（Left: Daito Kase, AnyLogi Product Manager; Right: Akinori Kubo, AnyLogi Business Manager）
Following the launch of AnyLogi back in June 2021, we sat down for a chat with Daito Kase, product manager for AnyLogi, and Akinori Kubo, business manager for AnyLogi, to discuss about how AnyLogi solves key challenges in the logistics space, the advantages that logistics partners can have, and future prospects in logistics space.
What is AnyLogi?
AnyLogi is a logistics fulfillment platform that has a network of domestic and international e-commerce marketplaces and logistics partners. Users can easily manage, payment confirmations, warehousing, inventory, shipping and delivery on a single platform.
Table of Contents 1. Background on the development of AnyLogi and challenges faced 2. How AnyLogi solves problems in the logistics space 3. Advantages for logistics partners 4. Future prospects
1. Background on the development of AnyLogi and challenges faced
Interviewer: Let’s start things off with providing our readers with a background on the development of AnyLogi.
Kubo: I’ve got to say that because AnyMind Group’s mission is to make every business borderless, we are currently developing multiple solutions that fit across the direct-to-consumer (D2C) and e-commerce brand supply chain, and help our customers become even more borderless.
We have been providing tools and resources for cloud manufacturing, e-commerce enablement and marketing, but we have also been working on building out new functions to provide even more value for the entirety of a brand’s supply chain.
With our recent focus on the D2C space, we have been supporting influencers (and creators) along with enterprises around the region to go direct-to-consumer. However, logistics has been a major hurdle for these brands.
Also, looking back at AnyMind’s products to date, we have always focused on providing new and additional value when working on product development and product strategy.
Even though AnyMind originally started in the marketing tech industry, we expanded into influencer marketing, publisher monetization, creator management and D2C products, and we have expanded our business domains at an overwhelming speed.
Today, almost all of our businesses are interconnected, and we are not just providing solutions for each function, but we are constantly developing solutions that focus on solving essential problems with the goal of optimizing the entire brand supply chain.
As a company, our unique strength is that we do not focus just on logistics, but also on areas such as manufacturing and e-commerce enablement, and we are still making improvements on a daily basis, which few other companies can achieve.
2. How AnyLogi solves problems in the logistics space
Making logistics a business growth driver by solving problems with technology and a strong network
Interviewer: What kind of issues does AnyLogi solve?
Kubo: First of all, I would like to talk about the current state of the logistics industry in Japan.
I have lived in Beijing and Hong Kong, and I am convinced that what I’m about to say is true, because I have also been communicating frequently with logistics partners in Southeast Asia as we were developing AnyLogi.
We’ve got it good in Japan. The services provided by each of the warehousing, distribution and delivery companies have a very high level of UX, including the flexibility of receiving methods, delivery speed and flow.
The Japanese logistics industry is truly great and I respect each of these companies for continuing to provide excellent services at a high level.
Interviewer: Now that you mention it, time-specific delivery and next-day delivery are normal.
Kubo: Yes, you’re right. On the other hand, when it comes to cross-border logistics across countries, there are various hurdles. Obstacles such as language, technology, physical distance and many more.
We would like to solve these problems by building a network of top players such as overseas warehouses and delivery companies and incorporate them into our products using technology.
A world where cross-border logistics can be as easy as domestic shipping
Interviewer: What are AnyLogi’s strengths in cross-border logistics?
Kase: With social media and the internet, the mental distance between customers all over the world has become much closer, and the costs and hurdles of purchasing products has dropped drastically.
As a result, the costs and hurdles of delivering products to customers all over the world will surely decrease, and AnyLogi is positioned to do just that!
In terms of e-commerce alone, the hurdle of sales channels has been lowered with the introduction of platforms such as Shopify. On the other hand, it is not easy to reduce hurdles around logistics, and one of the reasons for this is that it is difficult to find reliable partners around the world.
That’s why we wanted to take advantage of our strength across Asia to develop logistics networks around the region.
If businesses can find good logistics partners on their own, that will be great. However, with various barriers around culture, language and physical distance, it is difficult to find a logistics partner with high-quality and excellent cost performance. Many businesses may find it difficult to grasp the standards and market prices in the first place.
AnyLogi will further optimize international logistics by collaborating with a select number of logistics partners that boast high market share and service quality, and after that, adding on our efficient operations using our platform and technology.
It is common for companies that sell products overseas will manufacture these products overseas, import them to their based country for inspection, and then transport them back to their overseas warehouses for shipment.
AnyLogi eliminates this unnecessary and uneconomical process and makes it possible to scale operations across geographies, depending on the growth phase and volume.
Product delivery as an important part of contact between a brand and its customers
Interviewer: Having geographical scale definitely works in favour of AnyMind, but what are the points of differentiation in Japan? I’m particularly interested in the phrase “for D2C businesses.”
Kubo: As mentioned earlier, Japanese companies are used to receiving high service quality in logistics, which is why they often view shipping companies and warehouses as mere “cost centers.”
Based on this premise, we believe that the value AnyLogi provides is in utilizing logistics not only as a cost center but also as a driver of business growth.
Interviewer: That’s interesting, can you elaborate more?
Kubo: Today, many D2C brands and e-commerce businesses are spending large budgets when it comes to building out their online infrastructure, operations and marketing. We believe that they spend a lot of money on the “aerial battle.” On the other hand, they do not spend money on the “ground game,” which is the last point of contact with customers.
In the ever-expanding e-commerce era, logistics has become the only physical contact point with customers for online stores. Interest is fostered online, a product is purchased online, and the product reaches the customer’s doorstep. Logistics is the only offline touchpoint in this sense.
Let’s take a look at an example where a customer buys a product on a website that has been carefully designed to express a brand. If there is a gap between the customer’s experience and expectations online versus the experience when the product arrives, the customer will not be impressed.
At AnyMind, we are particular about the offline contact points with the end customer. For example, we put emphasis on packaging. That’s why we enable the customization of everything from the procurement of packaging materials to the design, folding, boxing and delivery of thank you cards. We believe that this attention to detail is very important, especially when it comes to conveying a brand.
In fact, our own D2C brands use customized packaging materials, and customers who receive our products say: “Even the box is already so cool!” I’ve seen happy comments from customers who have received our D2C brands’ products on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, and this ultimately has a knock-on effect on purchasing.
Together with our in-house designers and partnered warehouses, we would like to enhance the impressions from end customers that receive purchased products from D2C brands and e-commerce businesses by successfully integrating online and offline, and support them to become fans of these brands and even loyal customers.
Carefully designed package which expresses each brand’s world view
Optimization of parallel services such as manufacturing and customer service
Interviewer: Kubo had talked about the business space, but what are the specific points that AnyLogi is trying to solve in the technology space?
Kase: As shared at the beginning of this interview, our strength is that we can optimize the business environment around logistics, rather than focusing on just the logistics space. In other words, we believe that we can solve problems across the entire supply chain of a brand.
In order for this to happen, I work with engineers and designers to improve functions and UI/UX on a daily basis, but also as a product manager, I always try to take a bird’s eye view of AnyLogi.
There are other important steps for a business, such as the manufacturing of products before logistics comes in, along with customer support such as responding to inquiries before and after delivery. At AnyMind, we do not just focus on the logistics area, but also look at the entire supply chain in order to better understand the needs of businesses. AnyLogi will be closely integrated with processes connected to logistics, including manufacturing and customer support.
3. Advantages for logistics partners
There’s no need for in-house system development
Interviewer: What are the advantages for logistics partners?
Kase: Until recently, warehouses and delivery sites have been very manual, and there has been very little progress in digital transformation in logistics. For example, there are cases where order information is downloaded in CSV format and the necessary products are manually assigned to each order. This greatly increases the possibility of human error, and more importantly, requires a lot of time and resources.
This is why, in recent years, software that automates the capturing of order information (order management systems – OMS) has been attracting attention, as e-commerce continues to increase in volume. However, while conventional OMS has reduced the large amount of manual labor that had been a pain point of logistics providers, it is also true that it was and is a heavy burden to introduce a new system. Also, the need to introduce a new warehouse management system and the need to fundamentally change warehouse operations were both extremely burdensome for logistics partners.
AnyLogi was developed on the premise that it is connecting existing warehouse management systems. As a result, logistics partners can introduce AnyLogi without having to switch to different software or systems from their existing warehouse management system and warehouse operations.
We know that the first step is to remove all barriers in logistics and create a product that can be used and implemented by all brands and logistics partners involved without much disruption.
4. Future prospects
Interviewer: We’ll be wrapping up this interview. Can you tell us about AnyMind’s future plans in this space?
Kase:The e-commerce market is expected to expand even further in the future, and as it does, the logistics industry will play an even more important role.
As Kubo mentioned earlier, logistics becomes the first and last physical touchpoint for customers who have purchased products online. The emphasis is now on maximizing customer satisfaction by delivering branding through even offline touchpoints.
AnyLogi will not only focus on traditional fast, cheap and accurate logistics, but also on contributing to the improvement of customer loyalty and creating true frans of a brand. We also plan to collaborate with other platforms and aim to create a product that can provide a consistent brand experience.
Kubo:Since I’ve started working in the business side of AnyMind’s logistics offering, I have had more opportunities to talk with many companies and logistics partners, including in the D2C space. What I have found is that there are still very few companies that have fully unlocked the potential of logistics in D2C.
We believe that it is very important to deliver the story of a brand to their end customer, based on the concept of “logistics as marketing,” in addition to the cost, speed of delivery and service quality. Of course, it’s important to build, operate and promote a store as an online touchpoint, but investing in logistics as a physical touchpoint is the only way to complete the “conversation” with end customers and deliver the brand’s story to them.
In today’s world, where ads can be easily created online, and the cost of reaching out to customers has lowered, I believe that brands that continue to focus on the final touchpoint will continue to thrive.
In addition to logistics fulfillment, AnyLogi is a platform that supports the fostering of brand fans by also delivering a brand’s story and image. I’m looking forward to working with brands that are passionate about creating more fans!