In early 2014, BU Chains APAC and the Japan Foodservice team were told by KFC Japan that they did not have any need for a thawing solution in their Japanese outlets, since that only 20% of their Chicken products were frozen. This news meant that the thawing cabinet opportunity with KFC Japan was lost.
However, to us it was clear since the very beginning that we should not gave up. A change of tactic required a greater effort. It was necessary to gain deeper understanding in the areas of food safety, make clear to the customer the simplification of operations and the enhancement of the quality KFC’s frozen products would have obtained after the cooking process.
After many discussions with senior representatives from KFC Japan – including representatives from QA, R&D, Supply Chain, and restaurant excellence - it was clear that all the factors we proposed as improvement opportunities were indeed important to KFC, and the journey to prove Electrolux as the winning solution for thawing cabinets began in December 2014. The set goal was to incorporate the thawing solution into all of the 1,200 KFC stores in Japan.
Positive results from the lab testing meant a progression from the single store test to multiple outlets.
Understandably, due to such a critical aspect of the product quality, the process has been slow and steady and the pace of test expansion was dictated by the customer.
Throughout the entire process (including the communication and support between the APAC BU Chains and Commercial team in Japan) challenges did not miss, above all ensure that every step of the testing process resulted in a positive and good outcome for the KFC team.
We are delighted to report, that in July 2016, the senior management team of KFC Japan has endorsed the Electrolux Professional system and signed an official purchase agreement with the Electrolux Japan office, which has signalled the commencement of what is expected to develop into a country wide implementation of the winning thawing cabinet solution.
“Focusing on the benefits for the customer, and using the experience gained in other territories, we drove through this opportunity. The support and collaboration among the Electrolux Japan team, the BU Chains program management, R&D, and even the support from Southeast Asia’s technical management have been fundamental to bring the thawing cabinet solution with KFC Japan to fruition” says Gregg Yanagihara, Director BU Chains APAC.
Doug Walker (SVP Commercial APAC/MEA) added “This is undoubtely one of the success stories achieved through teamship and collaboration, thanks to which we overcame the initial reticence of the customer and brought to reality a major engagement in one of the most recognised and respected global chains.”
From KFC, Mr. Akira Sakabe (Director of Supply Chain KFC Japan) summarized by stating that “We appreciate Electrolux local and global team's strong passion for innovation. Yes, kitchen environment improvement and cost savings from efficient operation have huge impact for KFC Japan's profitable growth. Electrolux's Thawing Cabinet is only one product involved in this revolution. No other international and Japanese domestic manufacturer can supply such a unique but value product.
And never forget that business is running with human being. I think the key point of the decision to work with Electrolux is because of its very positive and enthusiastic approach, both by Electrolux's local team as well as the international team.”
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