With technology manufacturers facing extraordinary global supply chain pressures, i-PRO EMEA Vice President Hideo Hiraishi explains how his organisation has been structured to bring certainty to partners and customers in uncertain times.
With global supply chain issues, technology component shortages and rising price pressures, it is a challenging time to be a global manufacturer. The result is often extended delivery dates and regular reviews of product pricing – neither of which is good news for the channel and its customers. So how does a security camera manufacturer address these issues?
The answer is head-on. At i-PRO, we have already made public commitments on delivery times and maintaining current pricing levels. We announced in February a Quick Delivery Service for all key models, with availability 2-4 days from the European warehouse and 2-4 weeks from the factory. In addition, the company has committed to maintain the prices of its cameras, including the AI-enabled models, despite global pricing pressures.
The ability to make these good news announcements, going against the tide of the rest of the industry, is the result of a number of important steps that have been taken since spinning out of Panasonic last year.
At that time, we made the commitment to be the trusted next-generation partner for the security industry, by listening closely to customers and rapidly bringing solutions to market to meet their needs. We also put in place a number of important factors that would make us a flexible and agile manufacturer and allow us to bring certainty and stability to our partners and customers.
A first step was establishing our own direct procurement routes. As an agile new business, we were able to establish multiple supply sources for key components and commit to our suppliers for the long-term. As a result, we have a secure pipeline of chips, semi-conductors and other key components for the foreseeable future.
Increased investment and modular design
In addition, we have raised our investment in product development by 150% and moved to a modular design approach for our security cameras. This requires less components to be kept in stock, enables the manufacturing facilities to produce more cameras faster and also allows new products to be rapidly developed and introduced to the market. This fiscal year we will have introduced 30 new AI-enables camera models and in the next financial year we plan over 100 new camera models to meet the increasing and varying customer demand for different requirements – from traditional security to innovative industry 4.0 applications.
Central European distribution
In addition, we established a central European warehouse in the Netherlands to enable quick delivery and we retain higher levels of our best-selling models to ensure supply can always be met. This well connected hub, that carries out HDD Staging and Quality Assurance, is also supported by security industry logistics specialists to ensure deliveries are made on time with good quality.
Importantly, we have also invested in and revitalised our channel partner programme. By working more closely than ever with our partners, we are able to monitor opportunities and demand more closely and match production to meet those market requirements.
By combining more than 60 years’ experience of security camera manufacturing at Panasonic with this agile new i-PRO business model, we have been able to respond to the challenges of the global supply chain and still meet the needs of our partners and customers during this delicate period. When we put all these measures in place, we did not anticipate that they would become this important. However, as the trusted next-generation partner, it is our mission and commitment to our partners to equip them with the right products, at the right time, and at the right price to enable them to grow their business.