July 17, 2018
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten launches new initiatives to realize vision for “One Delivery” end-to-end logistics service

Tokyo, July 17, 2018 - Rakuten, Inc. today announced a number of new initiatives that will contribute to further progress toward realizing its vision for a “One Delivery” end-to-end logistics service.

1. Introducing vision for “One Delivery” end-to-end logistics service
With the rapid expansion of internet access, e-commerce has become an essential part of the social infrastructure. Along with the growth in volume of deliveries, however, issues faced by the domestic logistics industry, such as the increasing number of redeliveries and staff shortages, are also becoming broader issues for society at large. The introduction of restrictions on the total amount of deliveries and increasing delivery fees are also making it more difficult for online stores to ensure stable operations and provide their customers with high-quality delivery services.

In order to address domestic logistics issues and contribute to more stable online store operations and the enhancement of customer satisfaction, Rakuten’s “One Delivery” vision aims to further accelerate the expansion of its comprehensive logistics service for merchants on the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace, from storage to delivery, and ensure a smooth process for the customer, from placing an order on the online marketplace through to receiving the product.

 The Rakuten Super Logistics distribution service, which offers comprehensive services from product storage through to shipment, aims to expand its network of fulfilment centers to offer services to customers nationwide. Rakuten also aims to reduce the time required for deliveries, at the same time as reducing warehouse and shipping costs. This will be achieved by increasing efficiency in the operation of fulfilment centers through measures such as increased automation, reduction of labor requirements and inventory optimization by using order forecasting created with the use of Rakuten purchasing data and AI technology.

 Rakuten EXPRESS, Rakuten’s self-operated door-to-door delivery service, aims to expand its coverage area to all major cities of Japan.

 At the same time, updates to the UI/UX for Rakuten Ichiba marketplace users will aim to improve the convenience of deliveries for customers by allowing more options with respect to delivery location, timing and speed, as well as bundling of multiple orders.

 In addition to improving Rakuten’s own logistics services, Rakuten will also collaborate with external partners to build a comprehensive logistics network that will allow centralized management of shipping related to Rakuten Ichiba. By building a new and more convenient logistics network, Rakuten will aim to fulfil the diverse needs of both online stores and customers.

2. Rakuten Super Logistics to open new fulfilment centers
The Rakuten Super Logistics distribution service, which offers comprehensive services from product storage through to shipment, will aim to expand its network of fulfilment centers over time to offer services to customers nationwide.

 Rakuten aims to both increase the capacity of its existing fulfilment centers in Ichikawa, Chiba and Kawanishi, Hyogo, and to build new centers. Rakuten is planning to sign an agreement with Japan GLP to lease the entire floor of its large logistics facility GLP Nagareyama II and part of the space at GLP Hirakata III.

 In its new fulfilment centers, Rakuten will apply the warehouse operational know-how it has developed over time, as well as installing the cutting-edge Materials Handling System*1 and implementing more efficient operations with reduced labor levels. In addition to managing inventory from Rakuten Ichiba marketplace stores, first-party inventory from Rakuten direct sales services*2 will also be managed under this system.

*1 Automated warehouse and sorter
*2 Rakuten BRAND AVENUE, Rakuten Direct, Rakuten Books

 New facility in Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture
The new facility in Nagareyama has a floor area of around 96,000 square meters and is expected to start operations by the end of 2018. It will cover the greater Tokyo region from its location around 1 km from the Joban Expressway (Nagareyama Interchange) and is directly connected to the capital by the Tokyo Gaikan Expressway and the Shuto Expressway, around 6 km off National Highway 16. The facility is a very rare example of an earthquake-proof warehouse in the inland Chiba region and is thoroughly eco-friendly, featuring LED lighting throughout, solar panels, rooftop greening and open space for public use. Moreover, the hub is in Nagareyama, the city with the fastest population growth in the Chiba Prefecture and is attracting attention as a jobs generator for the area. It is surrounded by worker-friendly facilities, with the neighbouring GLP Nagareyama I equipped with convenience stores, childcare centers and café terraces.

Name: Rakuten Fulfillment Center Nagareyama (tentative)
Property: GLP Nagareyama II
Address: 261 Minami Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture
Operations launch: by end of 2018 (planned)
Leased area: approx. 80,000 square meters
Floors: 4 above ground (office space on 5F)

New facility in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture
The new facility in Hirakata is located at the nexus of transport links between Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its proximity to National Highway 1, Rakuten is aiming to put the fulfilment center into service in 2019 as an inland logistics hub as a gateway to the Kyoto/Osaka region. The facility features sandwich panels that provide superior heat insulation, maintaining a pleasant environment in the center, with cool temperatures in summer and warm temperatures in winter. It also has back-up electricity generators and a bore water supply, for additional security in the case of water or power outages. The facility will also provide a pleasant working environment for staff and drivers with rental meeting rooms, shops, cafeteria on the site.

Name: Rakuten Fulfillment Center Hirakata (tentative)
Property: GLP Hirakata III
Address: 1 Nagaotanimachi, Hirakata, Osaka Pref.
Operations launch: 2019 (planned)
Total floor space: 119,000 square meters
Leased area: approx. 75,000 square meters
Floors: Five above ground

3. Rakuten EXPRESS
Rakuten EXPRESS is delivery service operated by Rakuten. It debuted in November 2016 with trial delivery of goods for Rakuten Books in eight wards of Tokyo. It has now expanded its service to Rakuten Direct goods, an online shopping service for daily goods sold on Rakuten Ichiba, and delivers to all 23 wards of Tokyo.

Rakuten is progressively expanding the coverage area of Rakuten EXPRESS. It plans to start delivery services to the major cities of Kansai by the end of the year. In June, it launched the “Oki-hai” delivery, allowing customers to designate a location for the delivered goods to be left on their property in the event they are absent, for example, “near the doorway” or “near the gas meter.” The company also aims to further improve customer convenience by updating the Rakuten Ichiba UI/UX and adding a delivery notification function to the Rakuten Ichiba app, among other innovations.

4. Other logistical function upgrades
In addition to the expansion of Rakuten Super Logistics and Rakuten EXPRESS, a range of logistical functions will be upgraded in collaboration with external companies, such as a consolidated delivery service for merchants and main trunk shipping between fulfilment centers. Through these measures, Rakuten is striving to restore the sustainability of e-commerce logistics, together with delivery companies and partner firms. Specifically, it will promote work-sharing with the delivery companies and operate large-scale logistics hubs, concentrating shipment volumes and sorting by destination. It is also contributing to raising the productivity of external companies and improving shipment volumes by promoting initiatives to reduce the incidence of re-delivery to absent customers such as delivery status notifications and the Oki-hai service option.  

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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