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Up to now, the process of getting products from the producer to the consumer involved wholesalers as an essential intermediary. However, the transportation costs associated with the use of a wholesaler have become significant.




In order to overcome this issue, the industry recognizes the need to improve efficiency within the wholesale system. However, this process is tightly entangled with Japanese business customs, so the market has still been unable to really achieve reform of the logistics system. Now, full application of IT tools is finally strengthening the capabilities of wholesale logistics.

For example, the grocery distribution giant Kokubu, which handles food and alcohol, has proactively updated its IT tools like online ordering. As a result, Kokubu successfully built a high-power logistics system at its wholesale warehouses, and achieved an increase in sales. On the other hand, results have also shown an increase of losers in this business battle. Small-to-mid size wholesalers who were slower to adopt logistics reform have been going out of business one after another. There have also been many cases of mergers and acquisition by groups of major wholesalers.



Wholesale business models have shifted from manufacturer-based to mostly consumer-based, so wholesalers must work with a focus on communal access to product information data services across the industry, as well as joint logistics with manufacturers while continuing to cooperate with both makers and retailers.

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