Panasonic System President is Out

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 19, 2015

The architect of $1+ Billion Panasonic North America 'solution' oriented business is out.

In this note, we share feedback from Panasonic, examine his controversial plan and what this means for the security division.

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Comments (11)

This has been a long time coming. Japan HQ assigned Rance a Japanese handler or sorts six months ago or so - no one knew what he did, but he was always around, and treated with obvious deference. There is no doubt that he was asked to resign.

Rance's conflict goes much deeper than just numbers, it's also ideology. Panasonic does not want to be a solution company, they want to be a product company. I fought that fight every day. There is an old guard who has been at Panasonic for 15+ years. These guys bought nice boats and sent their kids to college by pushing Toughbooks, and they don't want to change. 80% of police cars have a Toughbook in them, and the in car camera system is just as strong. Rance tried to change that culture, and it needs to change. Panasonic has a huge amount of momentum, and can run for a long time on the skinny Toughbook margins, but entropy catches everyone eventually.

Panasonic culture will not allow them to disrespect the opinions of senior folks who are anti-solution sales. They are, quite literally, waiting for these people to die so that they can change. We'll see if they last that long.

1, excellent feedback. So do you think it would be better for Panasonic to be a 'solutions' company?

They need to be a solutions company, there is no margin in hardware. Panasonic makes pretty much everything. If they could figure out how to do it, they could bring down some really interesting projects. Look at an Emergency Operations Center. Panasonic makes the computers, monitors, video wall, projectors, phones, HVAC, lighting, generators, kitchens, battery backups, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting. They also have relationships with installers/integrators who could do all the work with Panasonic as a prime. It's great money if they could pull it off.

Can you really pull that off? "I am going to sell you some Panasonic IP cameras, a Panasonic refrigerator, a Panasonic battery backup and a Panasonic scanner?"

I see the sales potential of selling end to end within a given area (like end to end video surveillance or end-to-end kitchen equipment) but selling across different areas of businesses seems a lot harder, yes/no?

If you are high enough up the deal, you can do it. It's really a total company transformation - you're becoming a Halibuton of sorts. You aren't working with the security director, you're working with the Architect.

Sure, but how often can you get that high up, that you get a corporation to mass purchase all your products? And what happens the rest of the time for companies who are not bulk buying kitchen, car and surveillance equipment from the same manufacturer?

Everytime a rep with a company that does a lot of different things says he'll get this person or that person who deals with that other product division to contact me, it rarely ever happened. It's like they're averse to leads from inside their own company for some reason. (Maybe there's a profit sharing rule common in that scenario, so sales people in different divisions spend more time on outside leads so they don't have to share commission with fellow corporate sales people...?)

Update: In the past year, Panasonic has built their own traditional security focused sales force to complement their manufacturer rep firms.

Still missing Rep Firms in certain key areas. The Southeast (6 states) specifically has been without for almost 2 years. Hear there is another shakeup in management happening now.

This Pansonic ex-President is back in the industry (well, sort of). Rance Poehler is now VP of Global Sales at Pivot3.

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