Thoughts on the New Year

By Mr. Minoru Usui

Positive signs for the future

The business environment affecting Epson is tough, primarily as a result of yen appreciation and a global economic slowdown that was touched off by U.S.-China trade friction. These headwinds will inevitably continue in the new year, so we must quickly respond by executing strategic actions.

Despite the challenging environment, however, Epson is steadily launching products and services that will lead to future growth. These include

  • high-capacity ink tank printers, which are catching on in advanced economies;
  • a strong lineup of high-speed linehead inkjet multifunction printers and commercial and industrial large-format printers;
  • inkjet heads for sale to external partners;
  • a projector lineup made stronger by laser light source platforming;
  • analog watches on which wearable products management resources were focused;
  • numerous new robot products; and
  • small, accurate, high-precision microdevices that are more competitive than ever before.

Our software and solutions sales are beginning to get on track. We are providing things such as academic plans for Smart Charge printers in Japan, Color Control Technology for commercial LFPs, and improved DX (digital transformation) infrastructure. Our Epson 25 corporate vision serves as a compass that guides the actions we have been taking, so we will stay confident in our plans and move forward.


Building and efficiently increasing strong customer touch points

The world is moving and changing faster than anticipated.and we must be more adequately positioned to build and efficiently increase robust customer touch points. This year, we will drive three actions to build and efficiently increase strong customer touch points.

First, we need to efficiently build strong customer relationships. To do so, we must better position ourselves to understand diverse customer needs. We can grasp these needs and flexibly provide the best value through various means, such as customization, direct communication, and subscriptions.

Second, we must make platforms our biggest strength. We will therefore create and reinforce technology, product, and service platforms that enable us to efficiently meet customer needs. Strategic technology, product, and service platforms enabled by strong manufacturing infrastructure will enable us to provide the best products and services for diverse customer needs, with the least amount of labor.

And third, we must strengthen our business infrastructure. Business is becoming increasingly complex. Customer touch points have proliferated, and products are more sophisticated than ever. To execute complex business quickly and efficiently, we must efficiently increase visibility so that anyone can instantly see the order management, logistics, and customer situation. We must lay a foundation that allows us to effectively and agilely manage, analyze, plan, and execute business. We will take advantage of the latest IT to accelerate actions to build Group-wide, integrated management infrastructure.


The purpose of Epson’s businesses

Humankind, confronted by planet-wide crises such as global warming, is in the midst of immense technological change brought about by digitization that is forcing us to change. We must continuously ask ourselves our reason for being and our mission as a company. We must boldly take on challenges and perfect our existing strengths while creating new strengths. We will contribute to the world and make Epson an indispensable company by squarely facing social issues with integrity and effort, and by creating the type of new value that only Epson can by exercising creativity and taking on difficult challenges. Epson will play a central role in realizing a better and more sustainable world. We must further evolve our strengths, starting with our efficient, compact, and precision technologies. We must actively bring in AI and other digital technologies and create new value through digitization and contributions to environmental solutions. Epson will play a major role in driving innovations in printing and other production processes, in advancing the frontiers of industry and society, and in leading the circular economy.

The strategies for achieving this are Epson 25 and, from a longer view, our revised Environmental Vision 2050. We will drive advances in our four areas of innovation (inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics) by refining existing and creating new core technologies and core devices, using them to create platforms for products and services that enable us to agilely create concrete customer value and build strong, lasting relationships with customers. Furthermore, we will accelerate the creation of even greater value through collaboration and open innovation with like-minded partners who share our aspirations.


Commitment to our vision

It is important to remember that no philosophy or strategy will be acknowledged as successful until it is lived, executed, and yields positive results. To execute a strategy, you need the support of society, customers, and shareholders. The Phase 2 Mid-Range Business Plan for achieving Epson 25 is designed to transform business operations to achieve high profitability. The business profit target in FY2021, the final year of the mid-range plan, is 96 billion yen. This profit represents the value that we sell to customers and, moreover, is the source of funds for achieving sustained growth. Profit is also an indicator that will restore the trust of capital markets. This target is non-negotiable. Just as important, however, is establishing strong business infrastructure and business operations that enable us to exceed this target in the future. The potential size of the markets we are targeting is immense, and the 96-billion-yen target is achievable. If we act without a philosophy or strategy, we will end up simply putting together numbers to make it appear as if we have accomplished something. However, a philosophy or strategy without action is nothing more than empty words. To execute strategic actions, we need to work toward ambitious goals that will bring surprise and delight to our customers. Organizations with vibrant employees who embrace high aspirations can demonstrate the utmost teamwork and collective strength.

With good products and services in place, we are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities before us. All Epson employees believe in our vision and will move resolutely forward with confidence as a team to make Epson an indispensable company.


Minoru Usui


About Epson

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to co-creating sustainability and enriching communities by leveraging its efficient, compact, and precision technologies and digital technologies to connect people, things, and information. The company is focused on solving societal issues through innovations in home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle. Epson will become carbon negative and eliminate use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the worldwide Epson Group generates annual sales of around JPY 1 trillion.

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Author profile

Mr. Minoru Usui

Mr. Minoru Usui is president of Seiko Epson Corporation. He has shown strong leadership in realigning Epson and seeks to create a company that is indispensable to its customers and society. Mr. Usui joined Epson in 1979 and worked on developing thermal printers desktop calculators. In 1988, he moved to the company’s inkjet printer development department and worked on Epson’s Micro Piezo technology which lead to the creation of Epson’s first Micro Piezo consumer printer. In 1997 he was made general manager in charge of inkjet development and in 2002 was promoted to company director and deputy COO of Epson’s overall printing business. He was appointed President in 2008 and, following the world financial crisis, set about re-defining Epson’s growth strategy and corporate vision by building on the company’s core technologies in printing, projection and sensing.