Epson takes centre stage

Adrian Clark shares insight with small businesses in high profile speaking opportunity.

Epson takes centre stage

High profile speaking slot for Epson at the Federation of Small Businesses

How has Epson grown from humble beginnings as a manufacturer of high precision mechanical watches based in rural Japan in 1942, to a global technology enterprise employing over 70,000 people with an annual turnover in excess of £6 billion?

Every company starts with a seed, or a business idea. If that idea is well accepted by customers then that company grows, and if it’s successful it will manage to reinvent itself over time to stay relevant in an ever-changing marketplace.

Epson is a company that has faced many challenges during its growth and learned many lessons along the way. Part of Epson’s success is due to its strong working partnerships with many small businesses – we’ve learnt a lot from these relationships.

The art and science of manufacturing

We have stuck to our core competencies and followed the Japanese principles of Monozukuri – the art and science of manufacturing – by making products that are Sho Sho Sei – compact, energy saving and precision.

We took our core expertise and innovated on them. We developed technology based on our quartz crystal heritage which we applied to new products. Our watchmaking expertise led to printing as we were required to print out the results at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which in turn led to EP101 and the development of Micro Piezo printing solutions. Our quartz expertise also led to the development of LCD technology which enabled us to produce projectors.  Our core competencies have resulted in Epson’s global portfolio of technologies including printing solutions, visual communications, precision Sensing and Industrial products.

What drives Epson’s innovation is ‘maintaining the honest endeavour and the spirit of creativity and challenge’. By staying true to our core competencies we believe that we can contribute to society in the best way by designing quality products that are enabling businesses to succeed.

Adding value to everyday lives

We also owe our customers a great deal. No one is successful on their own and companies need partners to grow, to help support and sustain growth.

At the same time, a small company can and should influence the thinking of larger companies and that as a company grows its network of partners becomes more complex, and that finding the right partners is the challenge.

Customer feedback is vital

There are three main messages a company like Epson could impart to smaller businesses looking to grow. First is listen to your customers as constant customer feedback allows a company to plan for the changes required to help sustain growth and that planning for growth is planning for change.  Secondly, stay true to your core competencies and build on these.

And finally, work with the right partners. Establish a network of partners that are proactive in helping you to grow, and helping you to retain and maintain that growth. Recognising that you cannot do it alone is key. But asking what value your partners bring to you is just as important, and knowing which partners to take with you along the journey.