Employee Training Institute opens
Three-year program at the Employee Training Institute covered standard junior high school curriculum, in addition to preparing graduates for jobs at the company.
Developing people before products
Matsushita believed that a business is the people who comprise it. He said that while it is important to make products, one has to first develop people. He always placed a high priority on human resources development.
For some years, Matsushita had dreamed of building a factory-cum-school, and it first took form as an Employee Training Institute, which opened in April 1934 at the company's Head Office and factory complex at Kadoma. The company opened a second education facility, the Factory Worker Training Institute, in May 1936. These centers were closed when the government reorganized Japan's school system during World War II, but they reopened in April 1960 as the Matsushita Electric Technical College.
Matsushita's concern with educating his employees grew as the company expanded, and he was the author of many progressive personnel policies.
Matsushita always endeavored to find opportunities for exchange with company employees. Beginning in 1935, he launched a series of regular discussion meetings open to all employees that became the predecessor to today's workplace caucuses.
In 1936, Matsushita established a system of four holidays per month in place of the traditional two days. He recommended that two of the four days be used for leisure, and the other two for self study.
He also felt a responsibility to provide health care for company staff. In 1937, he established the Health Insurance Association, and in 1940, the Matsushita Hospital was completed.
Innovative Product: 1/2-horsepower, 3-phase induction motor
The company's first motor, a 1/2-horsepower, 3-phase induction motor, started in 1934.
In 1933, manufacturers of heavy electric machinery and equipment dominated the motor industry. It was at that time when Matsushita Electric, whose main line of business was home electric appliances, entered the small-sized motor field. Only electric fans and a few other home electric appliances used small motors in those days.
In answering a question from a newspaper reporter at a press conference announcing the company's inroads into the motor industry, Konosuke Matsushita commented, "As the living standards of the general public rise in the future, I'm sure that the day will come when a household uses an average of more than ten motors. The need for motors is just infinite."
The first model was developed in 1934. As the company rapidly expanded its business, Konosuke's prediction proved right with the advent of the home electric appliance age after World War II.