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'We will make India a global manufacturing hub'

By Arnab Dutta
April 13, 2016 13:11 IST
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PanasonicIndia contributes less than two per cent to Panasonic’s Rs 4.74 lakh crore ($71 billion) global revenue.

However, Manish Sharma, the new president and chief executive of Panasonic India and South Asia, aims to improve that ratio by increasing enterprise businesses such as security & surveillance and energy storage.

Sharma, who is now a part of the Japanese major’s global executive council, tells Arnab Dutta about his plans and new responsibilities.

Excerpts:

What are the new responsibilities under your new role?

In my new role as president and CEO of Panasonic India & South Asia, I will be solely responsible for Panasonic’s India operations.

This implies all the group and sister companies will also report to me.

The group companies are Panasonic Appliances, Panasonic AVC India, Panasonic Energy India, Panasonic Carbon India, Anchor Electricals, and Firepro Systems.

I shall be responsible for driving profitable growth along with strategy planning and sustainable business development across businesses.

It is a big step-up for me professionally and personally.

Until now, I was mainly focused on the sales and marketing of the company but now I will also be in-charge of the manufacturing arm of the India operations including for sister companies like Anchor Electricals.

Also, I will be looking more closely into product planning and supply chain management.

What are your current priorities?

I’m entrusted with strategic role. My focus will be on building new business for the company in the country.

My priority is to scale up our B2B (business-to-business) focus, especially in areas like energy storage and security and surveillance.

We have been largely focusing on the B2C (business-to-consumer) market in the country and generate Rs 5,200 crore (Rs 52 billion) revenue from it.

Going forward, our business strategy will witness a change as we also start to focus aggressively on the B2B market.

We are aiming a revenue target of Rs 20,000 crore ($3 billion) in India by 2018.

In addition, I will keep the momentum going when it comes to growing our consumer businesses because that’s what connects directly with our consumers.

It continues to be the driving force for us in India and we want to consolidate our position as a leading brand in the various B2C segments.

How will your elevation to a global role help the Indian unit?

Efforts would be made to make India an even bigger contributor to Panasonic’s growth and revenue.

My elevation goes hand-in-hand with the philosophy ‘Think globally but execute locally’.

The elevation will allow me to access more information and contribute more closely with global strategies.

It will allow me to extract more resources for the India division.

Where does India stand in the pecking order of importance for Panasonic globally?

India is definitely high up in the pecking order.

We already play a crucial role in the South-Asia region and have huge opportunity to be a growth leader, even when we talk about the wider APAC (Asia-Pacific) region.

Even at a global level, India is crucial in Panasonic’s growth and revenue.

We are working towards making India a global manufacturing hub to assist in exporting to West Asian and African markets.

The setting up of our Techno-Park at Jhajjar model economic township in Haryana is one of the biggest milestones for us.

With an invested of about Rs 900 crore (Rs 9 billion) to annually produce one million sets of air conditioners, 400,000 sets of washing machine and 25,000 sets of welding and cutting machine, it is our largest manufacturing unit in the country.

What are Panasonic’s plans for India?

We are currently looking at how to make Panasonic a truly global brand and all our announcements will be around achieving this aim. 

With relation to India, we believe the market holds tremendous untapped potential.

India can be the next growth leader for us.

From a strategic view, India’s contribution to global management strategies will increase.

India business has catapulted in a big-way, whether it is Anchor or, small appliances factory which so far was not under my mandate.

Even from the perspective of management strategies, India’s contribution to Panasonic globally will increase.

Image: Panasonic's Logo at an electronics store in Tokyo. Photograph: Yuya Shino/Reuters

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