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“We aim to build an automated manufacturing and component ecosystem in India”

Hiroyuki Aota, president & CEO, Global Panasonic Smart Factory Solutions, on his plans for India

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Hiroyuki Aota, president & CEO, Global Panasonic Smart Factory Solutions.
Hiroyuki Aota, president & CEO, Global Panasonic Smart Factory Solutions.

Today, you announced your plans to strengthen your focus on smart factory solutions. What is your vision and strategy for this business moving forward?

As a brand, we are extensively focusing on delivering complete solutions to our customers and we are pushing this aggressively across all our businesses. We have integrated our welding business and SMT (Surface Mount Technology) equipment business to consolidate our software and hardware capabilities and become an end-to-end integrated Smart Manufacturing Solutions company. The smart factory solutions proposition will enable us to deliver broader, high value-added, smart solutions and services along with world-class hardware to the manufacturing industry. 

We aim to build an automated manufacturing and component ecosystem in India and further push the boundaries of innovation and manufacturing growth in the country. Among other key initiatives planned for the expansion of our smart factory solution infrastructure, we are looking to establish technical centres across the country, which will be used as a strategic base for customers to learn skills that are required to build a digital factory.

What are your plans to ramp up this business and what kind of revenue do you expect in the future?

We will continue to innovate and bring latest smart factory solutions for the Indian market through strategic investments in training programmes, capability enhancements, and alliances with Indian IT companies to become the single point of contact for smart factory solutions. In addition to the technical centre that we plan to setup in Manesar, we will look at investing in more technical centres across the country to showcase our capabilities and strength in smart factory and also help customers skill their employees.

The SMT automation business is largest contributor currently to our smart factory solution presently. Owing to the push given to the phased manufacturing in smartphones, the industry as well as Panasonic’s SMT product has witnessed 4 times growth.

Overall, being leaders in hardware solutions such as SMT, industrial robots and welding business, we will continue to provide customers with these solutions, along with customised software on top of these under our smart factory solutions business. We have set ourselves a target to achieve INR 1000 CR in revenues from this business and we expect solutions and digital manufacturing to contribute 15% to our smart factory business.

Who are these solutions aimed at?

Our solutions can be used in multiple applications across sectors such as 2 & 4 wheelers, mobile, smart meters and energy meters from smart cities and appliances.

With government’s phased manufacturing program and other related initiatives, we believe there is a huge opportunity in mobile manufacturing and the ICT manufacturing industry at large. Similarly, if you see the automotive industry, there is an increased amount of sensors and electronics that are built inside a car today and with our strong legacy of providing SMT machines, high precision robots and other related technology, providing our smart factory solutions to this sector becomes an easy choice.

What are the present challenges in India’s manufacturing ecosystem and how will Panasonic’s smart factory solutions bridge the gap?

India’s manufacturing industry has witnessed significant growth owing to multiple government policies and overall push to boost manufacturing in the country. Government of India’s Make in India program has not only given an impetus to domestic players, but has also attracted a lot of foreign investments. India today stands at a global platform as a hub for manufacturing and this will only grow from here onwards.

One of the growing challenges however in the manufacturing industry is automation and this is where our smart factory solutions will play a critical role. For example, visibility and transparency of the entire manufacturing process has been a growing concern, and this is where our digital reporting solution will bring in a lot of value for customers. Similarly, our Manesar centre will act as a skilling centre for our customers where they can upskill themselves in managing a digital factory.

With our smart factory solutions and our increased focus on providing complete solutions, we believe we are uniquely positioned in the Indian market and will drive the industry forward.

Overall, our solutions will help Indian manufacturers reduce downtime significantly, increase factory efficiency and productivity, resulting into business profitability.

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