Community Relations : Panasonic's Contribution to Society through Its Business
Aiming to Eliminate the Hard Labor of Laundry in Rural Regions of Vietnam
Currently, less than 20 percent of households in rural regions of Vietnam have washing machines.* In these regions, laundry is most often done by women, who spend roughly four hours per day hand washing clothes. In an effort to eliminate this labor, Panasonic Appliances Vietnam (PAPVN), a manufacturer of refrigerators and washing machines, has developed the Super Clean OMO Matic washing machine, which is affordable and especially suited for the living environment in Vietnam, in cooperation with the major detergent manufacturer Unilever.
The Super Clean OMO Matic has an 8kg capacity, optimal for the average household in Vietnam. Equipped with a special mode that makes the most of the cleaning power of Unilever’s OMO Matic laundry detergent, these washing machines are designed specifically for the unique regional environmental characteristics of Vietnam, including low water pressure and unstable voltage. In addition, as part of a new sales system, women who use the fund established by Unilever and Vietnam Women’s Union—a Vietnamese NGO—can purchase one of these machines for a monthly payment of less than 500,000 dong (USD 27).
The Super Clean OMO Matic is a product that we have a great deal of confidence in, specifically because it was developed and then brought to production and market all domestically in Vietnam by Panasonic in the span of just one year from the start of planning, in a joint project launched with Unilever, the largest manufacturer of detergents. Chairman Jan Laurent from Unilever Vietnam said of the product, “The reason we teamed up with Panasonic on this project was because of both their corporate philosophy of social contribution to the people of Vietnam, and their R&D divisions and plants here. We are proud to say that this project will be a big help to women throughout rural Vietnam. Because this project is the first of its kind in Asia, we want to make sure that it is successful.”
PAPVN will continue to strengthen its development of products that help reduce housework and support the raising of children for women in Vietnam.
* Panasonic’s estimate based on Euromonitor, GfK, and other sources.
Water Pumps that Free People from the Hard Labor of Fetching Water
For people everywhere, water provides life itself, and it is essential for ensuring a hygienic lifestyle. Because all too many places in Indonesia lack adequate public water facilities, residents use water from shallow wells, with depths of around 10 meters, for washing and bathing. Fetching well water is frequently a task for women and children. Although the wells may be technically shallow, scooping up water every day is hard labor.
Panasonic's Indonesian manufacturing subsidiary PT. Panasonic Manufacturing Indonesia (PMI) has been producing electrically powered pumps for extracting well water (water pumps) since 1988. In Indonesia, around half of all households have contracts for 450W of electric power. Thus, it was once necessary to switch off lights, televisions, refrigerators, and other electrical devices when using water pumps. Panasonic's water pumps have already been recognized for their low energy consumption (what was previously the smallest type consumed 270W of electricity [for an output* of 125W]). In February 2015, Panasonic launched a product with a power consumption of 120W (output 75W). With this new product, it is now possible to use a water pump at the same time as other electrical devices.
Panasonic will increase its sales of water pumps in Indonesia from 2 million units in fiscal 2014 to 3.3 million units in fiscal 2019, thus contributing to improved living conditions for the people of Indonesia. Panasonic will also make use of the experience that it has gained through its Indonesian water pump business to increase exports from Indonesia and to expand Panasonic’s water pump business globally, with a fiscal 2019 sales target of 4.3 million units—double its sales in fiscal 2014.
By providing water pumps in a manner based on the water facility and well conditions in the particular area, Panasonic will continue to contribute to improving water facilities for people in Asia and the Middle East.
* The capacity of the pump to extract water
The Power Supply Container—Delivering Electricity to Regions Not Yet Electrified
On July 17, 2014, shouts of joy rang throughout an elementary school in the Karimunjawa islands of Indonesia—the power was on! The lights turned on in dim classrooms, ceiling fans blew cool breezes, and projectors displayed lesson materials on large screens. Before then, the region in which this elementary school is located received power from diesel generators at night, but no power was available during the day.
The Power Supply Container—a stand-alone photovoltaic power package developed by Panasonic—comes equipped with 12 Panasonic HIT® 240 high-efficiency solar cell modules and generates around 3kW of electricity. The container also comes equipped with 24 storage batteries (17.2kW), providing a second supply of electricity that can be used. The most striking feature of the product is that it packages all these components in a transportable container so that ordinary electrical installation companies can easily and speedily assemble it. Because of this, not just installation but also future part replacements can be done speedily.
The Japanese Embassy in Indonesia took note of these benefits and selected the Power Supply Container for a public-private partnership project employing a "Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security"*1. The first generator was then sent to the elementary school in the Karimunjawa islands.
There are still about 1.3 billion people around the world who live without electricity.*2 PT. Panasonic Gobel Eco Solutions Manufacturing Indonesia—the Indonesian subsidiary that is in charge of manufacturing and quality control for the Power Supply Container—will continue to offer customers around the world the opportunity to live their lives with electricity.
*1 A form of assistance in which local public bodies, educational and medical institutions, NGOs, and others in developing countries provide financial support in the form of ODA for relatively small-scale projects implemented in that area.
*2 Source: International Energy Agency (IEA), "World Energy Outlook 2014"
The students of an elementary school in the Karimunjawa islands with a Power Supply Container
Considering the Impact on a Region when Proceeding with New Business—A Case in India
Panasonic acquired Anchor Electricals Pvt. Ltd. (Anchor) in 2007 to expand its business in India. When it was acquired, Anchor possessed number-one wiring device market share in India with a robust sales network. After the acquisition, Anchor steadily expanded its business through aggressive investment, including the construction of a new factory in Daman District, western India.
However, at the time of the acquisition, Anchor had been under the one-man management and were faced a veritable mountain of problems. For example, in the factory some tasks were done directly on the floors and manual assemblies were done without sufficient lighting, which caused inefficient operations with haphazard material stacks in warehouses. There were no cafeteria or uniforms for employees, and numerous health and safety issues were existed.
For these issues, Panasonic tried to improve steadily by utilizing its experience in Japan and overseas. Firstly, Panasonic upgraded the manufacturing facilities with introducing cell production system. Meanwhile, Panasonic implemented 5S* activities to organize and manage the workplace with providing active technical guidance for employees engaged in manufacturing. As a result, Anchor's factories and warehouses become safer and more orderly, that leads productivity growth by 30%–40%. The skill of Anchor's employees improved to be awarded gold medals at a Panasonic Group skills competition.
Not only rebuilding cafeterias and refitting toilets, the company strove to create working environments that exceeded locally required standards. For example, Anchor facilities have their health management offices and stand-by ambulances. Anchor also pays attention to creating a workplace feasible for women, such as opening daycare facilities for employees with small children.
Through these activities, Anchor has striven to transform its corporate culture from the individual management to the organizational one and, as a result, its employees are greatly satisfied and motivated. Currently, numerous talented local members are working as executives or leaders in manufacturing and marketing divisions.
Throughout its growing business, Panasonic and Anchor will continue to contribute to the people creating wealthy lives in India and all over the world.
* 5S: Seiri(tidiness / neatness), Seiton(orderliness), Seiso(cleaning), Seiketsu (cleanliness), Shitsuke (discipline).