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CANON COMPETING ON CAPABILITIES This report examines the competitive strategy that enabled the camera company from Japan1 not only to break down the monopoly enjoyed by Xerox in the copier business in the 1970s but also to grow into a highly diversified multi-product and multinational premier company Specifically the report considers 1 the competitive strategy of Canon 2 the major resources and capabilities of Canon 3 management of the development and transfer of capabilities throughout the organisation 4 Canons strategic perspective 5 is Canon successful 6 conclusion and key learning points Competitive strategy The dominant generic competitive strategy adopted by Canon is differentiation The company deployed its technological capabilities and know-how in fine optics precision mechanics microelectronics and fine chemicals to develop innovative and state-of-the-art products which were of better quality than those of its competitors These products resulted mainly from the strong decentralised research facilities of the company and the incredible ability of its engineers to convert research findings to new products and technological innovation Although Canon succeeded in manufacturing products at low cost it did not deliberately compete on the basis of low price The quality of its products combined with significant amount of marketing and deliberate brand development efforts have established a sound reputation for Canon in the market and these underlie the competitive advantage of Canon Resources and capabilities The major resources of Canon are as follows 1 Financial capacity product innovation and attendant growth in sales and profits enabled provided Canon with the finance required for additional research and product development which resulted in further increases in revenue in a virtuous cycle ii Decentralised RD and new product development in addition to the companys main research centre which supports state-of-the-art research in optics electronics new materials and information technology each product division has development centres manned by its own RD personnel where 80 to 90 of the companys patentable inventions are discovered
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