What was the strategy behind the decision to enter the Panamanian market?
Panama is not only a hub for logistics, transportation, and communications, but it also could be considered a global leading hub for knowledge and technology sharing. Because of this, Canon has increased the number of activities in Panama to better support business partners in Latin America and Caribbean countries. Our international operation is responsible for the translation of several kinds of documents and interactive media, and for technical support, system support, and service infrastructures. In addition, it carries the development of new businesses to open new markets in solutions related to software, multi-functional printing/scanning devices, large format products, and digital printing technology. It also provides complete regional customer support, ranging from a contact center help desk that uses a variety of communication channels, to a camera and video regional repair facility with the highest factory standards. Our geographical position has contributed to the diversity of activities that operate from our country. Canon Panama this year celebrates 47 years of presence in Panama, and we are the oldest affiliated company in Canon Group globally.
We have contributed to the development of our country providing employment to more than 226 Panamanian families, and through the sale of our products we have benefited different sectors that use the technology such as in education, health, tourism, architecture, corporate, and others. And, with the solutions that we are offering, we contribute to reduce costs, and increase efficiency and productivity in the business world.
What has been the key for Canon's success in Panama?
I believe that success lies in our excellent products. However, I believe that the key reason why we hold the number-one slot for some of them, such as copiers and printers, is because of the quality of the service that we provide our customers. Everything that we do is concentrated in customer care. This supports our philosophy; always oriented to customer satisfaction. For example, in the copier business, we are trying to customize service and product alike to specific customer needs.
Business Week named Canon one of the best brands in the world? What has this meant in commercial terms?
I believe that the recognition is not simply of the quality of the product, but also for our large number of licenses and patents. The company's focus is to understand customers and markets needs. Delivering excellent service, improving efficiency, and increasing productivity; this is something Canon is trying to do with all its products, and it is very important to maintain customer loyalty. Canon continues to take on new challenges, turning today's efforts into tomorrow's growth. Our concentration continually pursues R&D related to the basic technology that will sustain the company's future, the elemental technology that gives our products their competitive edge, and the platform technology shared by Canon's various products.
What challenges will the ICT sector face over the coming years?
Our economy is based on services. There are many aspects that contribute to be strong as they are our geographical position, the stability of the banking system, the use of the US dollar, and the laws created to attract investors. All of these require us to be on top of all of them. We still need to invest in upgrading all public institutions to increase our competitiveness. We should not only think about improving on the technology side. Together, in the government and in private enterprise, we have to promote major changes in the education sector to meet the demand for talent going into companies.