Epson conjures spirit of monozukuri to expand, evolve
Seventy-five years ago, a small watch manufacturing company in Suwa, Japan incorporated “monozukuri” into their daily work.
Monozukuri translates to having the state of mind, the spirit to produce excellent products and the ability to improve the production system and its processes.
With monozukuri as its guiding light, the then watchmaker tinkered with technology and ventured out of its comfort zone.
Epson has since moved from making watches to producing high-quality and trusted business printers with a brand that is trusted and known for innovation.
Epson now looks into the future and it sees only one thing: Continuity.
Epson 2025 was unveiled last year when the company decided to strengthen its focus on four areas of innovation: Inkjet, visual, wearables and robotics.
These core technologies make up the foundation upon which Epson plans to “create a new age of people, things and information with efficient, compact and precision technologies.
“Epson has always been a far-thinking company. You know how the Japanese are. But Epson has brought it toward long-range plans. It’s about continuing what it established in the past, recognizing what those core technologies are, and at the same time, recognizing what can be done in the future,” said Ed Bonoan, senior general manager and marketing head of Epson Philippines Corp (EPC).
He describes Epson 2025 as the next phase of development for the company worldwide.
“A lot of what Epson stands for is the environment and then continuing people’s lives in a better way. We want our technologies to help free people from repetitive manual work and from unnecessary waste of time and effort,” he added.
What Epson wants is to become an “indispensable” company, which wants to affect people’s lives in the good way while taking care to minimize its impact on the environment.
It has been a long yet steady climb for Epson over the years. Its various products continue to lead in all market segments.
Yet for Epson, being the market leader is just the beginning of the story. It’s staying on top that is posing more of a challenge.
“It becomes even more difficult as a leader because you have to make sure to innovate all the time. We try to be thought leaders. We try to innovate practices that are unique in the industry. So we try not to follow but we try to innovate so that we can lead. So I think we’ve done that in a lot of our initiatives to be able to gain our market share. It’s not about following, it’s about leading and changing practices,” said Bonoan.
The company’s adherence to excellence and high-quality products translated to good market gains with the inkjet innovations leading with a 51-percent market share.
The professional printers category follows with a share of 41 percent. In the visual innovations or the projectors segment, it has a formidable share of 67 percent.
Bonoan believes that the culture in Epson Philippines has contributed significantly to the growth story of EPC.
“I think a lot of it had to with the way we organize ourselves. And the way we nurtured a culture—a culture of collaboration, a culture of not being relaxed, making sure there’s an urgency to things. But at the same time also being aware of the surroundings,” he explained.
Market intelligence also played a key role in gaining double-digit growth in all sectors. “We make a lot of use of market intelligence. Not only from what we hear but also from what we observe—all of these factors put together, once you take advantage of the organization, the people, the skills of the people and being aware of the environment around you. I think all of these things will contribute [to achieving our goals],” he said.
Good communication is another major factor behind Epson’s growth.
Educating the market about its technologies and what benefits the customers can derive from them was also key to unlocking success amid tight competition.
Product education is what led most schools to resort to using laser projectors in presenting their lectures in classrooms.
A laser projector-based presentation makes learning more interactive and interesting for students, it claims.
Epson expanded the market by discussing with school officials the advantages of using projectors in the classroom.
“It’s not just about pushing hardware but I think it’s about pushing the benefits of all these. Making them understand, making sure they will benefit in terms of cost, usage, in terms of the environment, in terms of making their lives, business processes easier and more successful,” he said.
Cascading product information to its partners is also crucial to success.
“Whether it be with dealers, corporate partners, our customer service partners, service partners, these are very important relationships we have to nurture. And so with that, we have to make sure that they are up to date with what we’re doing. We invest a lot in meeting with them, listening to them and at the same taking a look at what the market is doing so we can adapt,” he said.
Epson exerts these efforts as it intends to stay firmly ahead of the pack.
Bonoan believes that EPC will play a key role in implementing Epson 2025.
“We will be implementing that and we will be seeing what type of products, what type of philosophies Epson espouses so that we will implement them here. I think there’s a lot we have to see in terms of what products will be coming out in the future. And see how the country will benefit once we introduce these products. We have to find the practical applications for all these products,” he added.
Bonoan shares that one of his fears is being blindsided by the unknown. Thus management and the company have to “create” that future by taking the long view and executing plans well.
As he says to his co-leaders, “Never relax, never be comfortable wherever you are. Because that can easily be taken away in an instant. And in fact, sometimes, we have to take a look at newer strategies for the year to see whether they are working or they can be improved. It’s that constant review that we need to do to be able to keep up with the changes.”
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