Reengineering & Restructuring at Canon|Business Strategy|Case Study|Case Studies

Reengineering & Restructuring at Canon

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR091
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 1990 - 2003
Organization : Canon Inc
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Japan
Industry : Office Equipment

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note Contd...

In 1942, Takeshi Mitarai (Mitarai) an auditor with the company became Precision's first president. In 1945, Precision commenced production of midrange JII focal-plane shutter cameras, and, in the following year, it opened the Ginza camera service station. In 1947, Precision changed its name to Canon Camera Co (Canon Camera). In 1949, the company's shares were listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and it established a chemical division to provide solutions to problems related to camera materials. In the early 1950s, Canon Camera set up manufacturing plants at Shimomaruko, Ohta-ku in Tokyo district. It also forged alliances with research laboratories to develop new products. In 1954, the company along with NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories,7 developed television cameras. In the mid-1950s, Canon Camera started setting up branches abroad. In 1955, it established an office in New York (USA). In 1957, Canon Europa the sole distributor in Europe was established in Geneva (Switzerland).

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During the same period, the company acquired Chichibu Eikosha Co., (optical components supplier) to establish Canon Electronics Inc. In 1958, Canon's chemical division was reorganized as a research division and the company started focusing on optical fibers and fixed lasers.

In 1959, Canon Camera entered the micrographics market through a tie-up with a US-based company Documat Inc. In the same year, it entered the magnetic heads market and the Synchroreader8 - Canon's first audio visual product was launched. In 1961, it introduced Canonet - a 35mm camera with automatic exposure mechanism. Canonet was a highly successful product with one million units being sold in less than two years. In 1962, the company formulated its first five-year plan with an aim to enter the business machines market and expand its research activities. In the same year, the company established a product development section. In July 1963, it produced a prototype of the 10-key calculator,9 but the management was not keen on commercializing the product due to doubts about its success...

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7] The NHK Science & Technical Research Laboratories (STRL) was established in 1930. For over 70 years, STRL's research has spanned the entire broadcasting technology field, from fundamental research dealing with human audio-visual characteristics and physical properties/materials, devices for imaging, recording, and displays, to broadcasting systems and services.

8] Synchroreader a completely new magnetic recording-playback system and a recording medium based on a magnetic surface and head was developed by Canon. However the product was not successful when it was launched commercially in 1961.

9] Though Canon was the first company to develop the prototype of the 10-key calculator, it was marketed first by Sharp Electronics (leading Japanese electronic company).


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