The Panasonic Corporation was established on March 13, 1918, at Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The company is also known as Konosuke Matsushita and was started by Japanese industrialist Konosuke Matsushita, with an aim to create things of value. With diligence and dedication company has remained successful in introducing innovative products throughout its history and has become the electronics giant of today. It has now become a global manufacturer and has its existence in most countries everywhere in the world. It has various business domain companies that fulfill explicit consumer requirements internationally. Their products include home appliances, different consumer and industrial solutions. All business domain companies have discrete R&D, production, and sales functions. Panasonic also acquired SANYO under a business agreement in 2008.This paper will discuss the Panasonic/Sanyo supply chain or logistics management systems and evolution of this system with time. There is also discussion regarding the use of current technology, outsourcing, rules, and regulations, in supply chain and their effect on supply chain capability. Moreover, recommendations are also given to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s supply chain with the evaluation of the effectiveness of new strategies.
Panasonic supply chain or logistics management systems:
The Company internationally founds partnerships with suppliers to retort to manufacturing activities on an international gauge. All the procurement activities comply with laws and regulations, social rules, and corporate morals. There are contact points for suppliers to report the product values anticipated by customers. Thus, with the unusually competitive market, there is enormous stress over Panasonic Company to respond timely to the composite customer necessities by boarding on value chain management creativity. It has such a supply chain management system that ensures on-time delivery, preeminent customer service, and greater market share based on timely delivery.
Also, it has a good reputation in corporate social responsibility, and while selecting new suppliers, the company keeps this thing in focus that these suppliers also must practice CSR. The research for this purpose incorporates features as human rights, manual labor, health and safety, protecting the global environment, and information safety. To ensure it further, it goes for the Standard Purchase Agreements that comprise CSR necessities with the dealers. The company also carries out CSR self-assessments concerning existing suppliers. While choosing suppliers, it also ensures the safeguarding of Human Rights and Health and Safety of Labor along with satisfying Green Procurement. To have decision making fast, The Panasonic Corporation is maintaining the fast-paced supply chain. Technology and skillset are the main features added to the supply chain of The Panasonic Corporation. There are combined systems and gears that are enhancing the alertness in the supply chain.
Supply chain function over time:
Panasonic Corporation, being the multinational electronics corporation was in need of such a supply chain that made logic of all the indications upsetting demand. As Panasonic deals in high tech products, thus, the agile and efficient supply chain contributes towards the competitive advantage in the supply chain, where costs rise faster than revenues. This system also allows the customers, to change the product concerning the promotion of the specific brand.
There is also the introduction of customer inquiry response system by Panasonic Corporation, within the context of supply chain management. There are inquiries made from customers before their purchase of products as well as their apprehensions regarding the use of products. For this purpose, there is a special unit, known as Customer Care Center (Christopher, 2016). Even each product has distinct phone numbers that have increasingly decreased the hold time for customers, and this is also specialized to provide precise and quick service. Also, to assist customers in their purchases, there is much assistance provided to them over the website. For instance, when a customer comes to the website and starts typing question regarding any product, the site demonstrates multiple pertinent FAQs. In this way, the company is determined to have quick replies to questions. In current years, the trend has also shifted towards the use of Facebook and other social media opening places. This leads to the post of lots of valuable information concerning time and season. Thus, when there is a change of season, customers get attract to have sales by the visit of these social media pages that carry the advertisement of the company.
Moreover, the company has also introduced the repair and spare parts department that is responsible for the repair services. As the company deals with the housing facility products, thus it has constructed a network of engineers that go into local regions and make use of their advanced technical skills and know-how dealing with customers. This network works in reply to customers complaints and shows a very quick response and resolution of problems. Panasonic also conducts a survey, connected to its customer satisfaction and based on that response it revises its strategies and excels in the customer services.
Now Panasonic deals in over 15,000 products under its brand being the principal electronic products producers in the world. Along with a number of channel partners in addition to several distribution centers and business entities, it still faces lots of issues related to having the status of the efficient supply chain. Therefore, with the current supply chain, it is not able to manage the demand to supply within its supply chain strategies. One flaw in the supply chain is the use of point of sale (POS). With this supply chain suffers in the area of unsuccessful promotional exertions. This also leads to unsuccessful product launches. Function-oriented teams are working, which have an end-to-end view of the supply chain and do not go its analytical analysis.
Current technology used and the impact of this technology on supply chain capability:
Supply Chain Management refers to the management of whole activities that make possible to deliver the products to the end users. This management contains activities that encompass flow and alteration of goods from the raw materials phase to their supply to the consumers. From distribution centers to global trade, supply chain management relies heavily on an ever-evolving suite of technologies that help increase efficiency and productivity. There are cargo management solutions practiced by Panasonic. These are multifaceted, tightly- united supply chains that make use of latest technology and ensure the timely product availability (Yücesan, 2007). There are different functions that this supply chain performs concerning supply chain and these include in-transit cargo, packing, and unpacking, leading to storage. The company is also paying attention towards its products, to make them easy to transport. For instance, there are products like Toughbook mobile computers, which are lightweight and thus it gets very easy to transport them anywhere. Moreover, the company has employed pro-active inspections that make sure the greater uptime.
Outsourcing impacts an organization’s supply chain strategy:
Outsourcing is a part of a business strategy that deals with the moving of some functions of the business to outside providers. With the outsourcing, the company gets more elastic and adjustable to new market conditions. In this way, it also gets time to focus on its fundamental business functions and gain the competitive advantage. Also, organizations go for outsourcing, when they get the opportunity to get the same job done by the supplier, economically. For this purpose, companies go for the negotiating contract agreements with a dealer who then become responsible for the specified production process. Companies, sometimes, show their apprehensions towards using outsourcing. But there is a solution for this also. The company is not required to outsource a specific function fully; rather, it may outsource a function partially and keep it remaining with it. Different functions are outsourced to organizations, functioning in different industries. The common areas that get outsourced include human resources, marketing, and accounting services.
Furthermore, outsourcing leads to the better-quality customer service, product quality and reduction in costs. This also allows the company to bond the gap in staffing. Also, with outsourcing, company avail the services of specialized vendor systems. Due to the efficiency of their systems, it is possible for the company to have a quicker improvement time and advanced ranks of quality. Working with a third-party organization, the company gets the flexibility in functions, and at any time it is in a condition to get the switch to other company, who can perform best. Thus, there are plentiful benefits of outsourcing recognized that include more flexibility, fewer labor costs, lesser investment risk along with enhanced cash flow. Panasonic is also functioning globally, and it also outsources its activities both with local and international parties. It is riskier for the company to manage the outsourcing while dealing with international suppliers and vendors. But with good experience and brand reputation, management, the company can do well in this area.
Specific applicable rules and regulations related to the supply chain of the company:
The services or goods that an organization purchase must follow all standards, rules, and regulations that apply to that organization. These standards are not only provided by the government but also organization itself, customers and regulators along with suppliers provide details of the standards to be followed by business. Thus, before going for outsourcing, there is a need first to identify, company own internal standards. These will then frame the necessities for its outside suppliers and their supply chains. If there is a publicly traded company, who is going for outsourcing, then it will follow the Codes of Conduct. These Codes of Conduct will provide a guarantee that the organization will perform its role ethically and in obedience to appropriate laws and regulations. Also, if organizations will comply these codes then, these will not indulge in any waste regarding fines, drawbacks, legitimate fees along with reputational damage.
US federal laws do not precisely control outsourcing transactions. There are contract laws that are governed by every state law. There is also a requirement of a legal structure for outsourcing. There must be a master contract between a principal supplier and customer which shows the plans that describe the range of service, performance standards as well as prices. Moreover, there is an amendment in Federal Labour Law in 2012 that incorporates now new regulations for outsourcing services. Now some regulations are associated with contracts that establish between clients and service providers during the outsourcing. These also address pricing rules and social security responsibilities regarding outsourcing services. In this context, there is Article 15-A which deals with sub-contracting regime.
Recommendation and plan that you believe would be the best supply chain strategy for this organization
After analyzing end-to-end sales and operations planning practices, there has been found lots of grave gaps in the supply chain of the Panasonic Corporation. There is recurrent and unplanned outpouring in demand that has added towards the complexity of supply chain of the organization. Also, during the peak times, there are delays in shipments as the company has a policy of maintaining the low inventories and mostly depend on transportation to make the orders fulfillment promptly. Thus, there is a need for such improvements in the supply chain that can improve real-time processes pellucidity along with enhancement in decision making and customer satisfaction.
Panasonic should go for supply chain restructuring and pay attention towards the prevailing methods and construction of the chain. There is the need to go for the process redesign and value proposing to customers. These wills enhance the quality of services being provided to customers and products quality. The best structure for the Japanese electronic manufacturing company is to go for RFID technologies along with the use of mobile technology in the system (Attaran, 2007). Under this structure, there will be a digital transformation and company will not undergo a large transformation. With this, it will also be able to pay attention to real issues and will apply its strategies in an agile way that will improve the overall results of the supply chain. Panasonic needs to apply the technology while managing transport and logistics in all areas, whether it is air, rail or road.
RFID technologies will assist the company by providing potential assistance to supply chain management with the reduction in inventory harms, the upsurge of the efficiency and speed of procedures and development of information exactness (Attaran, 2007). This technology, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic acknowledging and data capturing technology that is collected from three elements: a tag, a reader, and a middleware. The tag is formed by a chip that has a connection with antenna, the reader is responsible for the production of radio signals and accepting them in response to reactions from tags, and lastly, a middleware that bonds RFID hardware and organization applications is the third part.
The company needs to introduce electronics reprocessing programs under RFID technologies (Sarac, Absi, & Dauzère-Pérès, 2010). These will not only make the customers get to benefit from the disposal of old gadgets and adopt the new technology. People dispose of their old tech gadgets and old batteries. People in this way will get rid of heavy metals also. But it will also assist the company regarding the issue of raw material. This will also be a good step towards the corporate social responsibility and company will excel in its efforts towards the conservation of the environment. The first step here is to employ such points, where customers may deliver their old products and company can then use them for recycling.
Within this new system of supply chain management, it will also have horizontal merging with some of its best suppliers and will make its raw material to be used in production. For instance, it can merge with its one of Supplier Company and produce photovoltaic (PV) cells and units for solar sheets. In this way, it will be able to meet its demand promptly, and the quality of the raw material will also be not compromised. This also needs to be associated with the unit that collects all the old products from the retailers delivered to them by customers.
Also, Panasonic needs to outsource some of its functions that are not under the category of cost-effective for the company. There can be the outsourcing concerning human resource as company functions over the interactional scale and is not well versed concerning every region. Thus, it is better to have this service outsource to the local recruitment companies. They can better search the suitable candidates and employ them at respective positions within the organization. Also, dealing with retailers requires lots of efforts in the new region. This can also be outsourced, and company needs to outsource this partially and kept the main decisions to it.
Thus, all these changes need to be integrated into a new system and build a new technology to be used by the company. The company needs to adjust the powerful digital and analytics tools into the system to address all issues. The areas that need to have further use of technology are warehouse and DC procedures. There is the need of having more use of 2D barcodes here. This will make the system efficient and cost-effective as it will get encoded properly. The other advantage of the use of barcode is that driver at the end will be able to have courier-like tracking and system will be easy to operate. Shipping, receiving as well as dock need to be adjusted with the technology. Fulfillment center operations must be under the full integration of technology to operate efficiently. As RFID technology requires the investment, thus it will here be implemented at elementary phase. The company will begin to study this technology and will try to safeguard insignificant acquiescence with customer directives.
Expected benefits of your new strategy on the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s supply chain:
In a typical supply chain, the raw material is taken from one point and carried to other, manufacturing of the product is done at some other point and these are then shipped to stores for transitional storage, and then these get transported to the end users through the functioning of retailers. This typical supply chain contains many loopholes, and this is also the source of decline in profits any company, in this world of latest technology. Thus, to address all the issues in supply chain and to lessen the cost and expand quality levels, there is a need for the new system. Panasonic is facing severe competition while operating globally and having products that have shorter life cycles, and the intensified prospects of customers concerning the quality of products. It is the need of time to have a focus on the supply chain and adopt the new proposed solutions. If adopted, the new system is expected to benefit in all spheres of the organization. At the first step, there is the only progression of warehouse and shipping, and then other supply chain activities will be liked with this technology in the second phase.
In the new system that is based on the incorporation of latest technology in all of the functions of the organization along with the addition of this into the supply chain, will provide lots of benefits to the organization. When there is collaboration for raw materials, then this collaboration will make the best use of both businesses’ powers to improve the effectiveness of products. This will also be a source of synergy and competitive advantage in the atmosphere of server competition. In this way, it can also expand the scale of operations and can have the separate units for each product. With time, by working on this idea, it can exceed its current production capacity.
With this advanced mobility that will be part of a digital transformation in the warehouse, warehouse operations will get efficient. Mobile technology is still in use during the warehouse operations, but its use with integration to other systems and self-operated soft wares will make simplify different functions of warehouses. It will be easier for pickers, packers, spot jockey and managers to have integration within their company-operated mobile integrated system(Liang, Huang, Yeh, & Lin, 2007). Thus, by changing to advanced mobile devices and with the proper training of all employees, it is possible to produce an additional well-organized workflow having fewer expenses than before for its operations. These mobile systems enable real-time modernizing of orders and catalog and advance on swiftness and correctness. These also can fulfill progressively multifaceted customer requirements. These augment value chain operations by substituting labor-intensive worksheet scheme. A company by the use of this technology will attain larger market share and will be able to lessen the customer’s inventory and lead times (Tellkamp, 2006). Suppliers will also get the benefit of this new technology when used. They will be able to found and function a quality management system. An important capacity of RFID technology is to lessen the costs and transport a wealth of information to assist the organization in meet8ing their customers’ demands.
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