A Company with a Purpose
Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works was founded in Japan in March of 1918. Its founder, Konosuke Matsushita, was a 23-year-old entrepreneur who felt that electricity was on the brink of transforming the world. The young man was right, and his company quickly grew, building a solid reputation of high-quality products at affordable prices.
In the mid-1920s, the company established the “National” brand to market a wide variety of its products. In the ‘60s, it created the “Technics” line for its high-end audio speakers. Its most recognizable name, though, dates back to the ‘50s, when it exported some speakers under the name “PanaSonic.”
Today, Panasonic Corporation is made up of 496 consolidated companies and over 257,000 employees. Its slogan, “A Better Life, A Better World,” reminds employees of Matsushita’s goal of enhancing the lives of everyday people. As the company nears its 100th birthday in 2018, its products look to optimize the daily experience, both at home and at work.
Facing Threats from Every Angle
Panasonic Corporation of North America houses the company’s Innovation Center of North America (ICNA), a division that conceives and develops the brand’s latest and greatest offerings. ICNA creates an ecosystem of technologies and services that complement key hardware offerings – delivering complete and inventive solutions. It serves the automotive, avionic, energy, hospitality, and retail industries, just to name a few. ICNA aims to live up to Matsushita’s objective by making Panasonic the preferred technological partner of government agencies, businesses, and consumers.
With so many offerings, ICNA is a division that is hard to define, and therefore, it faces unique challenges from several different fronts. Its primary focus is on electronics, which entails sales, research and development (R&D), and manufacturing activities.
ICNA’s five greatest challenges are:
Inflexible Systems Stymie Growth
As Panasonic Corporation sets the tone for the company’s Centenary, ICNA has been tasked with leading the way with cutting-edge solutions and products. In 2016, ICNA was ready to push technological boundaries more than ever before.
The department soon realized that projects could only be expanded if they could also be managed – and when it came to administration and oversight, they had a major problem. As part of a high-tech company, ICNA was utilizing an on-premises project management (PM) tool that it had developed in-house. Although the application worked well in the past, it couldn’t handle the requirements needed for rapid growth and expansion.
Additionally, the Project Management Office (PMO) needed to be able to integrate processes with SharePoint, where it houses new ideas and concepts. Without this functionality, PM data would be incomplete – if not useless.
The PMO needed a solution that: