The demands for outsourcing household chores and home cleaning are growing in response to societal changes. Working couples have been increasing along with the advancement of women's roles in society; the number of singles has also been rising due to aging and late marriage. These demands reflect people's needs for extra support in the home, and particularly for seniors, help with tasks requiring physical strength and safety considerations. Our Care Service Businesses* have been responding to these social issues and needs. In FY2018, its promotional effort to recruit new franchisees resulted in an increase of 82 locations to achieve a total of 2,607 in all five businesses compared to the previous year.
In the senior service sector, Health Rent and Life Care provide assisted-living and health care products, and support for seniors' independent living to help seniors lead a comfortable life. Life Care provides services that are not covered by long-term care insurance to assist seniors in living and to reduce the burden of family caregivers. In FY2018, the number of Life Care locations slightly dropped from the previous year due to the impact of rebranding, while Health Rent increased by five locations to 150.
At Food Group, Mister Donut has been working on the initiative to make shops non-smoking all day or at certain times of a day, or to limit smoking to a designated section in a shop.
Under the revised Health Promotion Law that will take effect in April 2020, further preventative measures against secondhand smoke will be required. In response, Mister Donut decided to change all the shops with an isolated smoking section or a smoking section with an air purifier into completely non-smoking shops or shops with a smoking booth where neither eating nor drinking is allowed. Mister Donut is planning to complete the change by March 2020.
Mister Donut continues to focus on providing a safe and comfortable shop environment so that customers with children can drop in at ease and employees can work in good health.
Our Prevention of Special Frauds Mats help people be protected from special frauds, a nationwide problem. Cooperating with prefectural police, we enlighten and raise the public's awareness by proposing that our Prevention of Special Frauds Mats be placed at financial institutions. This activity has been expanding throughout Japan, and as of March 2019, a total of 13,000 custom-made mats were placed in front of automated teller machines at financial institutions and convenience stores in 40 prefectures.
Our customers have voiced their enthusiastic appreciation for this program, and in particular our efforts to achieve the goal of zero victims by printing the prefectural police names and numbers on the mats. Our CSR activity in prevention of crimes with these mats was recognized and awarded in October 2016 as an Anticrime CSR Fulfilling Enterprise by the National Crime Protection CSR Promotion Committee.
In 2012, the Sow the Seeds of Cleanliness Classrooms started with the hope to help develop children's potential through supporting school education activities. These classrooms are on-site lessons targeted at elementary school children. In a 45-minute lesson, we help children learn what dust and dirt are, explain why cleaning is necessary and teach them how to use cleaning tools such as dust cloths and brooms so that the children can apply the knowledge to cleaning at school and home. This program was held at 2,704 schools nationwide for a total of 236,155 children educated as of March 2019.
Since 2008, the seminars have been held for schoolteachers who have asked for ways to improve their students' abilities during cleaning times at school. Collaborating with the teachers, we have developed programs showing how cleaning routines at school can be improved and how to instruct children on cleaning. The seminars were held at 275 school boards for a total of 7,036 teachers as of March 2019.
If a supplier in the supply chain is affected by a natural disaster and suspends product supply, it can cause customers considerable inconvenience, especially in our dust control business. To prevent this, Duskin has developed a supply chain continuity plan for the key dust control products.
For the contracted food processing plants to process raw materials or products, our Quality Assurance & Risk Management team conducts several types of inspections, including comprehensive qualification for new contractors, inspection of their production operation and periodic inspections of all contractors. Our inspection specialists for food processing plants conduct extensive quality inspections, with more than 400 items on our checklist for facility management, process management, sanitary management and production management. All plants are evaluated and ranked by the results of inspections and other evaluation items. Periodic inspections are conducted regularly (one to three years) depending on the plants' rankings.
In FY2018, 10 new contractor plants including two overseas plants were inspected, and a regular inspection was performed at 30 plants.