Shiseido

The Project: Connects cosmetics sales outlets to the sales staff and to the factory floor.

The Payoff: Shiseido has cut inventory by 30%. And fewer than 1% of all orders go unfilled because products aren't in stock.

Sultry eyes and dazzling smiles? Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. (SSDOY ) knows all about them. But the company often misjudged demand for its mascara and lipsticks, leaving warehouses full of unsold or returned products. So Shiseido execs assembled a $55 million network linking factories and some 16,000 sales outlets. At department-store counters, Shiseido beauty consultants stay in touch by downloading sales information and uploading data on hot-selling products via their cell phones.

Now Shiseido can keep closer track on what's hot and what's not. The results: Inventory was cut 30% in 2002 and is expected to drop 10% more this year. That's putting a better face on things.

By Irene M. Kunii

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