A small private store on the street corner. Is it profitable in such an inconspicuous place? However, if you look closely, you will feel that you are particular about what is lined up in the store, and you will be fascinated by it. Moreover, we also hold handmade workshops. Let's go next time. Maybe some people have had an experience similar to this.
There are many small communities that go unnoticed. Efforts have been accumulated in each of them, and they are all kept in "moderate amounts". This book sheds light on sustainable business and working styles by focusing on each one.
There are separate sections for each process: make, sell, buy, but the companies featured are all attentive. Depending on how far you look at the process from planning goods and services to reaching customers, you will be able to understand the "moderate quantity" and "required quality and quantity." The story of the company or organization that the author is talking about has an unexpected perspective, and it's really fun to read.
Have a passion for a certain product and a certain service, and seriously think about who you want to deliver it to. It seems that the process has unknowingly come to the point of making each "moderate amount". Start by finding what you want to deliver. This book is full of tips on how to do business and community design.
The main points of this book
The "moderate amount" is an appropriate amount that balances supply and demand by flexibly changing the uniform production amount or combining items that can only be produced in small quantities into a cohesive amount. ..
The movement to show customers the production environment and process and have them experience it, the production site where not only manufacturing but also sales are done in-house, and the flow of involving buyers in the maker community are the consciousness of not only makers but also consumers. Is also changing.
Even if you start a small project, you can change the image of the company by taking steps while being aware of the delivery destination.
Determine the amount and price to make
Pursuing a sense of scale for both sales and operations
The first thing that comes to mind with a "reasonable amount" is the right amount and the right price. The era of mass consumption during the high-growth period is over long ago. Now, "non-brand", "simplification" and "share" are the keywords. Even so, there are still persistent mechanisms in which sellers do not take risks, such as department stores that use a "sales purchase" system in which only the sold amount is purchased, and supermarkets that allow producers to take over the unsold amount.
Hyakushokuya, which serves domestic beef steaks mainly in Kyoto for 100 lunch-only meals, is the opposite. First, the menu is narrowed down to a few, and costs are thoroughly reduced except for raw materials and labor costs. I don't even have a freezer to use up the ingredients every day without waste.
For the growing staff, create a new store and leave it to the manager's position. And they maintain a sense of employee scale that allows them to communicate closely.
Even when sales dropped sharply due to a natural disaster, he said that he built an operation that can be operated by two people at one store according to the number, making use of the experience of selling out 50 meals.
Instead of maximizing sales, small-scale operations will bring together wisdom to reduce working hours. By doing so, "Hyakushokuya" has realized a strong business with high production efficiency.
Know the limits of your production
What is a "moderate amount" in the first place? The author's definition is this. It is an appropriate amount that balances supply and demand by flexibly changing the uniform production amount and combining things that can only be produced in small quantities into a cohesive amount.
Let's take an example of the bread and daily necessities store "Troublesome". At first, this shop used a corner of his house to sell a wide variety of bread. However, this not only makes it difficult for the producers, but also makes it difficult to deliver the required amount of bread.
Therefore, we decided to produce more quality bread, only two types. Then, he turned to publicity, saying, "This is more delicious." Also, in the sale of daily necessities, including the EC site, the staff carefully researches and purchases only those that have been confirmed for usability and deterioration over a year.
If you don't agree with the market, make it yourself. If there are many people who want it, we will build a mass production system. In this way, delivering what you think is "good" to the maximum number of people who want it is the "moderate amount" of "the purpose".
Protect traditional techniques at a reasonable price
Next is the price. Many traditional craft techniques remain in Japan. Although the government has subsidized it, the value of production and the number of companies are declining because it is not exposed to competition. It is a pity that the value required for products from now on may be a unique culture unique to that country or region.
For example, Ono City, Hyogo Prefecture, is a town that prospered in blacksmithing. Although the craftsman's skill is well-established, skilled craftsmen are in their 70s and 80s, and no successor has been raised. We do not price high technology and keep it at a low price. It was the system with the least profit of the creator.
Meanwhile, the design company "Coelacanth Shokudo" gave the entire knife the brand name "Banshu Knife". Then, we developed a high-priced product line with a high-class paulownia box and easy-to-understand explanations. It is a brand that is now attracting attention overseas.
Still, it is meaningless unless the craftsmanship is passed on to the next generation. Therefore, we have set up a workshop called "WORK SHOP" and are repeating trial and error. Breaking down the smithing work, the successor learns process by process. In this way, we are creating original products that outsource only the advanced parts to craftsmen. It is exactly a mechanism to train while earning little by little. The effect is unknown, but it continues to attract attention as it has the potential to take over the technology.[Must read point!] Reconnect with customers
Show the production process
When you buy ready-made products lined up in stores, you can't see who makes them and how. Therefore, it is difficult to find a decisive factor for purchase other than price and design.
Therefore, in the field of manufacturing and agriculture, there is a movement to show the production environment and process and sometimes have them experience it. The open factory is one example. Once the origin of a thing is understood, even the consciousness of its value will change drastically.
A tea plantation in Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture, which has been cultivating pesticide-free and organic fertilizers for over 40 years, "The Association for Connecting People, Agriculture and Nature". This tea plantation invites guests to pick new tea every year. Experiences such as making tea are also available, and the memories received by the five senses are linked to the taste of tea.
The reason for forming this association was to respond to the housewife's desire to drink pesticide-free tea. If you connect directly with consumers, you can manage even on a small scale without depending on others such as agricultural cooperatives. It can be said that it is agriculture that carefully produces the necessary "moderate amount", which is different from large-scale agriculture.
Supporting self-propelled factories
In Japan, where a unique wholesale and distribution system not found overseas has been developed, it is difficult for small lot products to fit into the existing distribution system. In many cases, the creator does not have the right to decide the price. However, if you are told, "It is your responsibility from manufacturing to sales," you will be able to make good things without waste. I will introduce such efforts.
You may feel a hurdle when a factory that has been made to order suddenly takes charge of everything from production to sales. The factory-directed brand "Factelier" is an apparel manufacturer dedicated to supporting such garment factories. The main body that makes clothes is the factory, and the factory decides the price and production volume. Purchases are made online only, and we are trying to avoid intermediate costs as much as possible.
Domestic production of clothing is only 2.4% as of 2017. At the site where the more you make, the more you make a deficit, you can no longer find value in handmade. Therefore, "Factory E" is backing up from various aspects so that such factories can do everything from fabric selection to design and manufacturing by themselves.
It is also recommended that the factory sell it by another route. This is because it is important for factories to run on their own, with an eye on consumers. Some factories are trying to develop independent craftsmen by letting them take charge of all the processes by themselves without dividing the labor. In this way, the quality of work that has been made into work is also changing.
Engage customers as fans
Form a loose community of people who share values, whether they are creators, sellers, or buyers. Then, buy and sell goods and services there. Customers who sympathize with that attitude become fans, and the economy turns within the resulting community.
Many commercially available chocolates are flavored with flavors and extracts. Under such circumstances, the taste of "Minimal" chocolate is differentiated by the individuality and manufacturing method of sugar and especially cacao beans. We sell to 100 people who buy 100 times, rather than 10,000 people who buy once. Based on this idea, we devise a taste that customers want to convey to other people and a way of explaining at the store.
There is also a project called "Minimal's Table" where we experimentally create products with customers. Customers involved in the development come to the store with friends immediately after the release. He explains the new products in detail, buys them, and his friends are happy to buy them. It is a mechanism that increases the enjoyment by participating in the side that consumers themselves make.
Change the delivery method
Deliver directly where you need it
By designing the process of delivering goods to customers, you can reach unexpected places in unexpected ways. You can combine small lots, use online, or make a flat-rate service.
"Yasai Bus" operated by "M Square Lab" in Shizuoka Prefecture is a joint delivery system in which neighboring farmers and restaurants are affiliated. Both producers and businesses exchange vegetables via the nearby "bus stop". Since there is no middleman, the shipping fee is cheap, and the farmer is paid 90% of the price, so it is easy to get in.
In distribution through JA, it is judged only by shape, weight, and appearance, so it is not evaluated by taste. Another problem was that it took at least four days after the harvest. This trend is being applied to fresh fish, etc., and demonstration experiments are underway in areas other than Shizuoka Prefecture. Create a cycle of goods and money within the region, which spreads to other regions. This leads to the realization of a "moderate amount".
Design a place for customers to gather
"I want to deliver it to those who want it without losing the sense of temperature of the creator." With that in mind, some people are changing the sales floor. For example, you can dare to concentrate your sales bases in urban areas, or share sales floors where interested customers are likely to gather with others. The fact that it is easy for individual consumers to get together on SNS now has a big impact.
"Book Mansion" in Kichijoji, Tokyo is a collection of small bookstores that share the sales floor with multiple people. The basis for this was the unmanned bookstore "BOOK ROAD" that started in Musashino City. After continuing for a while, customers began to voluntarily participate in the shelving of bookstores. In the end, I started seeing letters, souvenirs, and other customers in the wooden box that holds the books I want to keep. Exchanges began between faceless customers. With that as a hint, the form of joint management of a group of small bookstores was born.
At "Book Mansion," you can pay 3850 yen a month to rent a box and sell books freely. There are nearly 80 such shelves in all. In this way, if the risk per person is low, the entire bookstore can be maintained even if the number does not sell. In this way, by changing the way books are delivered, we are creating opportunities to meet new cultures and people.
One way is to update mass-produced businesses and services that have been successful in the past to suit the times.
The hot spring inn "Ryokan Ohnuma" in Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, is called "Modern Hot Spring" and combines the customs of hot springs with various activities to propose new travel styles to young people. We will uncover the desires of new customers and change the way they are provided so that they can reach them.
Another example is the printing company "Fukunaga Paper Works" in Tachikawa, Tokyo. The company ran a very common printing business, but mass-produced jobs tend to be routine. Therefore, we started a business in which designers voluntarily create works using paper and pay the sales as royalties. Designers can freely create products without restrictions. When I asked him to put this in a good place in the museum shop of the museum, it became a hot topic. From there, the image of a factory that is strong in design and art was born, and we began to receive design consultations directly from major clients.
Even if the project started small, the image of the company changed by steadily advancing there while being aware of the destination. This is the "power that can be possessed by work that is based on individual thoughts."
Recommendation of reading
This book introduces a lot of "small companies" who have made a reasonable amount and devised ways to connect with people and deliver to people. You may want to read mainly the pages that introduce the industries you are related to and the shops you are interested in. The whole book is based on the message, "Send what you need, as much as you need, as a rewarding job to the world and deliver it to the buyer." If you look at the whole from that point, you will get hints on how to live and work as well as business, and a richer world will expand.