Nikon Update September 2016: Message From The President

Nikon released a message from president Kazuo Ushida on 23 September. The message in its entirety is reproduced as follows:

As we celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2017, we are truly grateful for your continuous support and guidance. Since the company was established in 1917, Nikon has cultivated its status as a pioneer of optical technologies. Guided by our corporate philosophy of “Trustworthiness and Creativity,” we have continued to challenge ourselves to provide a wide range of products and services globally by harnessing our advanced technologies, the core of which encompasses opto-electronics and precision technologies.

The global business environment has experienced drastic changes in the last few years. Rapid advancement in the field of information technology has helped expedite the installation of new networking infrastructure around the world. As it becomes possible to process more and more data at ever-faster speeds, information technologies continue to change how we do business and how we live our lives. Companies should not merely be satisfied with variations of conventional ideas. They must also have the creativity to proactively identify perpetually changing market needs, as well as the agility to quickly respond to changes.

With society facing a historic transition comparable to the Industrial Revolution, we at Nikon are making a major shift, from a corporate culture that largely depends on hardware to an enterprise that proposes business solutions, while keeping focused on “Trustworthiness and Creativity” as our manufacturing philosophy.
Changing the mindset of each of our staff members is of the utmost importance. We are emphasizing three values in particular — “Curiosity” to explore out-of-the-box possibilities, “Open Mind” to flexibly accept opinions from other fields, and “Power to Inspire” that is essential for guiding and motivating groups that work together

By encouraging staff members to proactively engage with customers and discover new needs, Nikon will be much better equipped to propose appropriate business solutions. By repeating this cycle, we are determined to expand our business fields and become an ideal company from which society will have higher expectations.

This year marks the halfway point of Nikon’s Medium Term Management Plan, announced in May 2015. Our goal is to exhibit progress not only in our instruments and medical businesses — the two fields we expect to grow — but in all of our businesses, including precision equipment and imaging products.

We ask for your continued support and guidance on this exciting journey.

This message is actually not surprising if you read my analysis of Nikon’s 2016 annual report. There is an urgent company-wide push to re-invent the established ways of thinking within the groups. So this message just reinforces what was already mentioned, and make a statement to shareholders and financial observers that “we are serious about what we said earlier”. Oh of course Nikon customers also count among the target audience – except that even loyal Nikon fans who moan day and night and tear out their hair about the direction of the company don’t ever bother to read an annual report. I consider these to be one of the most reliable indicators for a company’s strategy. We can get a lot of worthless rhetoric in an interview, but these reports and messages have to present hard facts and strategies (Of the lack thereof. As an exercise, try reading Ricoh’s annual report in recent years to identify what level of significance Ricoh places on the Pentax camera business. 😛 ).

At a more practical level, this counts as a reassurance to financial watchers curious about why there has been still no announcement of the D810 and D750 successors this late into the year. “We are working on thinking-out-of-the-box to start doing something different” is the message here. This is not unique. In the late 2000s, Sony also went through a long transition, changing from a manufacturer of over-priced proprietary hardware to a modern company offering digital services and devices which adhere to open standards.

I will also like to add this also ties in nicely with my analysis of the MRMC acquisition. Nikon is trying to do something different now. I am cautiously optimistic. We may just have to wait another 3 months (CES in January) to evaluate if the plans are all worthwhile. – WY

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