Exclusive Interview with Ajay Saraf, Panasonic Life Solutions |mojo4industry
Japanese tech giant Panasonic is a Fortune 500 Company with US$75 bn
revenue globally. More than 60% of Panasonic’s global business comes from
B2B customers. However, in India, Panasonic Life Solutions predominantly a
B2C company with excellent market pool. To grab the best opportunities in the
Indian market, the company also started focusing on B2B segments in a big way
since 2019. In an exclusive interview with Subhajit Roy, Ajay Saraf, Senior
Vice President and Head Project Business, Panasonic Life Solutions reveals
his targets and key strategies for B2B market segments.
Panasonic is a globally renowned brand in B2C segment. How would you like to assess the entry of Panasonic into B2B Business?
Panasonic is a global organization – a technology driven company having revenues in excess of $75 billion. It is also a Fortune 500 company – currently pegged at 153rd position. Globally, Panasonic Corporation is a B2B oriented organization and almost 60% of the revenues are generated from this vertical. In India the situation is slightly different. In India, Panasonic Life Solutions India predominantly a B2C company, doing exceedingly well both in top line as well as bottom line year-on-year. At the same time, the world-class technology-based products and solutions that Panasonic globally has in their portfolio and to position those products and technologies with Indian customers, it was imperative for us to create this B2B vertical. And we found it is absolutely must. Accordingly, we started this B2B operations full-fledged in the year 2019 and we are very satisfied with the performance.
Let me also tell you that the potential of B2B industry segment in India is very big – it’s humongous and the growth that we are experiencing in the market and the growth that we have also achieved in last one or two years are really stupendous. We would certainly like to be a part of the journey and contribute towards India’s growth as well. All I can say, the decision that we had taken couple of years back to venture into this B2B space, it was a very wise decision.
In the B2B business, what makes you different from your competitors?
First and foremost, I think it is the basket of products and solutions that we are offering to our customers – right from the excavation stage till the time the project gets handed over and the offering is with choices. We have a plethora of choices for the customers to cherry pick, we are kind of one-stop-shop for the customers, which is the need of the hour for any client. Moreover, the offerings are from the house of Panasonic Life Solutions, which is a guarantee in itself when it comes to the quality of the products, services and so on so forth. That’s point number one.
The point number two is, we are technology-based innovative global company whereas the point number three is, our speed to market is fantastic. I think decisiveness is very important for any budding organization and this flows in our blood!
Which are the sectors will drive your B2B business growth in future?
The existing space where we are currently operating, which is building segments or government projects or commercial buildings, the growth potential is phenomenal. We are still at the infancy stage and are taking bigger and bigger strides. We will continue to put more efforts in this space – whether it is in the form of product introductions, technologies, or infrastructure enhancement. The aim will be to grab a bigger piece of the pie.
Then on top of this, there are a few new technology-based products and solutions like EV (electric vehicle) chargers and smart lighting. We also have solar which we have started pitching with Indian customers especially in the government sector. As the investment plans the Indian government are really big, we are seeing reasonable amount of success coming to us. So, these sectors are really important to us and the new technologies which we are introducing in India will make us future ready, will create a big space for us vis-à-vis competition and will immensely aid towards our future growth in the future. That’s what I perceive.
So, what sort of growth target you have?
All I would say at this point in time is, we are doing pretty well and we are growing by leaps and bounds. I believe, we should be growing by higher double digits this year as well. So, growth is in any case inevitable that is going to come – we have the right products, right solutions, right technologies, and right manpower. In wiring devices category, we have a fantabulous range and we are market leaders in India with a market share of over 38%. We are also a significant player in lighting segment.
Do you have adequate capacity to achieve the targeted double-digit growth?
As of now, we have seven manufacturing plants in India, which are running to full capacity. And we are also coming up with one more state-of-the-art factory at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh. We are investing almost Rs. 600 crores there. In fact, it’s about to get commissioned in next couple of months. This new factory will take care of our growth aspirations for the near future.
What are some of your long- and short-term targets to achieve?
First and foremost, we would like to be the most preferred brand by our customers. That’s something which always resonates in our mind. We have to connect with more and more customers and make them aware about our products and technologies. Today, some of them may not be totally abreast of our portfolio. And, the moment we do it, eventually number is a game! You know, if you have the process right process in place, the numbers will get delivered automatically.
Also, we believe, unless you have a great team, you will not be able to create any differentiation in the market place especially when you are at a budding stage. In last two years, we have taken a lot of interest in this area and today the team is like, competitors’ envy, the company’s pride. So, I’m very proud of my team. I think teams are doing a beautiful job and in most of the cases, the success has already kissed our feet.
Talking about the long-term goals, we are very clear again. We have aspirations to cross revenues of Rs. 10 billion (Rs. 1000 crore) by 2025 in B2B vertical.
Last but not the least, we would like to be among top three B2B companies in India in terms of value and market share. And I see, this is happening!