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Movement begins to transform basic business structures
In 1978, the Japanese economy was in a period of slow growth, faced with international trade friction and a rising yen. Finding that short-term business plans were all too easily affected by changing economic factors, the company replaced its annual plans with a system of three-year mid-term plans.
In 1981, management formulated a long-term plan clarifying two key elements of corporate strategy: 1) that the company would develop into a comprehensive electronics manufacturer from its foundation in consumer products; and 2) that, in order to enter innovative new lines of business, it would have to actively research and develop promising new components, semiconductor devices and manufacturing processes. Having clarified its technology development policy, Panasonic assigned R&D priorities and initiated concrete projects.
To accelerate its development into a comprehensive electronics manufacturer, the company launched the three-year ACTION 86 plan in 1983. This plan had three major aims-to reform the company's business structure, strengthen management and reinforce overseas operations.
Six guiding principles were stipulated governing overseas expansion:
1. The company should operate its business in such a way that it will be welcomed by its host countries.
2. The company should develop its business while respecting national policies.
3. The company should manufacture products that are internationally competitive in terms of quality, performance and price.
4. The company should actively promote overseas technology transfer.
5. The company's overseas businesses should be profitable and capable of financing their own expansion.
6. The company should be committed to developing a capable local work force.
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