Establishment of Joint Venture Company to Reform the Supply Chain of the Publishing Industry

Source: 3/24/2022, Location: Asia

On March 11, 2022, Marubeni Corporation, Marubeni Forest LinX Co., Ltd., Kodansha Ltd., Shueisha Inc., and Shogakukan Inc. established a joint venture company, “PubteX Co., Ltd.” (hereinafter, “PubteX”), which aims to reform the supply chain of the Japanese publishing Industry to become more sustainable by accelerating Digital Transformation.

The Japanese publishing Industry has achieved an increase in sales every year for three consecutive years, and sales for 2021 were 1,674.2 billion yen. However, in recent years, the publishing industry has faced several structural challenges for which it is urgently necessary to find solutions. In order to deal with these publication distribution challenges, PubteX will launch two new services, and by collecting and organizing the data across the industry, PubteX will contribute to the supply chain reform of the Japanese publishing industry. The details of the services are as follows:

1. Optimizing the volume of publications through AI
PubteX aims to reduce the returns of publications , one of the structural challenges the publishing industry faces, by offering publishers a service which optimizes the volume of books and magazines to be published and distributed, through AI and other advanced technology. Utilizing various types of data collected across the industry and continuously developing the AI model to fit the sales characteristics of each title, PubteX aims to achieve the optimization of the entire industry supply chain. As the system infrastructure for this service, PubteX will utilize the software “o9 Digital Brain Platform” from o9 Solutions, Inc, *1 a company which provides innovative Suppy Chain Management solutions globally and also is Marubeni’s strategic partner for its “Digital SCM Service.” *2 PubteX is planning to launch this service starting from April, 2023.

2. Utilizing RFID (radio frequency identifier)
Through utilizing RFID and the data collected from RFID, PubteX will establish and operate a system which enables participants to improve the efficiency of inventory management, and individually manage the inventory and diversify the sales conditions of books and magazines. PubteX will also offer a book recommendation service to customers at bookstores. Additionally, the system includes the function to prevent shoplifting at bookstores. Through these measures, PubteX will help bookstores solve issues related to their operation and management. The RFID solution service is targeted to launch in July 2023. Additionally, to popularize 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 the participants to a better understanding of the solutions that RFID can offer.

Through these innovative technologies, PubteX will contribute not only to solving the challenges facing the Japanese publishing industry, but also to creating a sustainable society. Additionally, PubteX aims to pass on the fun of choosing books at bookstores to the next generation. To promote these two services, it is essential for PubteX to have strong relationships with all the stakeholders in the publishing industry, including distributing companies, bookstores nationwide that have a positive attitude toward improving their operations, and printing / bookbinding companies with advanced technologies.

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