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Panasonic India takes charge of wiring device innovation and export expansion

November 2, 2023 5:20 pm

Panasonic India takes charge of wiring device innovation and export expansion

The impact of Panasonic’s investments in its Sri City plant emphasises the company’s commitment to India and its goal to enhance production capabilities, quality, and efficiency.

Panasonic, a renowned 100-year-old company, has established a significant presence in India’s power business, focusing strongly on wiring devices. The company’s rich history and emotional connection to India, coupled with innovative manufacturing practices at the Sri City plant, drive its commitment to expanding in the southern region and promoting exports to the Middle East and Africa. This strategic vision underscores Panasonic’s dedication to contributing to India’s growth and a better world. Rajesh Nandwani, Director of Power BU- Panasonic Electric Works, India, in an interview with EPR Magazine gives an insight into the goals and achievements of the company. 

What are the key factors and strategies your company employed to achieve its goal and expansion plans?

We are the number one brand in India regarding wiring devices. Currently, we produce approximately 62 crore pieces, which is equivalent to 620 million pieces annually. With the growing brand acceptance and our commitment to excellence, we aim to scale up our production to a staggering 1000 million pieces annually by 2030.

Our power business contributes nearly 75 percent of the total sales of battery electric works. Panasonic is a 100 years old company. We are focused on India and especially Anchor because Panasonic’s first product itself was a fast switch wiring device, which is our core product. So, there is an emotional connection and synergy also. Anchor, our subsidiary company, started its operations in Mumbai. Our first plant was established in Gujarat, Valsad, near Daman, which remains one of our oldest plants.

Subsequently, in 2004, we expanded our manufacturing capabilities in Haridwar, taking advantage of excise duty benefits. At that time, we operated two units in Haridwar. In 2014, when the need for expansion became apparent, we naturally turned to the South, a crucial market for us, contributing more than 20 percent of our total sales. To better serve our customers and reduce lead times, we established a factory in Sri City, strategically located at the border of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Before this, our materials were transported from Haridwar to Bangalore, taking more than ten days.

Panasonic-Switch

What improvements and innovations have been implemented at the Sri City facility to enhance efficiency and meet the market’s demand?

Thanks to our Sri City facility, we have managed to trim down the lead time by five to six days, resulting in a significant efficiency improvement. The key objective behind this expansion was to ensure a faster delivery to our customers, be closer to the market, and grow our market share in the region. We are talking about the specifics of our Sri City plant. This plant has not only met but exceeded the expectations set by our Japanese counterparts. It represents the latest innovation in manufacturing for Panasonic wiring devices. We have invested in high-speed automation machines, and some can produce fully assembled 1 lakh switches without any human intervention. Such high levels of automation are unprecedented in our industry.

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We have implemented automated guided vehicles (AGVs) within the plant. In our older facilities, human labour was involved in transporting materials for both finished goods and raw materials. However, we have learned from our Japanese colleagues and integrated AGVs into our Sri City plant. These robots handle all material transport within the facility, eliminating the need for human intervention. Even more remarkable is that we have synchronised these AGVs with our assembly line, ensuring a seamless and efficient production process.

Furthermore, we have embraced the power of the Internet of Things (IoT). The entire factory dashboard is available for real-time monitoring. A large screen in our facility provides a clear view of the plant’s performance, productivity, production quantity, quality, losses, safety, energy consumption, and maintenance. This transparency not only allows us to maintain a tight grip on our operations but also helps us fine-tune our processes for optimal efficiency.

What are the themes and strategies for your power business in the future, and how do you plan to execute them?

As we look to the future of our power business, two major themes will guide our strategy. First, we aim to expand and enhance our presence in the southern region by establishing a new plant in Sri City. The South remains our primary market for future growth.

Secondly, we are committed to promoting our export business. We are proud to introduce our subsidiary, Panasonic Electric Works India,’ which we have affectionately named ‘PEWI.’ We envision PEWI as the hub for exporting our Panasonic electric wiring products to the Middle East and Africa. As we have already begun, our goal is to strengthen our presence in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and neighbouring South Asian nations like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

To demonstrate our commitment to this initiative, we have already established partnerships with key distributors in the Middle East and Africa. In 2021, we tied up with a distributor for the Middle East, and in 2022, we partnered with Tanzania’s largest conglomerates. These partnerships are significant steps towards solidifying our presence in these regions.

We are dedicated to expanding our electrical construction materials business in India and continuously contributing to the growth of Indian society. We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and the journey towards a better life and a better world.

SpokespersonRajesh Nandwani, Director, Power BU- Panasonic Electric Works, India

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