CHANGING MINDSETS

Panama 2017 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Elsa De Sucre, General Manager of Canon Panama, on milestones, the printer business, and e-commerce.

Elsa De Sucre
BIOGRAPHY
Elsa De Sucre has over 38 years of experience working for Canon Panama. Today, in addition to being the General Manager, she is also the Director of Human Resources, General Affairs, and Legal. She firmly believes in the corporate philosophy of the company, “Kyosei,” meaning living and working together for the common good.

What are the main milestones that Canon has achieved over the last year?

This year we celebrate our 50th anniversary. Our challenge is to work tirelessly to be leaders in the national market and encourage our staff to provide our customers and business partners with the best in technology and solutions. We have internal and external factors that sometimes do not allow us to meet our budgets or complete our projects; however, our platform in the country is one of the best in the world because of our geographical position. For us, it is important because we not only have domestic operations but also support our international operation from here in addition to the different activities we undertake. We support sales for Latin America and the Caribbean and also have a call center for Latin American countries. We have specialized staff that support sales operations, marketing operations, and software development for Latin American countries, which are all a result of our position and the talented people who work for us.

Can you tell us about the leading projects you are currently focusing on?

Domestically, we want to cover all the vertical market with new products; for example, Canon acquired Oce Products and we want to launch this printing solution in Panama. Another project that we are working on is to enhance customer satisfaction in the services area following Canon Inc., OIP Human Capital Project. In order to improve the efficiency of our technicians, reduce costs for our customers, and respond timely to customers, we are also working to launch an e-commerce project. One of our latest projects is to improve the sales of professional cameras EOS and CINEMA, working with professional photographers and providing better services to our customers in this segment.

In the printer business 53% of the local market is controlled by Canon. What are you doing to increase this solid position in the market further?

Our position is due to our corporate philosophy, which is oriented to customer satisfaction; one of the key points to survive in an environment where there are many competitors is to support the customer. We want to explore new opportunities, collaborate not only with our staff but also with our business partners, and build up our infrastructure to support not only the sales but also the service that we provide to customers. This is the key if we want to maintain our leading position across all our lines. Service is everything and as soon as a company provides excellent service it is quickly recognized as a market leader; word of mouth has been extremely helpful to us.

What is your strategy for e-commerce to widen your portfolio composition and reach new clients?

We are penetrating the e-commerce segment; we will soon begin training for the staff involved in this project. E-commerce is related to millennials; according to studies and analysis, by 2025 54% of consumers will be millennials. Panama is not yet a mature market for e-commerce; we do not have a complete infrastructure to provide timely deliveries, which is something that we are studying and preparing for. Some of the logistics companies that we receive quotations from want to enter this segment but do not have a great deal of experience. In the US, for example, everyone buys through the internet and we need to change the mindset here and educate people because Panamanians want to go to stores, test a product, or feel it before purchasing and this mentality will not help e-commerce sales. However, e-commerce is the future and we need to start taking steps in order to develop this part of the business.

How do you work to cement your leading position in the corporate segment?

In the corporate segment, we have specialized people who take care of specialized business that we call major accounts and global accounts. For example, from here we have local customers that have global accounts that Canon needs to take care of around the world; our experts in software manage global accounts not only in Panama or the Caribbean, but also from other countries beyond Latin America. We are focused on solutions; everyone now wants efficiency, productivity, and lower costs. Our main responsibility is to understand our clients' needs and improve their business.