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Shinsen: Tapping into the power of technology to produce and deliver fresh food

About Shinsen

Shinsen is one of the largest ultra-fresh food production companies in Switzerland, offering direct-to-consumer and commercial services. The company also maintains a Japanese restaurant in Zurich.

Industries: Other
Location: Switzerland

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About Wabion

Google Cloud partner Wabion guides companies through digital transformation using Google Cloud, Google Workspace, and Google Maps Platform solutions.

Wabion helped Shinsen unlock the power of the Google Cloud app development stack and collaboration solutions to transform its business and maximize efficiency across the process for producing and distributing food.

Google Cloud results

  • Bolsters visibility into 1,000 raw materials, each with 120 tracking elements
  • Increases time to market for new product offerings
  • Enables fast changes to business model

Enables creation of new B2C business model in a few weeks

Dining and grocery shopping today are at once global and local, with food producers often relying on a range of offerings to meet their customers’ needs. As demands for more products—and faster time to market of those products—has increased, technology has become vital in supporting every stage of food creation and delivery, especially when it comes to reducing waste and ensuring freshness.

Shinsen, a prominent producer and distributor of healthy urban and Japanese foods in Switzerland, launched in 1996 with a mission to provide Zurich consumers and retailers with the highest-quality goods. The company uses a range of technologies to power its supply chain management, with a focus on food safety and speeding new product delivery.

After recognizing the need for a new approach to enterprise resource planning (ERP), Shinsen decided to build its own system in efforts to keep costs down and flexibility high and power an intelligent approach to product management.

“We manage more than 1,000 raw materials in production, each with roughly 120 descriptive fields to properly track them, including allergens, nutritional values, technical information, and more,” says Jurgen Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer at Shinsen. “We wanted to integrate in the cloud all our base data, be it on raw materials, semi-finished goods, employees, customers, etc. with our business processes. We knew we needed a highly customized platform to achieve the right visibility and integration.”

Jurgen turned to Google Cloud solutions with the help of partner Wabion to modernize its data management.

“Working with Google Cloud and Wabion, we’ve been able to support the production processes we need—from simple to highly complex—without any negative impacts on time to market or on product quality and safety.”

Jurgen Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer, Shinsen

Technology-driven food production

To thrive in its market, Shinsen has to be quick to develop new products and bring them to market. This is no simple task due to the enormous complexities of dealing with 1,000 raw materials, as well as adhering to government regulations, quality assurance procedures, supplier qualification, and other management demands. The company also has to be able to adapt to ever-changing demands and produce new products to meet changing customer expectations.

“The complexities of our business could slow us down, but we’ve taken a technology-first approach to overcome challenges,” says Jurgen. “Working with Google Cloud and Wabion, we’ve been able to support the production processes we need—from simple to highly complex—without any negative impacts on time to market or on product quality and safety.”

As Shinsen didn’t want to be pigeon-holed by a monolithic ERP system, Wabion stepped in to help create something more flexible and dynamic. Based on Shinsen’s positive experiences with Google Workspace and desire to have a highly integrated data management experience, Wabion worked to connect various systems to the core platform of Firebase, specifically Firestore.

Connecting Firebase to Sheets and Apps Script opened the doors to an entirely new way of working.

“With Sheets and Apps Script connected to the Firebase backbone, we can integrate data with our process and automate workflows,” says Jurgen. “This helps us to avoid issues related to siloed data, as well as achieve the flexibility we need to best manage our food production and distribution.”

“As a fresh food company, our customers expect us to produce, ship, and deliver on their orders the same day. To accomplish that, we need the right IT solutions and support to serve our customers and efficiently manage our base data and core processes. Google Cloud and Wabion are a perfect fit for us.”

Jurgen Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer, Shinsen

Increased speed and visibility for better food production

Wabion brought invaluable technical expertise to Shinsen, including knowledge of Firebase, Angular, and NodeJS. The partner took a consultative approach, first understanding Shinsen’s needs and objectives and then outlining an ideal platform to cover the full view.

Shinsen’s dynamic database, courtesy of Wabion’s expertise and Google Cloud solutions, achieved the flexibility the company was looking for and included an advanced editor to enable structural database adjustments as needed. Shinsen used the much higher volume of interconnections between data tables to increase the number of attributes for each raw material from 70 to 120.

“Shinsen has embraced a cloud-first philosophy that has given us the opportunity to build a specific ERP solution to enhance and transform Shinsen’s core processes. The result is a testament to the possibilities of Google Cloud, as well as the value of having a partner like Wabion to unlock the power of technology.”

Michael Gomez, Managing Director, Wabion Switzerland

“As a fresh food company, our customers expect us to produce, ship, and deliver on their orders the same day,” says Jurgen. “To accomplish that, we need the right IT solutions and support to serve our customers and efficiently manage our materials. Google Cloud and Wabion are a perfect fit for us.” Shinsen today enjoys a cost-effective mix of IT solutions built off Firebase, allowing the company to quickly create new functions and adjust workflows to reduce mistakes, increase time to market, and more. Wabion also viewed this project as an excellent example of how best to approach new cloud services.

“It’s one thing to have everything in a cloud-native environment, but an entirely different matter to actually take advantage of a cloud-first philosophy. Shinsen has embraced a cloud-first philosophy that has given us the opportunity to build a specific ERP solution to enhance and transform Shinsen’s core processes,” says Michael Gomez, Managing Director at Wabion Switzerland. “The result is a testament to the possibilities of Google Cloud, as well as the value of having a partner like Wabion to unlock the power of technology.”

Collaboration yields opportunities for new services

Shinsen’s highly collaborative work environment requires that all of its employees have fast, accurate access to all details about food materials, orders, and more. After struggling to enable reliable collaboration with its legacy productivity toolset, Jurgen implemented Google Workspace. Now, along with the Firebase integrations, Shinsen can efficiently maintain and share all essential work details in one place.

The collaborative foundation enabled by the Google Cloud platform enabled Shinsen to easily move to remote work when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The lockdown in Zurich strongly impacted its consumer base. Outside of its standalone Japanese restaurant, the company’s products were always mainly purchased by office workers.

“Suddenly, all of our consumers were at home and didn’t purchase our products in the normal inner city locations,” says Jurgen. “In response, we decided to start a new direct-to-consumer service model to keep our customers well fed in these extraordinary times.”

Using the backbone established by Wabion and Google Cloud solutions, Shinsen stood up a delivery service called Bowlz in just two weeks. It quickly became a big success in Zurich. Each week, three different bowls are offered, and Shinsen handles the ordering, processing, production, and delivery process rather than relying on third parties.

“Having everything in the cloud enabled us to adjust quickly to the pandemic and lockdown. In short order, we had bike couriers delivering our products to customers at home,” says Jurgen. “Integrated workflows and our technology-driven approach to operations is having a profoundly positive impact on our business, and the best is yet to come.”

Square black tray with artfully laid out sushi

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Shinsen

Shinsen is one of the largest ultra-fresh food production companies in Switzerland, offering direct-to-consumer and commercial services. The company also maintains a Japanese restaurant in Zurich.

Industries: Other
Location: Switzerland

About Wabion

Google Cloud partner Wabion guides companies through digital transformation using Google Cloud, Google Workspace, and Google Maps Platform solutions.