Case Studies

How a Japanese Company Cut 80% of the Time Needed to Manually Count Pearls

The Sea God told Hoori:

If your elder brother should attack you, put forth the tide-flowing jewel to drown him. If he expresses grief, put forth the tide-ebbing jewel to let him live. Thus shall you harass him.

In Japanese legends, pearls are depicted as tide jewels, having the power to control the water flow.

Worldwide, the pearl is well-known as a symbol of purity, health, longevity and wealth. In history, natural pearl was used as jewelry as far back as the 7th century BC in Persia. The brilliance and beauty of the pearl has continued to attract women ever since.

To supply good quality pearls to their customers, Eiko Pearl strives to maintain a high standard. To meet it, they purchase almost all raw pearl material directly from farmers. Their suppliers are not only limited to domestic origin, but spread across the world, in countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and Tahiti.

They also create finished pearl jewelry products at their company, like rings, pendants or earrings.

Since Eiko Pearl was established in 1963 in Mie, they have been operating as a specialized pearl trading company. They have managed to adapt to changing times and have delivered pearls all over the world for more than half a century. They have over 1300 clients in 30 countries, most of them being jewelry retailers, department stores and wholesalers.

Before they started using CountThings from Photos, counting pearls took almost 100 hours a year. After installing this app, the time needed for counting pearls has been reduced by 80%. It takes only 20 hours now.

Counting pearls is necessary for the pearl industry, so it’s priority work for the staff. Once we receive pearls from farmers or auctions, we need to count them.

The counter they had in the past could only fit 100 pieces at a time. For lower numbers, they used a bar: to count 23, they would slide the bar to 10x2 (20 pieces), then put 3 extra pieces into the next 10 slots.

When we count 10 times, sometimes, we forget how many times we have counted, so we might need to do it again. This takes more time. Also, if one pearl drops, then we need to find it. A pearl has a round shape, so it rolls to unexpected places. Sometimes, it takes 30 minutes to find one pearl.

On the other hand, CountThings from Photos can count 1000 pieces in one shot. Even larger numbers of pearls can be counted in a second.

As a result, this app not only helps Eiko Pearl to cut 80% of the time needed for counting pearls, but it also helps them reduce 3 months of labor cost.

When taking inventory, they had 2 members of the staff counting pearls and it took 2 full days.

They automated their process using CountThings from Photos, now they only need one person to count the pearls and it takes only half a day.

We use the extra hours to keep a good relationship with clients. We interview the clients and after feedback, we buy the pearls that they need. We get more time for this, our sales went up by 40% compared to the last period.

For as long as humans have lived near water, they have appreciated pearls. These rare and hard to collect natural gems have fascinated people so much that they gave birth to countless legends and stories all over the world. The symbolism of pearls is both constant and universal, associated with beauty, purity and wealth, throughout history and across cultures.