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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