Panasonic is engineering the future

Author: Carl Pocknell

 

Like virtually all manufacturing organisations Panasonic faces a constant challenge to attract and retain the engineers of the future. I read recently some research by Engineering UK, which found an additional 1.8m engineers and technically qualified people are needed by 2025.

For Panasonic our culture of humility is also a challenge. What most people won’t realise is that for each of the last three decades Panasonic has been the world’s number one patent applicant. It’s not IBM or Microsoft or Apple or Samsung. Panasonic’s culture of relentless innovation is well and truly ingrained – our ability to celebrate and shout about it isn’t quite as strong.

Even against that historical backdrop, it’s my view that there’s never been a better time to join Panasonic, we are on a transformational journey building on a heritage of technology excellence in consumer electronics, to become a credible B2B strategic solutions partner across sectors such as logistics, public services, entertainment, distribution food services and avionics.

Two of my team were recently asked to appear in a corporate video endorsing a life in Panasonic Business. The video only managed to take a few sound bytes from each, but I thought what was left on the cutting room floor was a very interesting insight in to what life as an engineer at Panasonic is all about.

So I thought I’d share what it means to be on the front-line for engineering within Panasonic, from Richard Bryan and Emyr Kirkman.

 

Emyr Kirkman, Programme Manager, Panasonic System Solutions Europe

“I’ve been part of Panasonic for more than 15 years now. I would say my career highlight to date was working for 18 months in London in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics. I led the team that delivered the security and systems that provided everyone with an unforgettable experience of this iconic sporting event.

It is not always about solving customer challenges but solving societal challenges too. I believe our strong consumer DNA puts us in a special position. As we truly understand consumers, we are able to help our B2B customers better understand their own consumers.

We use quality procedures such as Lean Six Sigma which is built on the Japanese ethos of Kaizen. Processes like that create very valuable engineering tools that focus on the customer.

The solutions we develop give our customers the freedom to get on with their daily work, in the knowledge that Panasonic’s quality solutions are supporting them.

If you consider our projection technology, Panasonic has been a leader in the shift from lamp-based projection to solid state laser projection. From a user’s point of view laser projection technology is transformative, it means that they can rely on the projector for approximately seven years without any requirement to change lamps or filters. Therefore, the customer has the freedom to concentrate on making the content more appealing, rather than worrying about the reliability of the technology.

We can then actually go beyond that to offer total peace of mind with our cloud based remote monitoring. From our European Service Centre in Cardiff we can monitor run times, temperatures and component life spans so that we can predict any maintenance requirements before they arise.

I’m incredibly proud to know I work for a company that engineers and delivers exactly what the end customer wants. Plus working within a Japanese company gives us a different perspective in Europe, and there’s mutual respect to learn from each region to get better together.”

 

Richard Bryan, Quality Manager, Panasonic System Solutions Europe

“I’ve worked as an engineer at Panasonic for 25 years. I’d say it’s a big part of my role to try to find new ways of improving what we produce, Panasonic certainly allows me to do that. The company invests around six per cent of its global turnover in R&D activities in a constant journey towards engineering excellence.

I don’t believe there is another company that is working on so many different fronts simultaneously. Panasonic is involved in everything from smart homes to airline entertainment systems, from consumer beauty products to rugged computers.

At the same time, Panasonic is only as inventive as it needs to be. There is no point reinventing the wheel if the wheel already exists. Panasonic’s approach to R&D is with the viewpoint that quality is paramount. So if we can do it better we will, but we always return to the main point - which is fixing the customer’s problems.  When we launch a new product we always try to ensure that part of it is patented, this process encourages our engineers to constantly reinvent often well-established and proven technologies.  

The range of different disciplines within Panasonic – from software to hardware – gives me the opportunity to adapt my career path within the business. Panasonic has maintained strong family principles of integrity, fairness and ethics as it has expanded globally. These principles are reflected in everything we do and the solutions we provide to the market.

After spending nine months in Japan working at Panasonic’s headquarters, I loved learning more about the Japanese culture and their hospitality was unbeatable. You certainly can have all sorts of days and experience within Panasonic, all around the world. What’s unwavering is the culture & ethos which centres on quality.”

 

For more on careers at Panasonic, please visit: http://business.panasonic.eu/careers

 

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