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Yamato uses ITSM
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Accelerating innovation with a data-driven strategy

2

Weeks to respond to data queries instead of a month

1.5

Times more inquiries handled per person per month

 

Continuous improvement managed in-house with low- or no-code

 

A data-driven approach to resource management
Yamato Transport’s TA-Q-BIN express delivery service has become a staple of daily life in Japan, handling an industry-leading 2.2 billion deliveries in the 2021 fiscal year. "We have around 4,000 locations in Japan, around 190,000 employees–including 60,000 drivers–and a fleet of 54,000 trucks,” explains Norihiko Nakabayashi, Executive Officer of Digital Transformation Promotion at Yamato Transport.

Providing fast and reliable delivery services is integral to the business, and Yamato Transport has set targets to ensure operations are efficient and resources are well managed. Rather than relying on guesswork or experience, the company is adopting a data-driven approach, using data science to precisely analyze changes in demand and freight flow. This enables the company to optimize how it allocates limited resources such as vehicles and personnel to deliver the best possible experience to customers.

The transformation is already underway, and the next step is to create a system that forecasts daily changes in the volume of packages up to three months in advance. This involves collecting and analyzing data from 3,400 sales offices and will enable the business to arrange the required number of staff and vehicles accordingly.  

Setting expectations around response times
To accelerate this initiative, Yamato Transport is proactively hiring data scientists on a scale rarely seen in the logistics industry. It’s also creating an environment where data can be accessed quickly to enable data scientists to focus on analysis rather than spending 80% of their time organizing data, which was previously the case.  

The company created a new role called a ‘data concierge’ and appointed five people responsible for finding important datasets that are not in the existing database, cleaning and organizing data to make it useable for data scientists. They work on the data management team, which aims to respond to inquiries and requests from data scientists as quickly as possible, and previously managed these via instant messaging.  

This approach was not without its challenges. As Yuya Tojo, Senior Expert at Yamato Transport explains, “When a data scientist made an inquiry and didn’t get an immediate response, they had no visibility of whether the data concierge was looking for information or when they’d hear from them. The team is under pressure to analyze data as quickly as possible to solve problems across multiple departments, so the lack of clarity was an issue.” 

Handling requests with ServiceNow IT Service Management
The data management team decided that the best way to solve this problem was to replace its communication platform. It adopted ServiceNow IT Service Management to handle requests and inquiries quickly and efficiently. Today, queries are submitted via computer or smartphone and sent to a dedicated data concierge. If they need to delegate an action, they trigger an automated workflow, which routes the query or request to the right person and creates an audit trail of everyone who’s worked on it.

“People use data in lots of different ways. Our goal is to respond quickly and efficiently to everyone. We chose ServiceNow because it has great functionality and can be customized for our unique requirements,” says Ryusuke Okubo, Junior Expert at Yamato Transport.

The company already used ServiceNow IT Operations Management and IT Service Management for cloud operations and configuration management. Having in-house expertise around ServiceNow meant it could get IT Service Management implemented quickly and easily and manage the solution in-house.

Yamato logo right
Yamato Transport Co., Ltd.
CUSTOMER
Yamato Transport Co., Ltd.
HEADQUARTERS
Tokyo, Japan
INDUSTRY
Transportation and Logistics
EMPLOYEES
191,172
PRODUCTS

With ServiceNow, we improve collaboration of data scientists/concierges with business users in a data-driven environment.

Norihiko Nakabayashi

Executive Officer of Digital Transformation Promotion

Greater transparency around delivery times for data
ServiceNow IT Service Management went live in June 2021, vastly improving the efficiency of communications compared to the previous instant messaging solution. It also supports better collaboration between the data scientist who submits the query, the data concierge who receives it, and the service support agent who can provide status updates in real time from a central dashboard.

“In the past, when a data scientist made an inquiry, they could not track who had been assigned to handle the response or see any interactions around it. This information is crucial to understand what’s happening at every stage of the request and to estimate when the information will be ready. When a business manager requests information from a data scientist, they set a deadline for analysis. Knowing when to expect a response from the data management team helps data scientists to manage their workload so they can meet those deadlines,” Okubo says.

Simple in-house improvements with low- or no-code support 
By empowering multiple parties to communicate and share knowledge, teams can reach decisions and implement solutions faster. “Depending on the nature of the inquiry, response times have been reduced from a month to around two weeks. That also means each data concierge can handle 1.5 times more queries a month compared to previously,” adds Okubo. 

As the company continues to make communications more user-friendly, ServiceNow supports low-code or no-code development, which means data concierges can make simple improvements themselves. 

“We can handle changes alongside responding to requests from data scientists. Improvements to the layout and inquiry list help make the solution even more user friendly, and we only needed three days of training to learn how to do it,” says Sakiko Imai, Supervisor at Yamato Transport.

A smoother experience translates into faster response times, which in turn accelerates the company’s shift to a data-driven approach. “We’re gradually increasing the rate of in-house creation and customization of processes, so we’ll see the impact of data-driven decisions faster,” says Imai.

Establishing data-driven operations with DataOps  
As well as making communication more transparent, ServiceNow acts as a knowledge bank, collecting information around data requests and inquiries that can be used in the future. This feature is unique to IT Service Management and supports Yamato Transport’s ambition to roll out chatbots that will be able to use this knowledge to automate responses to common queries. 

When it comes to developing its data concierge service, Nakabayashi comments, “As we grow our ServiceNow footprint, we’ll apply DataOps to further strengthen collaboration between data scientists, business users, and data concierges. This will help us create an environment where we can make better decisions based on real data.” 

The company also plans to increase the number of data scientists who perform advanced data analysis through recruitment campaigns and in-house appointments. With ServiceNow supporting the data concierges, data scientists will be free to focus on analysis, which will play an important role in establishing Yamato Transport as a data-driven company.

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