Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said that it is hoping to match the domestic success of its DVD recorders in overseas markets next year.
The company is positioning DVD recorders as one of its key strategic products to make a strong recovery after suffering huge losses in the fiscal year ended March 2002.
In Japan, Panasonic-brand DVD recorders are successful, giving the company a leading position in the rapidly growing market segment. DVD recorders are expected to replace their aging predecessor, the video cassette recorder (VCR).
Matsushita has been producing DVD recorders and players at near full capacity since summer and is ready to expand its output capacity when the market expands further, company officials in Osaka, Japan said earlier this month.
Matsushita is said to now make 150,000 units a month of DVD-related consumer products at its flagship Kadoma factory in Osaka, including 80,000 units a month of DVD recorders. It hopes to boost its monthly production capacity of DVD recorders to 150,000 units within the next 2 years.
The company started launching DVD recorders in the European and the U.S. markets this past fall and now ships about 20,000 units monthly in each of the two regions.
Matsushita has also started using new manufacturing techniques to allow for the increased production of the DVD recorders.
In mid-2001, the company began using a cell production system in which small groups of workers manually assemble parts into consumer products in production lines comprised of simple work benches surrounded by parts boxes. The system, which doesn't rely on a conveyor belt, is effective for high-mix, low-volume manufacturing. It allows companies to make quick and flexible adjustments to production lines as customer needs change. It also can help trim plant-related investments, while expanding production capacity and reducing floor space. (Dow Jones)
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