June 26, 2024
Business Corporate

Panasonic Reveals Ambitious Agenda At 2024 Convention

Middle East And Africa Region In Focus

Panasonic–the Japanese conglomerate that caters to a wide variety of customers’ needs–is committed to innovation excellence, sustainability, customer-centric service, localisation, and Japanese tradition as the 106-year-old company continues to consolidate its position as a global leader, primarily in the consumer electronics and home appliances sectors.

This was the key messaging at the PMMAF Convention 2024, a significant event held in Dubai City on May 28, 2024, that brought together business associates from 27 countries.

At the event, PMMAF (Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa FZE) unveiled a comprehensive strategic plan for the fiscal year 2024, which includes targeted investments for market expansion, strategic partnerships, product diversification, sustainability, and customer-centricity.

Hiroyuki Shibutani, CEO of PMMAF, addresses the news media in Dubai on May 28, 2024. Credit: Arnold Pinto

PMMAF manages all sales and marketing, supply chain, customer service solutions, and advertising functions under the Panasonic brand name.

PMMAF also confirmed key promotions in its Dubai-headquartered senior leadership team to meet rapidly growing business opportunities and consumer demand for cutting-edge technologies across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

MEA Business Partners

PMMAF’s dealers, distributors, and partners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Africa attended PMMAF Convention 2024, where they were not just introduced to Panasonic’s strategic business and growth strategy for FY2024, but also acknowledged for their crucial role in this journey.

John Hardy, COO, briefs the news media in Dubai on May 28, 2024. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Participants were also thrilled to learn about the company’s latest cutting-edge products—encompassing the air-conditioning, audiovisual, kitchen and home appliances, health and beauty spectrum—including innovative men’s grooming devices and refrigerators that are transforming the personal care and home appliances markets in the MEA region, respectively.

74 New Products

Panasonic launched 74 new products at the event, including a revolutionary six-litre cooking capacity air fryer featuring top and bottom heating, gentle steam, a viewing window and 11 auto menus.

Anthony Peter, Director (Customer Service Division), briefs the news media. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Echoing Panasonic’s theme – ‘Create Today. Enrich Tomorrow’ – the senior leadership team of PMMAF highlighted Panasonic’s legacy of innovation, dedication to sustainability, and global partnerships while acknowledging the challenges climate change poses.

The event’s programming included a news conference addressed by PMMAF’s senior leadership team: Hiroyuki Shibutani, CEO; John Hardy, COO; Takashi Sasaki, Director (Consumer Marketing); and Anthony Peter, Director (Customer Service Division).

Takashi Sasaki, Director (Consumer Marketing), engages with the news journalists. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Hiroyuki Shibutani, CEO of PMMAF, underscored Panasonic’s century-long legacy of innovation and its dedication to creating a better future through constant evolution and adaptation.

Emphasising sustainability, diversity, and social responsibility, Shibutani outlined Panasonic’s commitment to environmental stewardship, including ambitious initiatives to combat climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.

MEA Role

Reiterating Panasonic’s commitment to meeting the unique needs of consumers in the MEA region, Shibutani also underscored the brand’s understanding of the region’s diverse requirements. He emphasised that the area is vital to Panasonic’s global strategy and that “our success in this region is crucial to our overall business growth”.

PMMAF Convention 2024 business associates’ registration desk. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Shibutani said: “We are delighted with the momentum we have seen over the past years and are genuinely pleased that we have come this far by staying true to our values and fulfilling our main objectives. 

“Panasonic’s ability to navigate through the needs of the changing times while adhering to our core business philosophy – that is to help our customers live better and healthier lives – is at the heart of everything we have achieved in this region [MEA].”

PMMAF Convention 2024 attendees hailed from 27 countries. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Shibutani also emphasised Panasonic’s global partnerships, particularly its longstanding support of the Olympic Games, reflecting on the company’s role in bringing the spirit of unity and excellence to audiences worldwide.

However, amidst the celebration of innovation and progress, Shibutani also issued a stark reminder of the challenges posed by climate change. He highlighted the urgent need for sustainable solutions in the face of natural disasters and environmental degradation, citing specific difficulties.

2023 review

John Hardy, PMAAF’s COO (Consumer Sales, System Solutions, and Communication), provided comprehensive insights into the company’s performance in 2023 and its aspirational growth plans for 2024.

Panasonic has launched 74 new products for 2024. Credit: Arnold Pinto

With a keen eye on market trends and consumer preferences, Panasonic aims to capitalise on opportunities in key markets while prioritising product localisation and sustainability, said Hardy.

The convention also showcased Panasonic’s comprehensive customer service strategy for 2024, highlighted by Anthony Peter (Director of Customer Service) at PMMAF. The plan aims to elevate service infrastructure and ensure unparalleled customer support across the MEA region through initiatives like standardising warranty periods, investing in spare parts inventory, and digitising service operations.

CX Emphasis

Peter emphasised customer service’s (CX) pivotal role in Panasonic’s ethos. Drawing from the company’s rich heritage spanning over a century, he underscored Panasonic’s commitment to excellence in service, echoing the sentiments of its founders, who believed that good service is the cornerstone of any successful business.

A newly launched high-definition Panasonic TV. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Highlighting Panasonic’s extensive service network across the MEA region, Peter outlined the company’s mission statement, encapsulated in the three Rs: rapid, reassuring, and reliable service. With over 101 service partners and 108 service centres spread across 31 countries in the MEA region, Panasonic aims to provide seamless support to customers, both internal and external, he added.

Considering FY2023’s achievements, Peter outlined various initiatives Panasonic undertook to enhance its service offerings. These included standardising warranty periods across countries to ensure a uniform customer experience, investing in spare parts inventory and facilities, and digitising service operations through initiatives like the brand’s Smart Care app.

Panasonic prides itself on its ‘Japan Quality’ hallmark. Credit: Arnold Pinto

He added that despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Panasonic accelerated its digital transformation efforts, facilitating more accessible access to service and customer support.

In 2024

Looking ahead to FY2024, Peter outlined a series of planned activities to improve Panasonic’s service operations further. These initiatives encompassed continuous support for training and skill enhancement, closer collaboration with channel partners to foster mutual growth, and the introduction of innovative digital solutions like the Smart Care World app, designed to streamline service requirements and enhance user experience.

Dubai venue of PMMAF Convention 2024. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Emphasising the importance of customer feedback and benchmarking, Peter announced plans to conduct benchmark surveys with independent research agencies to assess Panasonic’s service performance objectively. He noted that high-performing service facilities would be duly recognised and rewarded, incentivising excellence in customer service across the organisation. This is part of our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and our dedication to providing the best possible service to our customers.

In conclusion, Peter reiterated Panasonic’s commitment to excellence in customer service, emphasising that it “is not just a department, but an attitude ingrained in every company stakeholder”.

Takashi Sasaki, Director (Consumer Marketing) at PMMAF, delved into the cultural essence of Panasonic’s products. He emphasised the company’s deep-rooted Japanese heritage and commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

Regional Perspective

He also highlighted how the company’s products are designed to reflect the unique cultural context of the Middle East and Africa region, addressing their unique needs and preferences through a blend of tradition and cutting-edge technology.

Sasaki stated that Panasonic aims to deliver products that not only meet but exceed the expectations of Middle Eastern and African consumers. “We understand that our products play a significant role in people’s daily lives, and we are committed to addressing their unique needs and preferences through a blend of tradition and cutting-edge technology,” he noted.

Established in 1918 and headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Panasonic Group has evolved into a renowned global entity pioneering innovative technologies across various sectors, including consumer electronics, housing, automotive, industry, communications, and energy.

Effective April 1, 2022, the group transitioned to an operating company system, with Panasonic Holdings Corporation assuming the role of a holding company overseeing eight subsidiaries. The Group achieved consolidated net sales of 8,496.4 billion yen for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2024.

Featured image: The senior leadership team of PMMAF addresses the news media in Dubai on May 28, 2024. Credit: Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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