Canon Supply Chain Management

Topics: Digital single-lens reflex camera, Strategic management, Lean manufacturing Pages: 7 (2269 words) Published: August 27, 2013
The Canon Company was founded in 1933 with the sole intent of producing the world’s best 35mm camera. By the 1960s, the company began to explore the imaging technologies industry and started developing business machines such as printers and calculators. In 1967, the management slogan "cameras in the right hand, business machines in the left" was unveiled and in 1969 the company changed its name from Canon Camera Co., Inc. to Canon Inc. (Canon Inc., 2013) This was a turning point for Canon; it began to spread geographically, opening offices in Europe and the Americas. Canon’s focus on product development led to their eventual overtaking of Xerox in the copying market. Since then, Canon has grown to become one of the world's largest electronics manufacturers, while the firm's camera products continue to enjoy a high profile (Birnik, 2012). Fast forwarding to present times Canon has become a leader in the imaging industry. They boast a wide product mix ranging from personal and professional cameras, home and large enterprise printers and copy machines, and sophisticated industrial medical equipment. Canon is celebrating 80 years of business this year at their headquarters in Tokyo, Japan (Canon Inc., 2013).

In the beginning Canon was strictly governed by a Japanese management style. This style relied heavily on collaboration of all parties involved, to produce superior quality products and services, as well as lifetime employment, and tremendous employee benefits. However, more recently Fujio Mitarai, president and CEO of Canon has adopted a “fusion of Eastern and Western corporate principles” (Kunii, 2002). The Canon Corporation calls their corporate philosophy ‘Kyosei’, which they define as “All people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future”. The philosophy continues to describe how the company believes they must “foster good relations… with their customers and the community” (Canon Inc., 2013). The first part of the philosophy implies an emphasis on respect for people, which is a characteristic of Japanese management style. The latter portion of the philosophy demonstrates the importance of customers to the company a western management principal.

Canon has acquired most of it success through creating valuable high quality products. Vertical integration has made it possible for Canon to produce this caliber of products. Canon is constantly exploring avenues to reinforce in-house production as a means of accumulating know-how and reducing costs. Canon has gone to great measures striving for its products to be solely reliant on in-house production. The in-house production of molds as well as electro photographic and optical key components was a starting point for Canon. Recently, Canon further promoted their in-house production capabilities to include rubber functional components, circuit boards and plastic components. Another example is the Kawasaki Office has begun utilizing the in-house production of semiconductor devices, including image sensors for digital SLR cameras. The whole value chain inside Canon Corporation, it is very efficient and effective. It is well integrated and running smoothly. The entire processes of Canon’s value chain are unique and based on economics of scale, thus hard to copy. (Tuttle, 2001)

By utilizing the in-house production method, Canon can effectively and efficiently vertically integrate its products internally throughout factories as well as externally to the market. This type of integration creates value to the company as well as to Cannon’s loyal customers. Vertical Integration allows Canon to focus on training the best people, buying and using the best equipment available, and running innovative marketing campaigns and strategies. Canon executives are constantly reviewing the global production network to establish an optimal global production structure. The anticipated growth of the workforce worldwide makes it necessary...

References: Birnik, Andreas (2012). The Branding Challenges of Asian Manufacturing Firms. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from
Canon Inc. (2013). About Us. Retrieved April 24, 2013 from
Heizer, J., & Render, B. (2011). Operations management (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice-Hall.
Kunii. (2002). How East Meets West at Canon. Businessweek. Retrieved April, 24, 2013 from
Mullins. (2013). Marketing Strategies for New and Growing Markets. McGraw Hill. Retrieved April 25, 2013 from
Tuttle, Mark. (2001). The Position of Canon: A reality Check. Retrieved April 25, 2013 from
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