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The SaaS Source: February 2024

This edition of the SaaS Source looks at how companies in a variety of industries are launching and utilizing software-as-a-service offerings to achieve innovative solutions.

Ringer Hut Seamlessly Connects HR and Internal Systems

The major restaurant chain Ringer Hut has adopted Asteria Warp Core—a data collaboration provided by Asteria—to merge SmartHR, its HR SaaS platform, and its payroll/attendance management system without having to use any code. As a February 14 piece on ZDNet Japan explains, Ringer Hut runs the well-known Nagasaki Champon stores, and has been pushing for digital transformation practices since 2019 to boost customer satisfaction and operational efficiency (in Japanese). One issue to tackle was how to digitize human resources and labor management—across all stores, some 300 people were newly hired or retired every month, which was a time drag for store managers. In their existing system, payroll calculation and personnel and labor management systems weren’t linked. This led to duplicated work as well as an increased workload. Compounding this was the fact that the general affairs and human resources team at headquarters were sharing some information via paper. Their implementation of their new digital tools have allowed them to streamline personnel-related procedures, while reducing personnel and labor management tasks. This in turn allows store managers to focus more closely on store operations and human resource development.

B2B Luxury Goods Auction Harnesses SaaS Functions

Valuence Japan, a leading company that specializes in selling luxury goods, collaborated with Best Buy—which runs Kingram, a store specializing in brand purchases, and Kingram Luxury Store, which also focuses on luxury items—according to a February 14 press release published on @Press (in Japanese). The companies collaborated on a February 20 event, the Kingram Luxury Store Auction, which was a large-scale B2B auction bringing together a variety of high-end items. Many items that were available—some of which were quite rare—were sold by the companies’ senior customers, who have survived the economic bubble and overseas travel boom, and own many vintage items. The event harnessed a SaaS-based platform to implement auction bidding and sales.

Yamazen Launches Platform for the Manufacturing Industry

Yamazen Corporation, a leader in industrial machinery and equipment, has launched Genbato, a complex SaaS platform that can manage drawings and equipment and record defects, according to a February 21 press release published on Edge Line (in Japanese).  The company explains that the platform is designed to meet some of the challenges that Japan’s manufacturing industry faces—these include labor shortages, technology succession, and stagnation in technological development. Genbato is aimed to provide the exact amount of digital support that manufacturing sites need, particularly with helping small and medium-sized manufacturers improve productivity. It offers collaboration between its platform components and low subscription pricing, and basic service will be provided free of charge until the end of December 2024.

Health and Beauty E-Commerce Platform Introduces Search Capabilities

Helpfeel, an e-commerce site run by Vitabrid Japan that focuses on selling health and beauty products, has announced the launch of its Helpfeel SaaS-based search service, according to a February 8 press release published on PRTimes (in Japanese). The search service addresses a growing need that the company faces. Every month, Vitabrid fields some 30,000 inquiries, 90 percent of which are phone calls that need to be answered by some 70 operators. While their site does feature an FAQ section, customers didn’t find it helpful in addressing their questions. The new search service uses intent prediction search, which predicts the intent of what a searcher wants to know based on the words they enter in the FAQ, and quickly searches for answers that match that intent. It even turns up results for  imprecise keywords, misspellings or entries in kanji, kana, and roman alphabet, leading searchers to the most suitable FAQ page. It can also predict questions and generate possible answers even while search keywords are being entered.

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