The decisive factor for introducing AIscanrobo
“Speedy response and cost performance”
Nestle Japan Co., Ltd.Nestlé Japan KK Executive Officer Financial Management Division
Director of Information Technology
Toshio Koyasu Nestlé Japan Limited Financial Management Division
Business Application Support Manager
Nestlé is the world's largest food and beverage company with operations in 187 countries.Under the concept of "enhancing the quality of life and contributing to the creation of a healthy future,‟we deliver safe and delicious products that are pleasant to the mind and body, easy to use, and environmentally friendly products and services to the world. We considered the introduction NetSmile's AIScanRobo® (OCR digital scanner with artificial intelligence) to improve the efficiency of fax order slip processing. We asked Mr. Toshio Koyasu, Executive Officer, Information Technology Manager, Financial Management Division, Nestlé Japan Co., Ltd., and Mr. Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Information Technology Business Application Support Manager, Financial Management Division, about the deciding factor of the introduction, the effect after the introduction, and future development”.
- Tell us about your business.
Mr. Koyasu“Nestlé Japan was founded in 1913 with headquarters in Switzerland. S.A. is an abbreviation for Societe Anonym, which means corporation in French. We have developed brands such as Nescafe and KitKat. In recent years, we are actively creating innovations that utilize IT, such as EC. Typical services include Nescafe Ambassador, Nestlé Wellness Ambassador, and a specialty store KitKat Chocolatory. We are working to create new demand not only by manufacturing products, but also by providing these services”.
- Tell us how you decided to introduce AIScanRobo®.
Mr. Yamaguchi“The improvement of inputting the customer's fax purchase order into our core system has been an issue for some time. In March 2019, we began using traditional OCR and introduced a Nestlé standard tool that links the order data to the core system. However, the traditional OCR had problems such as not being able to extract data in Japanese and unable to comply with complex document formats. So, I searched for a better alternative and arrived at NetSmile’s AIScanRobo®”.
- What was the problem with the Nestlé traditional OCR system?
Mr. Yamaguchi“First of all, the accuracy of reading Japanese and kanji was not sufficient. Then, extracting data from difficult Japanese document formats was also unsatisfactory.
For example, in one purchase order, the shipping address may be the same, but depending on the product, the shipping address may be different. This exception is resolved by executing the script developed in-house before linking to the core system.”
- How did you find out about NetSmile services?
Mr. Yamaguchi“I searched for other OCR services, when I contacted Netsmile, the person at NetSmile was very responsive (laughs). We asked about the service contents from there, compared with other companies, and finally decided on NetSmile”.
- What features of NetSmile's service was the deciding factor for implementation?
Mr. Yamaguchi“I felt that it was compatible with our business model, orders and billing. The services of other companies had strong characteristics such as strong handwriting reading but, what we were looking for was sufficient if the reading of the ordered quantity was accurate for handwriting. When you look at the initial costs and running costs, you can get satisfying results at a reasonable price. I thought it was Net Smile considering cost effectiveness. In addition to answering the inquiries I mentioned earlier, I asked for a free reading test for preliminary evaluation, and I got speedy results”.
- Exactly how much did AIScanRobo® solve your problems?
Mr. Yamaguchi“Since there is no need for manual input, the processing time has been halved. My expectations were exceeded as there was no need for staff to handle it, instead everything is handled by the system. Also, there is no human judgment, so less errors during data input and the accuracy of input was improved. Currently, it is being used in three departments and so far it has been successful. I plan to expand AIScanRobo® into other departments”.
- Is AIScanRobo® being used mainly at Yamaguchi-san’s department?
Mr. Yamaguchi“We checked the processing speed and accuracy with the people who actually used it on site. I myself am an IT person, can intuitively understand how to use these tools. But, not all staff are used to using OCR tools. No matter how great a tool is, it doesn't make sense unless it's used in the field. AIScanRobo® provides a manual, so people can use it and Net Smile’s customer support assists with any questions or problems in a timely manner. We have devised it so that it can be used to obtain the maximum effect”.
- Have you been successful at creating an efficient workplace environment?
Mr. Yamaguchi“I am using it at an ordering center in Manila, Philippines. First of all, we carried out daily work training, reading the purchase order and linking the order data to the core system, and asked them to start using it. Now, they can even create their own templates, so I find it easy to use and confident that the workplace is more efficient because of AIScanRobo®”.
- Was the process to implement AIScanRobo® smooth?
Mr. Yamaguchi“Yes, that's right, I didn't have any particular difficulties in introducing AIScanRobo® itself. However, despite the standard tools mentioned above, it was difficult to introduce AIScanRobo® in Japan because it was necessary to explain it to the relevant parties”.
- So, what are your thoughts about using AIScanRobo®" this time?What’s the impression of the department that provided the tool, instead of the department that actually uses the tool?
Mr. Yamaguchi“Regarding AIScanRobo® itself, I think this service is wonderful at it’s price. With this introduction, I discovered one thing myself. In principle, the Nestlé Group uses standard tools. Like this time, we will introduce tools other than the standard and connect them to the utilization. This was a breakthrough for me and was an experience that I could use in my subsequent work. Nestlé Japan holds an in-house contest called the Innovation Award every year. All employees think about who their customers are, what their customers are having problems with, and share ideas to solve them. This time, I am glad that AIScanRobo® has solved the problems that my customers and users had”.