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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Five-company Joint Demonstration Experiment! Unifying the Judgment of Product Outer Cardboard Damage Levels Using AI|Reduction of Food Loss and Improvement of Distribution Issues

Kirin Beverage, Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan, Suntory Foods International, Seven-Eleven Japan, and Fujitsu will start a full-scale joint demonstration experiment on June 21, 2023, to standardize the damage level assessment of cardboard packaging for products by utilizing an AI system developed by Fujitsu. Fujitsu's AI system will be utilized to standardize the damage level of cardboard boxes for product packaging!

Collaboration in manufacturing and distribution to reduce food loss and improve logistics issues

Currently, the soft drink and distribution industries visually judge the acceptability of deliveries based on the appearance of cardboard boxes at each company's warehouse, regardless of the quality of the contents, when the cardboard boxes used as shipping and storage materials show minor wear, wrinkles, bulging, etc. During the transportation and storage of products, the companies are not able to determine whether or not the products are acceptable. Since there are no common standards among beverage manufacturers and distributors, there are variations in the judgment of whether or not a product can be delivered. As a result, products with no content quality problems are returned or discarded, and food loss is an issue.

In this joint verification experiment, beverage manufacturers and distributors will share a system for objective judgment of deliverability using Fujitsu's AI system, which uses the standards of the "Beverage Delivery Study Group*," and aim to unify judgment of damage levels among the companies responsible for manufacturing, delivery, and sales.

By distributing products with minor exterior damage, this will reduce product waste and food loss, and will also contribute to improving logistics issues faced by the soft drink and distribution industries by reducing inspection time at the time of receipt of cargo and return of products at warehouses.

The study group, consisting of the National Tax Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as well as persons involved in beverage delivery and legal experts, discusses the determination of the scope of damage to goods and the cost burden of disposal of damaged goods in relation to beverage delivery. According to the study group's summary, "If the contents of the product are not damaged, even if the packaging material is damaged or soiled, it should be allowed to be sold in its original packaging form, except in cases where it would interfere with transportation, storage, etc." (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website: quoted from the "Beverage Delivery Study Group").

Outline of this Joint Demonstration Experiment

The beverage manufacturers, distributors, and Fujitsu participating in this verification experiment will jointly conduct a demonstration experiment to unify and share judgment criteria for outer cardboard damage using the AI judgment mechanism, and will periodically verify and discuss the results. For details, please refer to the "Supplementary Materials.

Target products: Soft drinks

□Period of implementation: From June 21, 2023 to the end of September 2024 (tentative)

Scope of implementation: Multiple warehouses of each company

As the first step, five companies will begin the verification experiment. In the future, we will invite more companies involved in manufacturing, delivery, and sales to participate in the experiment and expand the scope of the experiment, aiming to improve the AI accuracy and standardize the judgment criteria in the industry, thereby reducing food loss and improving logistics issues.

Comments from Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
With the shortage of truck drivers becoming an urgent issue, the full-fledged verification experiment to standardize the determination of the level of outer cardboard damage using AI is a meaningful initiative to solve logistics issues that transcends industry boundaries, and is also important from the perspective of reducing food loss. The full-scale demonstration experiment is also significant as an initiative to solve logistics issues that transcend industry boundaries. We look forward to the expansion of this initiative. Let us work together one by one to ensure sustainable logistics.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
While labor shortages in logistics have become an issue, we expect that the clarification and standardization of standards through this initiative will lead to improved productivity. We also expect that the spread of operations that respect this initiative will improve existing business practices and at the same time increase consumer awareness of waste reduction and food loss reduction.

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
In the trucking industry, where driver shortages are a major issue, inefficient inspection work and the accompanying long waits for cargo are particularly problematic in the beverage distribution industry, placing a heavy burden on truck drivers. We expect that the standardization of the damage level assessment of cardboard boxes for product packaging will further improve the working environment and reduce the burden on logistics by reducing inspection time and curbing the return of products that have no quality problems.


Product names and other proper nouns mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

《Supplemental Material》
Role of each company

Kirin Beverage: Operation in own warehouse and promotion of unification of judgment criteria
Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan: Promoting operations at its own warehouses and unification of judgment criteria
Suntory: Operation in own warehouse and promotion of unification of judgment criteria
7-Eleven : Cooperation with distribution warehouses and promotion of unification of judgment criteria
Fujitsu : Construction and operation of AI systems

Implementation flow of the demonstration experiment using Fujitsu's AI system

1. warehouse personnel take pictures of damaged parts with a smartphone when inspecting incoming goods or prior to shipment or during storage
2. matching the captured images with the database
Warehouse personnel decide whether to receive or ship goods based on the AI's judgment and recommendation.

Figure 1: System configuration image

Major efforts by each company leading up to the start of the five-company joint demonstration experiment

September 2019 Suntory and Fujitsu-led project launched
Since then, experiments on the desk and verification at Suntory's own warehouse.

July 2020 at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Supply Chain Innovation Awards 2020,
Received the Excellence Award for "Introduction of product cardboard breakage judgment by AI screen analysis (PoC stage)

March 2021 Start of joint on-site verification experiment with Kirin Beverage and Kirin Group Logistics Company (Hiroyuki Ando, President)

September 2021 Start of demonstration test at Chiba Depot for 7-Eleven Co-delivery Center

May 2022 Start of demonstration testing at the Mito Center, a room-temperature co-distribution center that makes deliveries to 7-Eleven stores.

May 2023 Start of joint on-site demonstration test with Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan

(Future efforts)
June 2023 Start of demonstration experiment by 5 companies
July 2023- Introduction and expansion of initiatives to other beverage manufacturers, food companies, and distributors

For inquiries regarding this matter, please contact
Fujitsu Contact Line (general contact) Phone: 0120-933-200
Hours: 9:00 - 17:30 (except Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and Fujitsu-designated holidays)
Contact Form:


Prices, specifications, and service details of the products described in this press release are current as of the date of the announcement. They are subject to change without notice. Please be aware of this in advance.

(Supplement: Depending on the specifications of the media or browsing environment, the character "Takashi" may not be displayed correctly. Correctly, the "ichi" is placed above the "sei" in "Takashi.")


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