Case Study: Kawada
Founded in 1952, Kawada Japan is Japan’s largest independent toy wholesaler employing over 370 people. Kawada is the creator and manufacturer of popular brands including nanoblock®, papernano® and terablock®, which are sold in over 35 countries. The have a large retail network which extends to over 1000 quality stores. Their purpose is to bring the joy and wonder of toys to people of all ages.

In 2017 Kawada Japan established it’s first regional office in Melbourne, Australia to better service their Australia/NZ market which included 1000 retail stores and their growing online channel.


Kawada’s presence in the Australian market had been steadily growing and with that, so had their stock levels. The trigger that made them re-think how they could better manage their own stock, was when large trucks were arriving at their makeshift warehouse in a suburban street, and then how do they unload increasing volumes of stock as they didn’t own a forklift. Understanding they needed help, Kawada issued a RFP to several 3PL businesses who came recommended to them, including Cross Docks. Not surprisingly price was an important factor in their decision making process, and while Cross Docks was competitive, they missed out on the being the successful tenderer, coming in a close second.

After several years with their chosen 3PL Kawada started to experience some issues. They didn’t feel they had full transparency over their inventory levels, customer complaints were on the rise and they soon found themselves spending time chasing orders, rectifying stock levels and talking to irate customers. The whole process was labour intensive and increasingly stressful for their own staff. It didn’t feel right to be so involved in inventory management when they were paying someone else to do this on their behalf

Reputational risk

Rather than re-tendering, Kawada went back to the list of potential 3PL’s from their first RFP, and knew Cross Docks was the 3PL for them. They knew what they wanted, and just as importantly what they didn’t want. While price was absolutely a key factor, Kawada knew they had consider other factors to reduce reputational risk associated with pick errors. Cross Docks had the numbers to show their exceptional delivery pick rate, and how their WMS (from Microlistics) is the foundation and strength of their success.


Kawada knew something had to change. Although the thought of going through yet another tender process, moving stock, setting up the EDI (Electronic Data Interface) was not something they wanted to do, or envisaged they would to do. But they had to improve the service levels their customers were expecting of them. Their brand reputation was at risk.SS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Seamless Transition

What Kawada thought was going to be a major headache, was anything but that. Moving from the existing 3PL to Cross Docks was fast, efficient and most surprising – with only one week’s down time. This was all achieved during a global pandemic when Cross Docks was making major internal changes to their operations and all clients experienced business as usual, including Kawada. What also came as a pleasant surprise to Kawada was that Cross Docks managed most of the logistics including transfer of the stock and booking transport.


During their site visit, Kawada could physically see the extensive automation used across the Cross Docks warehouse, and how this was front and centre to their success, and the success and brand reputation of the Cross Docks clients. The WMS used by Cross Docks and powered by Microlistics is world class. Kawada and their customers are now reaping the benefits of this automation.

Customer Experience

For Kawada they now get full transparency over their stock, in real time as well as freight pricing. Orders are going out on time with no errors which is a huge timesaver for staff who no longer have to chase incorrect orders. And they have said good-bye to manual spreadsheets, which has reduced the risk of errors and a poor customer experience.
Their online customers are now experiencing a near perfect service when they order stock. And because of Cross Docks they now receive an auto generated email to let them know their order is on the way. And can track their orders online.
Before making the final decision, Kawada’s leadership team did a tour of the Cross Docks site in North Laverton. What really stood out for them was just how efficiently and smoothly the warehouse ran. “Shan (MD) runs a tight ship – and it shows”.


  • The transition was seamless and occurred with only one weeks’ down time – and during a global pandemic.
  • By moving to Cross Docks, Kawada can now focus on growing their business as they no longer spend time chasing stock.
  • The service Kawada has experienced from Cross Docks is exactly what they were sold.
  • What Kawada have now is a ‘really reliable 3PL who ships our orders on the same day or next day, with a zero to low error rate.
  • Staff are less stressed because they no longer have to speak to irate customers who have received the wrong order.
  • Kawada leadership and managers can focus on their substantive roles and go back to being an operations manager and not a warehouse manager.