Shigeru Wakabayshi

IT Strategy Division, CIO,, Watami Co., Ltd

Supernova Award Category: 

Tech Optimization and Modernization

The Organization: 

Established in Japan in 1984, the Watami Group operates about 1,000 restaurants, meal delivery outlets, and other businesses in Japan and overseas. In 2002, Watami started organic farming to provide safe foods to its customers. The current total field area, including directly managed farms and ranches, is 548 hectares in 9 locations in Japan. With the aim of building a sustainable, recycling-oriented society, Watami is also implementing various initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint, including the development, construction, and management of wind power generation facilities as its renewable energy business.

The Problem: 

Operational and organizational reforms were required to meet company goals. Watami’s patchwork of old, complex legacy systems couldn’t accommodate new data-focused business strategies to accomplish the goal. But Their technology couldn’t provide the data needed to implement the following strategies:

  • Reform merchandising by digitizing raw material and product inventory. This would improve the accuracy of order forecasting using data analytics and enable food transparency and traceability.

  • Improve work efficiency and personnel costs with a data driven culture. Data analysis would save purchasing confirmation labor and enable efficient budget management.

  • Standardize site manufacturing and management operations. This would improve the efficiency of changing recipes (for example changing home meals per week).

  • Improve billing and payment efficiency and closing operations and TCO reduction.

New digitization and operations standards were required to optimize the ERP and analytics.

The Solution: 

Watami takes on challenges with ingenuity. They implemented the Global Corporate Strategy Monitoring System, “COSMOS”. The company optimized inventory quality by adopting a multi-tenant SaaS (Infor M3) ERP, Factory Track, and analytics programs to use information to guide management strategies: advanced forecasting, expand sales by strengthening CRM, accelerate management speed using business intelligence. With this solution, they could visualize order volume forecasts, use digitization to implement labor saving factory operations. The new technology would improve operational efficiency through centralized management, increase creativity, value, and drive TCO cost benefits for IT.

The Results: 

Adoption of CloudSuite Food & Beverage enabled Watami to unify item numbers across the whole company and define multi-level recipes (BOMs) depending on the process—where previously a single item had multiple codes and where they were single-level BOMs. This has standardized business processes and data definitions in production management.

As a result, Watami has built a foundation for data-driven management to enable advanced cost calculations and production planning. Watami reduced operating costs for production, food delivery, and restaurant food management.

  • Using the dashboard, it is now possible to see the number of products produced for each center and home-cooked product compared to the budget.
  • Using the dashboard, it is now possible to easily compare productivity by center and by product.
  • Using the dashboard visualizes manufacturing cost by centers and compares the theory with the actual results.
  • Digitization of inventory management of raw materials/products at food delivery factory enables transparency and traceability.
  • The new system eliminates the need for weekly ordering work from a catering factory purchaser.
  • Handwriting traceability information is no longer required.
  • A large amount of paper printed at each factory has become zero in principle.
  • The number of exception handling personnel required for duties such as recipe changes was reduced.

With the COSMOS manufacturing/supply chain project, Watami achieved cost savings of 33,600,000 yen in 2019 ($313,136.88 USD), and it predicts total cost savings of 312,700,000 yen (approximately $3 million USD) in 2020.

The data-driven process can be used to further improve the management of our renewable energy, cyclical six-industry model, including the three nonprofit foundations we support, and to drive further digital transformation on our front lines.

The Technology: 


The Watami Lunch Box and Restaurant divisions implemented:

Multi-tenant SaaS ERP - Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage

Tech Stack - Infor OS for extensions and integrations

Factory Track


Analytics - Birst Enterprise

Infor Consulting Services used the Infor Development Method to quickly and accurately deploy best practice processes

Disruptive Factor: 

Watami moved to multi-tenant CloudSuite Food & Beverage to build a modern platform for data analysis. By adopting Infor Birst, the organization can visualize production management data—standardized with the Infor multi-tenant cloud ERP solution. Birst links data residing in CloudSuite F&B and external data, through Infor Data lake across the whole organization and builds dashboards that automatically collect the required data for the business.

Shining Moment: 

Watami now has the data to cultivate important customers and promote sales to acquire new customers, leading to increased customer lifetime value (LTV). Consumer-grade dashboards give teams immediate access to view the number of products made for each center, compared to the budget, and easily view productivity by center and by product. Users can see the manufacturing cost and analyze the theory with the actual results.

About Watami Co., Ltd

Watami Corporation was founded in 1984 as a restaurant business. We began organic farming in 2002 with the desire to provide food that can be eaten without the use of pesticides and other chemicals. The company operates nine domestic farms and ranches with a total field area of 548 ha (191 ha for certified organic fields).