One of Sato's distinctive strengths is its direct sales system―the excellent direct connection with pharmacies and drugstores which has been built up over the years. As orders are received and processed, consumer needs can be quickly assessed. Then, from its ve regional distribution centers, Sato can swiftly and efntly respond and provide the products desired.

Direct-sales system and fast, next-day-delivery of OTC products

Sato Pharmaceutical is directly connected to its pharmacy, drugstore and other customers, so through the process of selling its products, the company is better able to gauge consumer needs and use this feedback for the quick development of new products and services. Product orders are sent from the sales staff's mobile terminals to headquarters' computers, from which orders are sent to Sato's distribution centers in Tokyo and Osaka. This is a next-day-delivery system, in which orders received by evening are received by the pharmacies and drugstores the next day.

Creating new channels and increasing distribution speed

Because of deregulation, nutritional tonics, vitamins and other non-medicinal products can now be sold at convenience stores, supermarkets, train station kiosks and other retail outlets. Because of this easier access to Sato products, a distribution system was created that meant that products were not shipped from the distribution center, but directly from the factory to the wholesaler and on to the convenience store or other outlet. For ethical pharmaceuticals, Sato has created a network with wholesalers that can cover a wide range of consumer demands.

Introduction of a cooperative delivery system reduces costs and CO2 emissions

Automated picking lines and other advanced automation technologies are part of the systems in Sato's high-tech distribution centers in Heiwajima, Tokyo, Osaka, and Sendai. As well as these three distribution centers, the Sapporo and Okinawa distribution centers have been equipped with a warehouse management system (WMS) that provides unied product information control and more efcient warehouse management. To increase the efficiency of small volume ordering, a jointly operated delivery system has been created with other companies. This system is intended to reduce costs, as well as the CO2 emissions produced by delivery trucks.