Integrating the virtual and the physical

The Last Inch to IoT


President's Message


Bridging the last inch of the last mile connecting people, things and information to become the leader in the Auto-ID solutions industry worldwide

Since our founding in 1940, SATO has constantly worked to provide innovative products and services under our management philosophy of contributing to society through ceaseless creativity. Our founder Yo Sato invented the hand labeler in 1962 to simplify the laborious task of price marking after seeing how it was done manually. The product became a best-seller. As times changed and the use of barcodes to automate data input/collection for item-level identification became increasingly popular, we innovated again, inventing the world’s first thermal transfer barcode printer in 1981.

While our business has since progressed in line with the development of barcode, RFID and other Auto-ID technologies, the aspirations of our founder to contribute to society have always remained at the heart of it all. Today, we continue to seek improvements in customers’ productivity by attaching identifiers to people and objects right at business sites and collecting data for IT systems in versatile formats. SATO’s mission is in this business of matching data to people and things, and delivering Auto-ID solutions that bridge the last inch of our customer’s last mile challenges.

Also unchanged since our founding is our customers’ sites being the starting point for our business. Matching data to people and things cannot be done in theory alone as it requires the physical process of tagging under conditions and environments unique to each user, no matter how far technology advances. That’s why we visit our customers’ sites of operation to understand how people and things move, see problems for ourselves, and repeat trial and error until we reach solutions to bridge that last inch. We also have a system that allows employees to report what they learn/discover at customer sites directly to top management in the form of regular, short reports so as to reflect these insights/findings in our business activities. This unique system, which we call Teiho and has been in effect since 1976, is what I believe allows us to take a customer first approach to initiate small changes that become big changes. This characterizes SATO’s strength.

We are now in the IoT era where everything connects to the Internet, and businesses must transform themselves using Big Data. This trend is a huge business opportunity for us, because such massive amounts of data are only possible by collecting reliable “small data.” This is our expertise that comes from the accumulation of reliable small data and our understanding of customers’ operations. Going forward, we will continue to create new value in product quality, traceability, customer satisfaction, automation to improve and manage productivity to enable workstyle reforms by actively pursuing open innovation and strategic partnerships that incorporate our core Auto-ID technologies with other technologies/processes, all under the common concept of matching data to people and things. We will also fortify our unique positioning as a corporate group that bridges the “last inch to IoT” on the front lines of businesses.

Starting off as a small neighborhood factory, SATO now has presence in 25 countries around the world. Our Auto-ID solutions and key business drivers in our corporate values and Genbaryoku (on-site, hands-on approach to problem-solving) are what we hope to spread globally to achieve further growth. The SATO Group will strive as one to take new challenges readily and move our business forward to become the most trusted partner of choice for customers in an ever-changing world, and fulfill our vision of being the leader in the Auto-ID solutions industry worldwide. On behalf of our employees and the management, I thank you and ask for your continued support in our businesses.

President and CEO
Ryutaro Kotaki