More than a decade before the beginning of the 21st century, Japan
was already making great strides toward transforming itself into
an Information Age society.
What exactly is an Information Age society? Well, it is a society
in which information has value, information is a marketable product,
and people profit from controlling information.
On the other hand, the decline of labor-intensive operations accelerated
in all fields of industry. Labor became more expensive, and labor-saving
and energy-saving measures became categorical imperatives for the
Traditionally, the Commercial Division was organized as a typical,
labor intensive business model. Businessmen would visit clients
once, sometimes twice a day, depending on the situation, to conduct
business negotiations and deliver goods. The times demanded that
this way of doing business be reformed. In the 67th term (1984),
the Commercial Division adopted "from labor intensive to labor
efficient" as its theme.
Up until then, in addition to doing business, businessmen had also
been burdened with many other related tasks. They were multipurpose
laborers -- they took the order, made out the bill, picked up the
desired product at the warehouse, made the delivery, made out the
receipt, collected the payment, and sometimes even participated
in inventory management.
Labor efficiency meant that businessmen could concentrate on their
primary function. However, this type of reform cannot be realized
through idealism alone -- there must be a system to back up businessmen.
DSP, the new physical distribution system project, commenced in
1980. Under the DSP, inventories at branch offices and business
locations were reduced to zero and rapid deliveries were made from
giant distribution centers established at key points in each region.
Utilization of the DSP made it possible to redistribute a considerable
portion of businessmen's labor.
The DSP was a businessman back-up system, but KICS was epoch-making,
realizing the 68th term (1985) slogan, "Future-oriented wholesaling".
This system also anticipated the Information Age's wholesale industry
In KICS, information is the commodity. Goods move according to
the movement of information. Nor is movement of goods according
to information is the only product -- it is also a business which
handles all the information that pharmacies and shops selling pharmaceutical
products require. Of course, information cannot just be detached
as an independent product. KICS is a system that operates on the
cutting edge of the pharmaceuticals business world.
Labor reduction through the use of computers is not the sole purpose
of this system. The basic premise of this system is to fundamentally
change management and wholesales in pharmacies.
KICS commenced sales in August 1986. In addition to being the first
multifunction, in-house software developed in the industry, KICS5000
was moderately priced and compact in design, resulting in greater
than predicted popularity. In the future, Kobayashi Pharmaceutical
will assemble data on its host machine and build a VAN (KICS VAN)
in order to thoroughly differentiate itself from other companies.
(From an interview with Yutaka Kobayashi)