Study of Nikon Corporation

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The Nikon has gone global and divides the globe to six regions of its operation which are the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa. The products have also been grouped in to imaging products (Digital/film cameras, lenses and accessories), precision equipment (IC/LCD steppers and scanners), sport optics (Binoculars, telescopes and laser rangefinders), instrument products (Microscopes and measuring instruments), and ophthalmic lenses (Single vision and progressive addition lenses) (Nikon, 2010).

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It has a capital of ¥ 65,475 million as of March 31 2010, where the consolidated net sales were ¥ 785,498 million as of March 31 2010 while unconsolidated net sales as of March 31 2010 were ¥ 572,972 million (Nikon, 2010). The numbers of employees in the corporation are approximately 26,125 as of March 31 2010 where the number is not inclusive of employees in subsidiary and associated companies. The company also has five main plants that include the Ohi plant, Yokohama Plant, Sagamihara Plant, Kumagaya Plant, and Mito Plant (Reynolds, p.23).

The company has developed products of quality throughout the years where the core technology center, the research and development center and the production technology center are responsible for quality and innovation. Its imaging products (72.5%) contribute to a huge proportion of the sales followed by precision equipment (19.1%), instruments (5.7%) and others (2.7%) respectively (Nikon, 2010).

The Nikon philosophy is ‘Trustworthiness and Creativity’ that presents the unchanging principles that the company are dedicated to. The aspirations include ‘Meeting needs and exceeding expectations’ where the company does not just stop at meeting the customer needs but also providing the customer with new products of value that exceed expectations; aiming at sustained growth through continuous development of all products; maximizing on the understanding and knowledge on light to produce products that transform and lead the markets currently and in future; and maintaining high integrity so as to contribute to the prosperity of the society (Nikon, 2010).

The commitments of Nikon are being firstly being pro active i.e. “Be broad-minded and well-informed in order to act quickly and resolutely” Second seeking new knowledge i.e. “Pioneer new potential through self-study and insatiable curiosity” thirdly is effective communication i.e. ‘Harmonize diverse skills by thinking out of the box and communicating effectively with others’ and last but not least displaying integrity i.e. “Work with diligence and sincerity as a responsible individual” (Nikon, 2010). The goal is “Transforming imagination into creativity” (Nikon, 2010).

This paper critically examines the Nikon Corporation its history products, markets, goals and philosophy. It continues to scrutinize the company by performing a Strength Weakness Opportunities Threats Analysis which is crucial in matching the company’s resources and capacity to the competition it faces in its operating environment; and a 4 P Product & Services Pricing Promotion and Placement Mix analysis. It elaborates the position the corporation stands in the market and current and future opportunities that the company has in terms of growth and sustainability.

Strength Weakness Opportunities Threats Analysis

Nikon has been well placed in the markets in the markets and this gives the company a competitive advantage (Armstrong, p.34). This involves an environmental scan where the internal and external analysis is carried out.

The Strengths

The patent rights of the brand are high Nikon boasts of a global established brand that sells globally and is demanded by so many customers. The Nikon products are renowned throughout the world and thus give the company a strong basis to establish itself over it competitors and any new entrant in to the markets (Tarcy Et al p.47). This is seen as strength in that the brands are preferred by customers thus more sales are made and hence more revenues to the company. When the patent right is high the company has a lot of goodwill with the company and thus becomes the favorite and hence controls a larger share in the market.

High technology in the production of products; Nikon has a reliable brand that is based on high level technological supremacy and resource and development. This has been established by the company since its inception where the products developed suit the market and become leaders in the market because of their level of technology (Nikon, 2010). The company has continued to phase out the products that are out of technology and introduced competitive products in the market that make life convenient and more comfortable.

The company has invested a lot in resource and development and alliance, and industrial knowledge so as to keep on producing basic technological products that control the market. The Nikon’s starring technology is developed in the optics, image processing, materials, precision measurement and manufacturing, software and system technologies. The technology has continued to be unique and superior which offers better performance and functionality. Such technology include Super-Resolution in Non-Linear Optical Lithography, High-Precision Thin films, Ultra-Precision Molds, Image Processing Algorithms, Lead-Free Electronics Technology, Nano Particle Coating, Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Vibration-Reduction (VR) and Predictive Focus Tracking System (Nikon, 2010).

Quality has also been a strong point for Nikon in that the products produced have always been regarded for their high quality in the market. This makes Nikon products have a competitive advantage over its competitors.

The diversification of the products that the company has is also a very strong strategy to remain in business (Tarcy Et al. p.52). This is the case because the company does not rely on a single product to get its revenues thus diversify the risks in the markets. The company has diversified to produce products like microscopes, measurement instruments, binoculars, cameras, and steppers that it has continued to dominate the market and contribute to the company’s revenue.

Nikon continues to boast of a very wide distribution network. The global dominance in the five regions which are the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa gives it a competitive advantage over those with ineffective distribution mechanisms (Nikon, 2010). Even in each region there is specialty in the products that are more preferred by the customers hence more sales. There is also presence of subsidiaries and affiliate companies that make the products available to the customers easily and in time. The effective distribution network enables the company to study the dynamics of the market in time and respond quickly before the markets are dominated by other competitors.

The global presence is strength due to balancing of the currencies where the company can absorb shock from depreciation of currencies in areas that they are operating in (Tarcy Et al. p.71). The global presence can also be important in that when products are not moving in one region they can be transferred to other regions that require the products and thus promote business. Nikon has global and regional presence that enables the company to study the dynamics of each region and apply the best strategy. It is also possible to shift the products to other markets when they are bought at a slower rate in other regions thus save on production.

Nikon has also invested a huge amount of finances in its business; the capital of ¥ 65,475 million invested by the company is a way to lock out investors that cannot raise such an amount hence helps it in dominating the markets.

The Nikon D1H camera is known for its solid build where the handling and the ergonomics is very efficient with a strong and fast autofocus. It is also weatherproof and is very fast since it as the 5 fps. It also produces large images that are approximately 40 jpeg fine (Nikon, 2010).

Weakness

Nikon has a poor marketing strategy where promotion of products has been low and the products have not been known to many consumers. The marketing systems have been reluctant and not aggressive enough to make the products known in all regions.

The production of the Nikon scan scanner software that was faulty was a major weakness to detest its products in the market. The Nikon Scan has remained redundant in the number of images it determines in that it only determines 99 images and stops working (Nikon, 2010). For images above 100 the scanner must be restarted to continue its function. This is a very crucial part in that the customer can judge the products quality through one product and lead to rejection of the rest.

The scanner software did not also have proper calibration procedures even after the purchase of an IT-8 Target. The Nikon NiMh camera batteries are not user friendly also they are heavy and big while they are sold expensively at shops (Nikon, 2010). They are also bad since they need recharge or be replaced once the camera is put in use for a shorter time than other cameras.

There is a global phobia where people detest products from Japan and China and see then as counterfeits or of low quality. Products from these countries may have low sales due to such phenomenon and the company must be able to fight this negative attitude of the products it produces.

Opportunities

The digital world has numerous chances that have not been exploited the customers are yet to be fulfilled (Böhm, p.23). Customers still yearn for better digital products as they are produced. Any company that deals in technology has opportunities to control the market share through unique products or products that are user friendly and technologically advanced. In cameras manufacturing better products gives the company a chance to remain competitive. In view of the fact that Nikon has invested heavily in resource and development then it stands a chance to better opportunities.

Trade is being liberalized in many regions and thus there are possibilities of governments loosening regulations of operations. This will be instrumental in allowing further development of the company to such countries where it is not yet penetrated (Ferrell, & Hartline, p.35). Nikon has the capability to expand its production processes to other countries where there is distribution is done from exports. This will be easier and cheaper to reduce costs of production since the products are will be produced locally hence extra costs are eliminated (Böhm, p.48).

Nikon may prefer mergers with companies like Sony so as to be much effective and build an empire that will control a large market share. a vertical merger will be more effective where the companies do not loose their identity but merge as a necessity to better their business objectives.

Threats

Nikon faces stiff competition from other globally renowned companies such as Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Canon, Kodak, Casio, and Pentax that all deal with the similar products. Such companies pose a threat of controlling the market share that Nikon holds. There is also the threat that the customers may shift their taste and prefer other company’s products due to better marketing techniques applied by the other companies.

New regulations may appear in different regions that may affect the company’s operations in view of the fact that they may be unfavorable or strict. These regulations may include trade regulations that may be a barrier to efficient trade. In the Middle East peace has not been brokered by the warring parties and this political stand off will be a threat to business in the region.

4P strategy

The Product & Services, Pricing, Promotion, and Placement (Distribution) analysis of Nikon Corporation will be effective in establishing the company’s position in the market and the opportunities that may be available for sustainable growth (Ferrell, & Hartline, p.39). This gives a customer oriented approach that ensures that the business ventures into the market in a way that it will meet all the customers’ demands and expectations. The 4P marketing strategy is also known as the SIVA strategy which is translated as the Solution (product), Information (Promotion), Value (Price), and Access (Place) (Ferrell, & Hartline, p.39).

Product

Nikon deals with a range of products that are aimed at maximizing customer satisfaction. The products include imaging products such as the Digital/film cameras, lenses and accessories; precision equipment such as IC/LCD steppers and scanners; sport optics such as the Binoculars, telescopes and laser rangefinders; instrument products such as the Microscopes and measuring instruments; and ophthalmic lenses such as the Single vision and progressive addition lenses.

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The imaging products are specifically the digital SLR Cameras, Digital compact cameras, speed-lights, software, film scanners, film SLR cameras, and Nikkor lenses. The microscopes include the biological, digital, industrial, stereoscopic and multi-purpose zoom. The precision equipment includes the IC stepper and scanner and the LCD stepper and scanners in different series (Nikon, 2010).

The packaging is attractive with different colors and the Nikon brand name on them with each product packed with a user manual so as to enable the user steps of operation. The packaging is also ensured to shock proof to protect the products from any falling or mishandling. A return form is also placed in the packaging that bears the name and address of the company.

The company logo is also encrypted in all products. It bears the words handle with care that cautions any person handling them that they are delicate and prone to damage. The customers are also assured of a warranty for every product they buy that is from authorized distributors.

Pricing

Each product has a specific price and the prices vary in every region and according to the specifications. The price for Digital SLR Cameras is $7,999.95; NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 is $469.95, AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III is $499.95; AF DC-NIKKOR 105mm f/2D is $1,199.95, and COOLPIX S640 is $219.95 (Nikon, 2010).

The LS-9000 Nikon scanner is sold at $2799.99; while SB-400 Speed-light unit is sold at $149.99; SB-600 Speed-light unit is sold at $249.99; and SB-900 Speed-light unit is sold at $349.99 (Nikon, 2010). Compared to the competitors prices Nikon’s prices are averagely similar in the markets thus leaving the customer to choose the best product that suits them.

Promotion

This includes the Advertising, Professional Selling, Sales Promotion, and Publicity of the products by the company (Ferrell, & Hartline, p.57). Nikon Corporation in June 2003 dissolved the Nikon sales promotion Co. ltd in view of the fact that it was not affecting its mandates to the corporation. Its mandate was shifted to Nikon Corporation business units that would effectively carryout the marketing and advertising.

Nikon has also implemented the CSR strategy that includes several promotional strategies which include the education and awareness, surveying and monitoring, preventions of violations, and a consultative reporting system. The education strategy seeks to educate the employees in the corporation to create a favorable workplace environment through this promotion strategy the employees are able to promote the company to the public. The company also conducts awareness surveys that help gauge the products place in the market this helps promotion in laying the right procedure to advertise the products that have low sales.

Nikon also promotes the products through print and advertising. It also holds photo exhibitions like the Photokina that helps in showcasing all the recent products by the company. Photo shootouts are also organized where customers are able to try out the new products and know their operations, availability and prices.

Billboards are also used to advertise the products so as to reach the customer more efficiently. Taxi branding where taxis are branded with the company logo and products to promote the products is done globally. Nikon has also been involved in supporting sports such as formula one and advertised during the events (Nikon, 2010).

Placement (distribution)

Nikon is present globally with all its products being traded world over. The market has been segmented into regions that enable ease of distribution of the products to the customers. There are six regions which are the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa (Nikon, 2010). In each region there are authorized distributors of the products where they are then further sub-divided into sub divisions that help penetrate the market effective and reach the customers in time.

Conclusion

The general life cycle of the products from Nikon starts from the receiving of raw materials, then to the material, component and product manufacture, then to transport, where it is then used by the customer after which it is then recycled or disposed. Nikon has developed a competitive advantage over other companies and has definitely benefited from the effective marketing strategy it has.

Work Cited:

Armstrong, Michael. Management Processes and Functions, London: CIPD, 1996

Böhm, Anja. The SWOT Analysis. Boston: GRIN Verlag, 2009

Tarcy, Brian,. Bradford, Robert and Duncan, Peter. Simplified Strategic Planning: A No-Nonsense Guide For Busy People Who Want Results Fast!. New York: Chandler House Press, 2000

Ferrell, Olive C. & Hartline, Michael D. Marketing Strategy. Ed.4, New York: Cengage Learning, 2008

Nikon. Nikon Corp, 2010. http://www.nikon.com/ November 27, 2010

Nikon. Product Assessment, Nikon Corp, 2010. http://www.nikon.com/ November 27, 2010

Reynolds, Clyde. Nikon F Book. New York: Focal Press, 1977

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