Trading company Marubeni in collaboration with Kodansha, Shogakukan, and SHUEISHA announced on Thursday, March 24, 2022, that it had launched a joint venture company, “PubteX Co., Ltd.” (hereinafter, “PubteX”) on March 11, 2022, to develop a new, more efficient distribution method using AI technology.
PubteX will serve two purposes – Optimizing the volume of publications through AI and Utilizing RFID (radio frequency identifier) aiming to reform the supply chain of the Japanese publishing industry to become more sustainable by accelerating Digital Transformation.
In the previous distribution setup, the three companies would sell their books to a distributor, who would then resell them to stores throughout Japan, acting as a sort of middleman in the entire process.
With the new subsidiary, publishing companies will sell directly to stores and, using the A.I. system, will be able to control where the books are from binding to delivery via IC tags in the packaging. This system is intended to assist publishing companies in dealing with the increasing number of returns, as well as to stabilize profits.
PubteX will use the software “o9 Digital Brain Platform” from o9 Solutions Inc as the system infrastructure for this service. PubteX intends to launch this service in April of 2023.
More importantly, PubteX will establish and operate a system that allows participants to improve the efficiency of inventory management, individually manage inventory, and diversify the sales conditions of books and magazines by utilizing RFID and the data collected from RFID.
The system also includes a function to prevent shoplifting in bookstores. The RFID solution service is scheduled to go live in July 2023.
Furthermore, in order to popularise RFID, PubteX will open a showroom at its office by the summer of 2022 as a site to research and introduce the functions of RFID and related services, and it is expected to lead participants to a better understanding of the solutions that RFID can provide.
Source: Marubeni Press Release