Face to Face with Mr. Gunjan Sachdev National Business Head Toughbook Division Panasonic India

MR.Gunjan Sachdev

Today I have with me one of the master minds in the Panasonic Mr.Gunjan Sachdev. The topic for the interview is usage of Toughpad in the automotive sector.
Before going to the topic let us see about inception of Panasonic corporation and how it entered into toughbook division:
 Panasonic Corporation formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.,Ltd is a Japanese multinational electronics corporation headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan.
Toughbooks are "niche" products. The line includes notebook computers that range from slightly more sturdy than standard notebooks all the way to very rugged notebooks for use by the military and other markets where toughness and reliability are mandatory. They fill the market where computing power is needed, but where standard consumer products just can't make it. Utilities come to mind, insurance, healthcare, automotive, telecommunications, transportation, the government, field service and sales.
Here goes the interaction
How panasonic started entered into the toughbook division?
A) Toughbook division for panasonic came because of a man Mr.Yoshi Yamada father of the toughbook and his team of enlightened individuals had a vision, and made that vision a reality by skillfully tapping into all the resources a giant industrial complex could provide. What that team did is the exact opposite of the way things are done today. They did not farm out the entire design and manufacturing to OEMs or contract manufacturers. They did not go on a shopping spree to gather together the cheapest components from the lowest cost suppliers. They did not delegate and farm out everything until they, like most US computer companies, were merely marketers. Instead, they turned a perceived weakness into a strength. All Toughbooks are conceived, designed, built, and tested right there at Matsushita's own facilities. When they needed special batteries, they simply stopped by Matsushita's battery division. When they needed optical drives, well, Matsushita makes the best. When they needed a special case, Matsushita is a leader in manufacturing processes and one of the world leaders in magnesium casting. And then they put it all together right there at the most impressive Panasonic Computer manufacturing plant outside Kobe, Japan. The result is the real thing. Just like a Toyota is the real thing and in a league of its own, a league that the Kias and Daewoos and Hyundais of the world aspire to but cannot reach. Like Toyota, Matsushita is the real thing.

What are the major brands using toughbook in the automotive sector?
A) Major brands using panasonic toughbook devices are the Panasonic Toughbook devices are used by all the major brands including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, General Motors, Toyota, Suzuki, Volvo, Honda, BMW, Daimler, and Mahindra & Mahindra. “More than 100,000 units of these Toughbooks are deployed in the automotive space globally since 2006.

What are the different kinds of segments in which toughbook is launched?
A) Laptops, tablets, convertible tablets, handheld tablets.

What are the different products in toughbook division?
A) In laptops: toughbook31, Toughbook54, toughbook53, toughbook52, toughbook sx2.
In tablets:  toughpadFZ-M1, toughpadFZ-G1, toughpadFZ-R1, toughpadFZ-4K,    toughpadFZ-B2, toughpadFZ-A1, toughpadFZ-H2.

Can you explain how these devices are useful in the automotive sector?
A) Toughbook 52: the rugged mobile computing solution for automotive service diagnostics, featuring a generous 15.4" widescreen LCD plus a full magnesium alloy case and shock-mounted, removable hard drive.

THE PRICE OF MOBILITY

Whether performing diagnostic tests or repairing autos, trucks or recreational vehicles, service technicians equipped with notebook PCs can be productive anywhere, anytime. However, most laptops are not designed for work away from an office and are at a significantly greater risk of being damaged. In work settings as demanding as those found in the service bay, laptop damage can occur in a number of ways: drops, spills, dirt, dust, extreme temperatures and vibration. If a laptop fails, there can be significant repercussions. Even a brief period of downtime has a ripple effect that can impact workforce productivity and customer satisfaction.

THE RUGGED MOBILE COMPUTING SOLUTION FOR AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE DIAGNOSTICS

Panasonic recognizes the importance of protecting notebook PCs from the challenging environments that service technicians face every day. That's why we've developed legendary Panasonic Toughbook® laptops—rugged mobile PCs that protect those components most frequently damaged. The result: maximum uptime and productivity at a lower total cost of ownership  

DAYLIGHT-READABLE LCD WITH TOUCHSCREEN

Toughbook laptops' daylight-readable colour LCDs offer optimal viewing—from the brightest outdoor sunlight to inside the service bay. With touchscreens, enter data via keyboard, stylus or with the touch of a finger for easy navigation through icon-driven software and drop-down menus.

EMBEDDED WIRELESS

Since 1995, Panasonic Toughbook® laptops have been engineered from the inside out to provide the most robust wireless performance in the industry. Their embedded OEM modules are isolated from processor noise and heat interference, and their antennas are integrated next to the LCD for unblocked transmission. Both the OEM module and the antenna have been designed into the laptops for protection from drops, bangs and other challenging environmental conditions.
With Toughbook laptops, you can connect to both local area and wide area networks via wireless data service from AT&T, Alltel, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. These networks enable you to access the information you need at speeds that allow for maximum productivity.

PUTTING THE TOUGH IN TOUGHBOOK LAPTOPS
Fully-rugged Toughbook laptops are designed using MIL-STD-810F environmental testing procedures for drops, shocks, altitude, vibration, dust and water resistance, and high- and low-temperature resistance. With durability designed into every seal, hinge and connector, Toughbook laptops ensure maximum uptime and industry-leading reliability.

What are the industries where Toughbook is an integral part of?

A) Panasonic is mainly providing Toughbook to various industries such as Automobile, Manufacturing, Infrastructure as well as Defence forces including state police forces as these high endurance devices and can be used in tough terrains. Designed to withstand Tough conditions, the Panasonic Toughpad are capable of withstanding harsh weather, hostile terrains and multiple users.

What is the differentiating factor in Panasonic Toughbook as compared to the competition? In this mobile computing era where there is so much competition, how is Panasonic dealing with it?

A) Panasonic has its own manufacturing setup in Japan & Taiwan, where we Design, Manufacture our devices in house in order to keep the high quality standards very high compared to competition products. We have our own R&D facility for designing & testing of new product development. The failure rate for our devices is less than 2%. What is different and unique about our Toughpads is that they are designed to handle almost any situation from business-rugged computers that can withstand bangs, bumps and emission to fully-rugged that can survive extreme conditions, such as drops up to six feet, rain, oil, pressure, dust and extraordinary swings in temperature making it a very desirable tablet. We also have features of inbuilt interface ports like Serial Port, LAN port, Barcode Reader, etc., in our devices, enabling the user to use as per their required application. We also provide Docking solutions for our devices – Such as Vehicle docks, table docks, etc. We have constantly been working to improve the quality of service by upgrading our tablets quality and the difference can be seen in every new device we introduce.

In what way are Toughbook mobile computers going to enhance the automotive industry?
  A) Panasonic Toughbook are used in various departments of the Automobile industry, it is used in R&D for Test, Calibration, Prototyping, Data download, Debugging, Flashing, Diagnostics. It is also used in the production plant for Quality check, Variant checks at various bays, Maintenance, Logistics & Warehousing, etc. They are also used at Service centres for Engine Diagnostics and Job Card Opening and for Road side assistance as it helps minimize service time and provides cost effective service in the automotive segment. These devices can be provided as per the user application with integrated (Inbuilt) Barcode readers, Serial Port interface, PCMCI / Express card clots, etc.

How are you going to build a strong distribution channel for Panasonic Toughbook division?
 A) Panasonic Toughbook & Toughpad, being a niche product can be distributed only through selected partners who have a strong hold in various organisations – Enterprise and Government. These are not retail products that can be found at retail counters, so typically we have partners who are System Integrators or large IT Partners having existing relationship with the potential customers. We keep organising partner events where we invite the new and existing partners and showcase our products and share various case studies, to bring them on board and work together.

What is the biggest challenge for Panasonic in the Toughbook division?

A)    The biggest challenge that we face is price sensitive market, the long period for government deals due to long approval process and bureaucracy. Low awareness and engagement with technology for many organisations, which do not employ technology to any great extent and rely mostly on manual methods. Many companies are not yet convinced about the return on investment in technology adoption.

How will you address the price strategy for electronic units Toughpad FZ-B2 in a place like India where customers are price centric?
A) Being Panasonic, we do not compromise on the quality of our products. Keeping in mind the price centric Indian customers, we have priced the device in such a way that it does not make us compromise on the quality at the same time the price is such that it is affordable for the applications / usage which helps a customer get his ROI due to the long life, dependability, utility of the product, TCO and their increased productivity due to automation

What are the key constraints in having collaborations for doing business in India?
  A) India is an enormous country and with a great economic potential, running the diverse and complicated landscape can be an unnerving task without setting the right direction in place. A large and young population and a strong export sector anticipate expanding businesses, with a prospective consumer base that far outshines most other nations in the developed and developing world. Also, as a part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government’s decision towards creating a conducive environment to ease the manufacturer's woes with effective governance and effortless implementation has been the major root cause for the increase in excise duty structure for Tablet computers which has increased from 12 percent to 2 percent without CENVAT credit or 12.5 percent with CENVAT credit. This step is certainly expected to boost manufacturing in our country which will lead to further economic development.
 Last words Indian automobile sector is growing at a high speed Panasonic toughbook division will helps in making it productive. I enjoy the lively interaction with Mr. Gunjan Sachdev. I wish him all the success for the future.










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About sameer sharab

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