Masato Nakao the representative director, chairman, and CEO of Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions is a professional executive who previously served as a management consultant and was involved in numerous business reorganizations and corporate transformations, with a focus on manufacturing. As i-PRO embarks on a new departure, having become independent from Panasonic in October 2019, from what perspective will Mr. Nakao capture its strengths as a new organization and demonstrate his capabilities?
“To Capture Moments of Truth:” The Aspirations Embedded in the Corporate Identity
Q. You have been appointed as the CEO of i-PRO. How have you accepted this position?
i-PRO has become independent from Panasonic, which developed its business over the course of around 60 years with tradition and trust, and we have set out on our path to create unique value. I am very honored to have been entrusted to take the helm of management from the starting line. I perceive my role as being to consolidate the opinions of each and every employee and turn i-PRO into a company that spreads its wings around the world with the understanding and support of our clients, our old home of the Panasonic Group, our shareholders, our investors, and all of our company’s stakeholders.
Q. From the standpoint of having joined from outside the company, what do you believe are i-PRO’s core components and strengths?
“To capture moments of truth” is our company’s corporate identity, which we established based on discussions within the entire company immediately after my appointment. Our core message and strengths are condensed in this phrase.
Security cameras, surveillance systems, and modules for the medical and industrial fields are used in situations that greatly influence people’s lives and assets. The footage captured by i-PRO’s security cameras and medical devices with incorporated modules supports the decisions of professionals, such as police officers working on incidents and accidents, judges who make decisions surrounding law enforcement, and physicians and laboratory technicians who are involved in medical treatment people who work in tough situations to create a safer and more peaceful world. Considering this fact, no matter how much we extol the performance or quality of our products, they have no meaning unless they capture the “conditions of moments” that serve as anchors for their decisions. The reliability to function properly even in the most challenging environments and strong technical abilities to capture moments that the human eye cannot capture are essential, and these are precisely the strengths of i-PRO.
i-PRO has advanced technologies that extend the human senses and enable reliable performance even with lighting, distances, or angles that make it difficult to see. We build long-term relationships of trust with professionals who provide a safer and more peaceful world by utilizing our strengths and maintaining a strong sense of self-awareness and tension through our involvement in mission-critical tasks. No matter how difficult the problem, we pursue solutions without shying away. This determination is the core of our business and the message embedded in our corporate identity.
Aiming for Overall Optimization of Society by Devoting Ourselves to Manufacturing
Q. What do you think about the benefits of the business divestiture from Panasonic and becoming independent?
In the past, we had utilized a vertically integrated style in which everything from the manufacturing of security cameras to the presentation of associated applications and solutions was completed within the Panasonic Group. However, given the ever-increasing sophistication of the world and the diversification of workplace needs, it has become very difficult for a single company to provide everything. Our rationale was to place ourselves in an open environment with a horizontal division of labor that would enable us to flexibly combine a variety of materials depending on the needs so that we can fulfill them in more detail.
Now that we have become independent from Panasonic, we are no longer a solution provider. We are a manufacturer that provides the best ingredients of “advanced technologies that extend human senses.” We entrust how those ingredients will be cooked to those with knowledge of the latest cooking methods. We would like to aim for the overall optimization of society in this manner.
Q. In other words, the range in which your company’s products are utilized will be expanded through business divestiture? In this instance, your company will cooperate with solution providers that had been competitors?
That is exactly the case. When we are considering optimal solutions for our clients above everything else, it does not necessarily mean that it would always be good to limit our choices within the group. We would like clients ranging from small companies that work closely with their local regions to venture capital firms who adeptly use the latest technologies to use our products, as we must think about our social contribution from a variety of angles.
Digital Society Is Headed Toward a Competition of Sensibility
Q. I sense possibilities that differ from the past. However, it is likely that other manufacturers will follow suit? How do you plan to differentiate yourselves?
In a digital society where competitors repeatedly pull ahead and fall behind in a constant, rapid cycle, the present situation holds that even if you put out an innovative, unique product, others will catch up right away. Now, it is difficult to perpetually maintain superiority to other companies simply with product specifications and performance. With this in mind, i-PRO aims to differentiate ourselves in two aspects.
The first aspect is to eliminate time that would allow other companies to pull ahead and put us in an inferior position technologically, and deliver to our clients the latest technologies and benefits in a timely manner by having the speed to always stay a step ahead of other companies. Now that we have become a nimble business entity, we can make decisions and develop products much faster than ever before, and our development process has already begun to change significantly. In this time-based competition, we differentiate ourselves by always being ahead of our global competitors by a narrow margin.
The other aspect is to polish our power of expression as a company. In a digitalized society, products and ideas can easily be copied, resulting in the same thing being circulated around the world in an instant. To put this another way, regardless of the scale, anybody has the opportunity to deliver thoughts and products to the world. Moving forward, instead of competing over specifications, quality, and cost, there will likely be a shift toward a competition of sensibility over who can get the most understanding from society and users. Under these circumstances, what must i-PRO do to earn approval and trust from professionals who protect the safety and peace of the world? We intend to constantly keep this in mind while improving our company’s power of expression from perspective other than that of cost and specifications.
Q. Lastly, please outline the future outlook of i-PRO again.
Our job is to hold the same aspirations as the professionals who protect the safety and peace of the world and be an entity that they can trust. We aim to form an organization that takes pride in the fact that we create important products that are used in situations where decisions that alter people’s lives are made, pursues answers without shying away no matter how difficult the problem and builds long-term relationships of trust with clients.
In order to do so, we must turn our thoughts and passion into something concrete that can be seen and share it with the world. I frequently express this as “solidarity through diversity,” in which we state our opinions without fear of clashing with others, and create new ideas together while acknowledging our differences from others. Within diversity, we can express what makes us who we are. I believe companies of this type will survive through these times. Together with excellent employees, i-PRO wants to spread its wings across the world.