Panasonic revamps business fields, puts more focus on energy sector

Kyodo

Panasonic Corp. has reorganized its business fields and two wholly owned units into three main groups as it moves to put greater emphasis on the energy sector.

The major electronics maker’s business fields as of Sunday are now divided into three groups — consumer, components and devices, and solutions — after it restructured five segments.

Its 16 divisions were consolidated into nine, including appliances, energy and health care, under the three business fields.

The move is aimed at expanding Panasonic’s energy-solutions business by selling energy-saving products such as solar batteries and LED lighting as a package to owners of homes, retail shops and buildings, an operation the company is trying to establish as one of its group pillars amid slumping television sales.

The Sanyo and Panasonic Electric brand names will be phased out.

By building on the strengths of Sanyo’s energy business and Panasonic Electric’s housing-equipment operations, the company aims to grow its “comprehensive solutions” business into a ¥1 trillion revenue source by 2018.

To revitalize its consumer electronics business, the company has adopted a marketing strategy of targeting specific customer segments for its household appliances, including rice cookers and cosmetic appliances such as curling irons.

For example, its compact washing machine targeted at households of small families saw bigger than expected sales following its launch in April, said Yukio Nakashima, executive officer in charge of marketing.

“We targeted unspecified customers previously, believing the products would sell well if they were good,” Nakashima said. “We can create demand if we specify our (target markets).”

Regarding its comprehensive solutions business, Panasonic is aiming to deliver a combination of energy-saving equipment, including rechargeable batteries, in single packages to houses and stores as well as to provide maintenance and inspection for the equipment.

“It is a business to offer solutions to the problems customers have,” Panasonic Senior Managing Executive Officer Shusaku Nagae said. “By providing maintenance and consulting, we will create a new business model.”