First, let's look at our logistics worksite expertise. Toshiba's logistics operations are supported by warehouse management systems (WMS). WMS are systems for managing inventory and operations within warehouses. Toshiba's WMSs were developed based on the expertise regarding warehouse logistics worksites that we have accrued through our years as a manufacturer. This includes not only merchandise receiving, merchandise dispatching, and inventory management, but also the management of cargo allocation for trucks, truck dispatching and receiving, and cargo loading and unloading. Our WMSs visualize and analyze warehouse inventory and truck conditions, providing an understanding of work progress throughout the warehouse. This makes it possible to issue accurate and appropriate work instructions to personnel. The greatest strength of these systems is that they can backtrack from truck departure times to plan when to unload inventory and load it onto trucks and to create corresponding work instructions. The systems' analysis and simulation results contribute to overall warehouse efficiency improvements such as by optimizing personnel and inventory allocation. We provide these functions through our Warehouse management Package*.
* Warehouse management Package is not currently available for purchase outside Japan.
Next, let's turn our attention to intelligent robots. Toshiba robots perform precise unloading, transport, picking, and other operations, working with diverse types of warehouse inventory that comes in various weights and sizes and responding to changing worksite conditions. Toshiba's manufacturing DNA dates back over 140 years. We have maintained that DNA to this very day, using it in our intelligent robot development. These robots are controlled by warehouse control systems (WCS). WCSs are systems that control the equipment in warehouses, monitoring and issuing commands to robots in real time.
Last, let's look at our optimization technologies. Toshiba has the world's third highest* number of submitted patent applications for AI-based optimization and mathematical optimization technologies. We combine them to create advanced optimization technologies. These optimization technologies make it possible to forecast work results based on work contents and constantly changing environmental conditions, and then to use those forecasts to create ideal work plans. Employing these plans when performing work raises the level of efficiency in warehouses.
* WIPO Technology Trends 2019 Artificial Intelligence
Toshiba's WESs utilize optimization technology and Toshiba's expertise in warehouses and robots to appropriately allocate work to people and robots. The optimized work plans proposed by WESs, based on the characteristics and capabilities of people and robots, are used by WMSs to issue instructions to personnel and by WCSs to issue instructions to robots. This is warehouse automation by "the Best pairing" with manpower and material handling. Furthermore, WESs contribute to the efficiency of the overall warehouse operation by its function of monitoring the real-time work progress of both humans and robots, and by flexibly reflecting suddenly occurring works in work plans.
Toshiba's WESs can be connected to WMSs and WCSs from other companies. Verification work is currently underway regarding integration with various systems and devices. One example of this integration is customers using their WMSs to issue work instructions to personnel based on optimized personnel work plans created with a Toshiba WES. Another is using open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to connect various robots and material handling equipment to the WES and operate them.