Canon’s focus on building on its four core technology platforms maintains its leadership in Office Products
As the world’s leading manufacturer of printers, copiers and scanners, Canon has a pretty good grip on the digital imaging market both for the office and home. With is digital camera business still strong despite the continued blurring of camera and phone technologies, Canon’s sustained year on year growth is very much powered by developing and exploiting technology leadership in and around its core areas of capability. Since the late 90s when Hamal and Prahalad highlighted Canon as one of the exemplars in core competence thinking, the company has invested heavily in building its assets in the four core platforms of precision mechanics, fine optics, microelectronics and electronic imaging. In addition, the company has invested heavily in the development of its ‘Five Imaging Engines’ – namely image capture, electrophotography, inkjet printing, photolithography and display technology to support the Canon product businesses.
With nearly 3000 patents in 2011, the fruits of Canon’s considerable R&D investments are again clearly demonstrated. For the home market, new products include enhanced versions of its Powershot and EOS digital cameras as well as ever smaller multifunctional Pixma printers / scanners / copiers. In the all important office products sector where Canon continues to beat peers such as HP, Brother and Ricoh, recent introductions include faster but lower energy printers, as well as more large format and production equipment. All supported by an increasingly slick range of integrated software, it is Canon’s cross-sharing of new innovations across its multiple channels that enables it to make the most of the bets it is placing in the shift of the digital imaging market. Where others have misread the changes taking place, Canon has stayed very much in the driving seat.