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Fujitsu

 

Global

 

Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd.

Enhancing efficiency and sharing information quickly with a hybrid tablet that can be operated casually through its touchscreen at stores and with a keyboard at the office

Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd. needed to enhance the efficiency of its supervisors (SVs), who are responsible for giving guidance to stores, in the face of increasingly diverse store formats. Accordingly, Circle K Sunkus renovated the company-wide information utilization platform and replaced the devices always carried by SVs with hybrid tablets that enable touchscreen operation at stores and keyboard operation at the office. Introduction of such hybrid tablets has enabled efficient operation and quick information sharing.

Overview of This Case Study

Business: Retail
Hardware: STYLISTIC Q702/F, a hybrid tablet for corporate users
Software: Windows® 7 Professional
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-3427U(1.80 GHz)

challenge

  • Need to introduce optimal devices to enhance efficiency of SVs, who work out of the office four days a week and in the office one day a week
  • Need an environment in which Excel, Access, and other Office products that are frequently used in business can be used without hassle
  • Need to develop infrastructure that enables sharing of store photos and smooth teleconferencing

benefit

  • Circle K Sunkus chose Fujitsu's hybrid tablet with a detachable keyboard, which allows for two types of use.
  • Since Fujitsu's hybrid tablet runs Windows 7 as the OS, SVs can use Office products just as they did before.
  • Fujitsu's tablet has a built-in camera and microphone to support information sharing and teleconferencing on Circle K Sunkus's new information utilization platform.

Background

Renovating the information utilization platform and simultaneously replacing PCs to improve SV efficiency

Today, Japan has more than 50,000 convenience stores in fierce competition. Among these, Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd. has been pursuing "meeting the needs of geographically small markets,"
through which the company seeks to develop store formats that are profitable even in geographically small markets. To achieve its vision,
"Bring the Highest Satisfaction," Circle K Sunkus has been developing three store formats in addition to the standard type according to the location as follows: the mini-supermarket, enhanced fast food, and special mini types.
Smoothly managing increasingly complex stores requires provision of detailed guidance to such stores. To this end, the company needed to improve the efficiency of SVs, who are responsible for giving guidance to stores. First, Circle K Sunkus renovated the company-wide information utilization platform, addressing everything from applications and databases through to the network. Then, by reviewing the devices used by SVs in their everyday activities, the company aimedto improve productivity. Masahiro Oizumi, Head of the Headquarters System Development Department in the Information Systems Division, explained: "Under the slogan of making field staff the mostefficient in the company, we set specifi c goals of reducing the lengths of meetings attended by SVs by 13% and cutting the overall amount of reports by 30%, and we then began building infrastructure to make that happen."

People at the Headquarters System Development Department in the Information Systems Division at Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd. who promoted the introduction project

People at the Headquarters System Development Department in the Information Systems Division at Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd. who promoted the introduction project
(From the left) Atsuhiro Iwasaki, Norihide Horiguchi, Masato Takagi, Masahiro Oizumi

Introduction details

Circle K Sunkus chose Windows devices to use Office products, which are important business applications

The company's initial choice of device to enhance SVs' efficiency upon renovation of the information utilization platform was actually a smartphone. However, since paperwork such as report preparation cannot be completed solely with a smartphone, in the end notebook PCs would be required. In addition, in this case the company's conventional mobile phones would first need to be replaced with smartphones, but the company determined this would be fi nancially infeasible after considering the cost of smartphones and increased communication charges. Next, the company considered using iOS or Android tablets. However, these tablets have compatibility issues with Excel, Access, Word, and other Office products used at the company which were expected to affect the company's operations, so it abandoned the plan. Thus, the company concluded there would be problems unless it used Windows, which left Windows-based slate tablets as candidates.
The company's first choice was Fujitsu's slate tablet, which it selected in recognition of the device's excellent touchscreen operability,
handwriting recognition accuracy, cost performance, and other factors. Then, after Fujitsu informed the company that Fujitsu will release STYLISTIC Q702/F, a hybrid tablet with a detachable keyboard, Circle K Sunkus quickly decided to adopt the new model.
Atsuhiro Iwasaki, General Manager of Management Systems in the Headquarters System Development Department of the Information Systems Division, who served as project manager for this project,
shared words of thanks for Fujitsu: "We appreciate Fujitsu's strength in making proposals. Fujitsu perceived what we needed and made the device available to us immediately after release. Though we had been comparing and studying multiple slate tablet products, Fujitsu's tablet was the only type that enabled the keyboard to be removed."

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Illustration of Circle K Sunkus's information utilization platform

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Photo 1: At a store, an SV uses the device as a tablet. The device is used for many purposes, including checklist evaluations of store status and immediate information sharing among relevant personnel by taking photos of shelves.

Key points

A tablet that can be used casually in stores and also as a regular PC at the office is most suitable for SVs'work

The primary reason why the company chose the STYLISTIC Q702/F is that the device simply fi ts SVs' work style, which generally consists of visiting stores four days a week and reporting to the office only one day a week to attend meetings and do paperwork. Thus, the model earned high accolades because it can be carried around casually like a tablet when SVs are out of the office and can be used as a notebook PC in the office to efficiently perform paperwork.
Circle K Sunkus decided to introduce Fujitsu's hybrid tablet upon its announcement in July 2012; company-wide deployment was completed in December of the same year. Users include those responsible for product development, store development, and other business who frequently work outside the office; SVs are the main users. So far, the company has distributed 1,650 devices to such users. Morihide Horiguchi, Manager of Management Systems in the Headquarters System Development Department of the Information Systems Division explained the deployment as follows: "We encountered diffi culties in implementation verifi cation because the actual devices only became available in October while their deployment was already scheduled for December. In the beginning, we carried out verifi cation using other Fujitsu Windows 7-based PCs. The actual devices arrived just in time, and we appreciate Fujitsu for the full support they provided while quickly responding to our various requests."
The April 2014 end of support for Windows XP, which had been used on the company's previous PCs, forced the company to upgrade to a new OS and also encouraged it to introduce the hybrid tablet. The company continues to use business applications that run only on Windows XP through virtualization technology.

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Photo 2: Upon returning to the office, an SV attaches the device to the keyboard docking station and can immediately start using it as a notebook PC.

Benefits and future prospects

Circle K Sunkus has increased efficiency by renovating its information utilization platform and PCs with the aim of further information utilization.

Although the full benefi ts of using the hybrid tablet have yet to be realized, it has already improved efficiency in some operations. For example, store evaluations that were previously carried out on paper are now performed on device screens; data is sent directly from each store via the STYLISTIC Q702/F touchscreen.
Masato Takagi, Manager of Management Systems in the Headquarters System Development Department of the Information Systems Division, summarized the opinions of SVs as follows: "We have received favorable reviews that the hybrid tablet is easy to carry around and starts faster than the previous model."
In addition, the company replaced its conventional PHS wireless network with Fujitsu's FENICS II Universal Connect, which allows use of both 3G and WiMAX and improves wireless reception as well as communication speeds, enabling faster communication.
In addition, since SVs often take photos of stores, they appreciate the tablet's camera and microphone with an eye toward teleconferencing in the future.
"Previously, we went through a lot of trouble to snap pictures with a digital camera, load the data onto a PC with a memory card, and then send it over the PHS network. It's great that Fujitsu's tablet allows us to do all of this without any stress," commented Mr. Takagi.
In July 2013, the company introduced Microsoft Lync, which enables real-time communication, and upgraded the OS of STYLISTIC Q702/F to Windows 8. With the aim of further increasing the efficiency of information sharing and enhancing mobility, the company also introduced a discussion bulletin board that enables users to upload photos and other data on the spot as well as share and discuss them with concerned parties in addition to teleconferencing.
Mr. Iwasaki concluding by expressing the following hope: "We will further improve operational efficiency by leveraging the features of STYLISTIC Q702/F and Windows 8; we ask Fujitsu to further support us in these efforts."

Product introduced in this case study

Hybrid tablet for corporate users STYLISTIC Q702/F

STYLISTIC Q702/F photo This hybrid tablet with a detachable keyboard allows for two types of use in accordance with one's purpose. STYLISTIC Q702/F can be used as a notebook PC when used with the keyboard docking station, or as a tablet when using the touchscreen alone. Users can switch between both uses to make the most of the advantages of each style; the device supports users' businesses by facilitating mobility and efficiency. The product includes a third-generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor for high-speed processing. The Q702/F's touchscreen is easy to use, allowing for comfortable, intuitive operation with one's fi ngertips or a dedicated pen. Windows 8, which increases the comfort of tablet operations, is supported. The tablet can be taken on the road with a sense of security thanks to its multiple security features to prevent unauthorized use, including a fi ngerprint sensor (as standard) and SSD with encryption function (custom option).

Overview of Circle K Sunkus Co., Ltd.

Circle K Sunkus serves as the headquarters of the Circle K and Sunkus convenience store chains in 36 prefectures in Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Under its corporate vision, "Bring the Highest Satisfaction," the company is committed to developing stores that bring the highest satisfaction to each customer in the community to meet the diverse needs of customers in geographically small markets.

Headquarters Harumi Center Building, 2-5-24 Harumi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Established July 2, 2001