Panasonic has announced it will cease the manufacturing of refrigeration compressors in Singapore by the end of September 2022.
The decision is said to have been taken in light of the “challenging” global business outlook and as part of the Japanese manufacturer’s long-term business strategic review of the refrigeration compressor business portfolio.
Panasonic says it will now consolidate its compressor manufacturing operations to its existing facilities in Malacca (Malaysia) and Wuxi (China), including the casting operations at its current factory in Malacca (Malaysia).
Panasonic Appliances Refrigeration Devices Singapore has been one of the major global refrigeration compressor manufacturers since 1972, manufacturing inverter compressors for fridges, water coolers, and vending machines.
Around 700 employees are affected by the decision, but Panasonic insists that Singapore remains a regional and important hub for the business. Singapore will remain as the global headquarters of the refrigeration compressor business and retain its R&D facility.
Panasonic moved its refrigeration compressor business headquarters from from Kusatsu City, Shiga, Japan, to Singapore in 2017. The company said the move would allow it to more effectively meet growing customer demands in the Asian markets as well as to build a locally-based management structure for real-time decision making. At that time, Panasonic planned a full revamp of the Singapore factory to include automated guided vehicles, optimised supply routes, the establishment of centralised storage, implementation of big data and automation.
Connect is one of the largest distributors of spare parts in Europe.
In 1969, our company was founded by Michael Depper, a Birmingham-based electrical engineer. Seeing the opportunity to sell spare parts to other engineers, Mr. Depper started a profitable local distributor. The company grew very quickly and expanded to new customers throughout the country. In 1994 we took the next step in technology with the first digital catalogue on CD-ROM in the UK. This was the predecessor of our current online platform. Today we are one of the largest distributors in Europe, they have not forgotten their roots. Engineers are still a major part of our customer base, but we have expanded to many other types of customers as retailers, insurers and manufacturers.
How does Connect add value to the market?
Connect are very proud to have over 50 years of business experience under their belt and have constantly evolved to meet and anticipate market needs. As a result, connect have developed services that benefit both the repair shop and its customer. After bringing the appliance to a local repair shop, the consumer can place an order for a spare part, we
will deliver it within 24 hours. This allows the station to access a large stock while reducing inventory management in their premises. In the end, everyone wins withlower costs, less logistics and a satisfied customer with a piece in 24 hours at home. Always focus on the most important aspect: helping the consumer.
Do you think that selling a spare part is different from a finished product?
The market for finished products is very different, the customer is looking for a good that he considers useful, efficient or pleasant. The customer will try to obtain a good that will make his life easier. The spare part is a purchase of distress, time and relevance are the decisive factors. Connect are the power behind the brand, connect goal is to provide the best experience to protect the brand. Ultimately, it is about empowering the customer and helping them to solve their problem.
In addition, consumers are increasingly interested in regaining control over their purchased goods. The right to repair is increasingly in demand and this will certainly have an impact on the spare parts sector.
What are the main challenges or opportunities as one of the largest spare parts companies in Europe?
The new laws in France and Europe aim to increase repair activity throughout Europe. This is obviously a great opportunity for us, as a one-stop shop for consumers and engineers. However, as as people become more environmentally conscious and the environmental movement continues to push for a reduction in the consumption of consumer goods, we will see a change in the business model of repair connect canovercome any challenge together if we find common ground. Some manufacturers are reluctant to share their intellectual property with consumers or other stakeholders. This will create tensions in the market. In the end, connect thrive on serving all brands. Finally, when the market develops again, we will certainly face competition from countries that are not subject to European regulation. . Cheap electronic cards could cause serious damage and put the customer at risk. their role will evolve to include education and prevention to maintain safety, quality and service.
Connect now has a French subsidiary, what is your development plan in continental Europe?
Connects model is to restore economies of scale to our customers. That is exactly what we are doing in the United Kingdom and that is what we want to become in France as well. Connect will be more than a parts distributor in Europe and hope to drive the market forward. Every market is unique and it is crucial to engage with the customer to provide the best service. Connect also have close links with Agoragroup, which is partly based in France.