Despite a little lift the company received from the weak yen for its third quarter results in December, Panasonic continues to wrestle with company-wide restructuring efforts under the leadership of Kazuhiro Tsuga, who took the company’s helm a year ago.
Panasonic remains one of the best recognized consumer electronics brands in the world.
Yet, Tsuga has told employees and to the world that the dwindling TV business isn’t going to save Panasonic. He believes Panasonic’s much broader business--ranging from solar power to automotive, avionics and home appliances--will eventually lift the company from its rut in the low-margin mass consumer market.
Indeed, unbeknownst to the West, Panasonic has sprawling businesses that encompass many different markets. It’s almost too easy to criticize the company for “having a lack of focus” in its business. But Tsuga sees opportunity in threading those non-traditional, non-consumer products and technologies together with an “eco-related” business focus.
“One thing different about Panasonic from other Japanese CE companies, and this may not be well known outside Japan, is that Panasonic has consistently reached out to tackle, solve and deliver social and business solutions,” explained Richard Doherty, research director at the Envisioneering Group. With multiple research labs around the world, “Panasonic has commercial solutions and strong IP in green energy generation, its efficient use (solar cell to batteries and fuel cells) and health care,” he added.
During his keynote speech earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Tsuga pitched Panasonic's green tech strategy that will be broadly applied across the company’s different product divisions.
But it’s hard to ignore Panasonic’s contributions to consumer entertainment. Because there are many, including DVD, Blu-ray, wearable stereo headsets and high-efficiency H.264 silicon, according to Doherty. In particular, “manufacturing process efficiency remains Panasonic’s strength,” he noted. “From 150-inch Plasma displays to radical 4K UHD displays, Panasonic has repeatedly tamed the materials sciences needed to produce products in large volumes along with the resources efficiencies green-conscious consumers increasingly demand,” added Doherty.
The following slideshow illustrates Panasonic’s wide-ranging arsenal of products and technologies critical to its makeover. The company hopes some of them will become major contributors to its bottom line, sooner than later.
Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga at his keynote speech at the Internatoinal Consumer Electronics Show in 2013