efficiency in store operations, based on their analysis of customer purchase behavior.

Consideration of utilizing smart devices to enhance business efficiency

FamilyMart is promoting projects to increase corporate competitiveness through the utilization of PCs and smart devices. The approach which began from the reformation in groupware has gone through the hypothesis verification phase and has now come to the stage of preparing for the unfolding.

TWe asked Mr. Takamori, who was in charge of this project, how he came to approach system verification in this project.

It was about the beginning of 2012 when we started to reform our work style through smart devices. Smart phones were spreading rapidly and tablets such as the iPad had just begun to gain attention for usage in corporations. Our company had already been using access tools into internal systems from mobile phones, but we decided to try out and evaluate a new system in preparation for the transition to smart devices. We distributed iPads to executives and employees at our head office and had them evaluate if smart devices were of use in carrying out business. The result was that they were highly rated from the executives, which later lead to the company policy to 'create an environment to utilize smart devices and raise business efficiency without being limited by where you are'.'

Selection of a remote access tool suitable for smart devices taking BYOD into account

'Taking this company policy into consideration, we began examining systems. We repeated hypothesis verification, and investigated thoroughly while keeping in mind the balance between security and convenience. As a result, we decided to create an environment to raise efficiency using smart phones and tablets, taking into account not only devices lent from the company but also BYOD (Bring Your Own Device: using private devices for business).

To create this environment, in addition to investigating devices to be utilized, we thoroughly reviewed mobile access tools. While regarding security as important, at the same time we carefully selected a tool that had little operation burden and would not become an overlapping investment in future extensibility.

After comparing and examining tools and having conducted a three month trial, CACHATTO was our final decision. The results CACHATTO had on the four requirements were the reasons of our decision.'

'It is easy to import, it is safe, and has little operation burden all for a reasonable price (due to the licensing system of one user one license, even when using multiple devices). The current situation of CACHATTO usage still remains at 600 users with feature phones, nevertheless, it is absolutely stable and I anticipate that the unfolding in the entire company will also be conducted securely.'

Requirements Capabilities of CACHATTO
Cost Licensing system that allows one user to use multiple devices.
(Presuming the usage of multiple devices.)
BYOD compatibility High compatibility with different models and OSs.
((Model change will be easy.)
Security Doesnʼ t leave data on devices.
- No need to change firewall.
(Only outbound communication from the company)
Table 1: Selection requirements for a remote access tool and CACHATTOʼs evaluation
Gradually expand introduction to other functions

Alongside verifying systems, we have been organizing company regulations such as security policies, and rules on using the system. We are planning on fully introducing it in 2014. This is still at a conceptual stage within the Systems Department, but we plan on setting it forward based on the phases below.'

Mr Takamori continues, 'First we will start from departments that will most likely have the largest effect from the introduction. Expanding from our current usage in mail and attendance system, we plan on going into the phase to utilize it for business planning of FamilyMart and strengthening our corporate power.

Currently, laptops and mobile communication cards are supplied to supervisors.

'Some supervisors are hesitant to carry around their laptops because 'it is heavy, slow to start Documents including videos and photos will have great appeal to the store staff, and moreover, accessibility will rise.'

Phase 1: Raise Efficiency in Work

Create an environment where employees can easily check their schedule and mail with their spare time in between meetings and transportation, raising efficiency in working hours. (Assuming BYOD)

Phase 2: Utilization in Store Development

Use smart devices and applications such as maps and share information among all parties concerned in store development, where speed is essential. Using it for sending photos and location information from outside, for the initial evaluation of the land, and for presentations, will speed up the negotiation and will raise efficiency in store development.

Fortunately, CACHATTO now supports the function to attach photos from the camera roll of smart devices to mail. This function is expected to contribute in store development.

Phase 3: Improve Mobility of Supervisors

Supervisors go around stores that they are in charge of, and advise on how to raise daily sales and profit. On the front line, we will aim to raise the efficiency in the work of supervisors, utilizing smart devices in analyzing marketing data, sharing analytical data with store owners, and presenting measures to stimulate stores.

Concern in Usage of BYOD

'We will be carrying out phase 1 with BYOD in mind. Our biggest concern on this is whether there will be a lot of inquiries at the early stage. We are worried because of the many types of models, for they are personal devices. Then, by chance, we heard that our business partner Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. has had good results in using BYOD with CACHATTO.

'I visited the person in charge and talked about our concerns. They answered, 'Users are used to their personal devices so they can set it up themselves. There were no problems with the initial unfolding by 'a short period, no support'. The set up manual was only one page long, but there were hardly any inquiries among the 300 users that it was distributed.' I felt encouraged after hearing this.' Mr Takamori explains.

'When it comes to BYOD, there are going to be many types of OSs and models. I heard that at e-Jan Networks Co., they have a reliable structure to verify and support various models and new Oss quickly. We plan to start small in BYOD and gradually expand.'

FamilyMart continues to grow with strategic investment in IT, such as introducing the T-point service system and the customer purchase data analyzing system. Through the utilization of smart devices, they are sure to further improve their strength out on the field.

*Please note that the information presented in this case study is based on the interview with FamilyMart Co., Ltd. (interviewed in October 2013 partial revision made in January 2015), and the contents may differ from the time of viewing.

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