Have you ever wanted to get a first-hand look at the work that goes into manufacturing a rugged Panasonic Toughbook® device? How about a deep immersion in the culture of Japan? Or an opportunity to share your rugged mobility story directly with Panasonic’s engineers? Thanks to Panasonic Mobility’s 20th Anniversary “Who’s the Toughest” Sweepstakes, a few lucky Toughbook customers were able to do just that.
Throughout Panasonic Mobility’s two decades leading the rugged mobility market, one thing that has set us apart has been the close, responsive relationships we establish with our customers. As we celebrate our twentieth year equipping the extraordinary, we wanted to make sure that we paid tribute to our customers and continued the process of learning from them in order to chart a path forward for the Toughbook line.
Six Panasonic customers from the US, France and the United Kingdom who entered the sweepstakes were invited to be our guest on a trip to Japan to see where the Toughbook is made, engage in dialogue with our team members and become immersed in Japanese hospitality and culture. This exchange of ideas, culture and experiences encapsulated the strong relationship and commitment that Panasonic strives for with each of its mobility customers.
“I already held Panasonic in high regard – and this trip absolutely reinforced that faith,” said Craig Douglas, Assistant General Manager of the Brunswick & Topsham (Maine) Water District, one of the U.S. winners of the sweepstakes. The utility company utilizes Toughbook 54 laptops in their trucks for GPS routing and ensures field workers can stay connected as they service customers.
While in Japan, the customers toured the Panasonic World Center in Tokyo, providing a vision of where technology in the home and office is going over the next two decades. In Kobe they got a behind the scenes look at how the Toughbook is manufactured and tested. This visit included a tour of the manufacturing floor, in addition to a hands-on experience where our customers were guided by a member of the Panasonic factory team to assemble their very own Toughbook 20.
During a panel discussion with Panasonic executives including Mr. Hiro Sakamoto, Managing Officer of Connected Solutions Company / Director of Mobile Solutions Business Division, Mr. Steve Sakuta, GM of Product Planning, and Mr. Koji Oi, GM of Kobe factory, customers shared their own stories of how Toughbook devices’ durability, reliability and compact, lightweight construction equipped them to excel in demanding jobs. They also shared input on where they would like to see Toughbook go in future iterations, with features like new thermal sensors or built-in mobile payment options. While this conversation was a special opportunity arranged for sweepstakes winners in Japan, it is far from unique in the world of Toughbook, where we rely heavily on customer advisory councils in the US to help us better understand the tools our customers need to get the job done.
“The Toughbook platform gives us exactly what we need to do our jobs in the difficult conditions we face on a regular basis,” said Craig Douglas, “The customers in attendance really represented the many business around the globe that face these types of challenges and Panasonic is consistently delivering a superior product that meets those needs.”
But the trip wasn’t all Toughbook, all the time – our guests also received a crash course in Japanese culture and history. From staying at local ryokans, Japanese inns with tatami mat floors and traditional hospitality, to riding the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains, to participating in Samurai training, our guests were given a trip with a uniquely Japanese flare. And we can’t forget the karaoke!
Each of us at Panasonic is intensely grateful for the relationships we have with all of our customers and we were privileged to give a few of them a chance to experience that gratitude in person. As we embark on the next chapter of the Panasonic story, we know that continuing these strong ties with the men and women who need a rugged device to meet the demands of their critical jobs will be what allows us to maintain our leadership role in the rugged mobility space.
Please visit us online to learn more about the 20th anniversary of the Toughbook brand, and learn more about how we got here and what’s next.