Efficiency, innovation power Epson's success, says CEO
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Efficiency, innovation and precision power Epson’s success, says CEO

Efficiency, innovation and precision power Epson’s success, says CEO

Seiko Epson Corporation’s CEO and president Yasunori Ogawa shares insights on its strategies, successes and plans, with a special focus on the Middle East market

Neesha Salian
Yasunori Ogawa CEO of Seiko Epson Group IMage: Supplied

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, Seiko Epson Corporation stands out for its consistent innovation and commitment to sustainability. At the helm of this global giant is Yasunori Ogawa, who has been instrumental in steering Epson toward significant growth and groundbreaking advancements.

In this exclusive interview with Gulf Business, Ogawa shares insights on Epson’s strategies, successes and plans, with a special focus on the Middle East market.

Tell us about Epson’s presence in the Middle East and why this region is important to the company.

As you know, Epson is a global company, and the Middle East region is growing in importance for us with our business in the region growing steadily. While the global economy in general is somewhat stagnant, the Middle East region presents high expectations for us.

We established our sales office in Dubai in August last year, which we hope will further our expansion in the region.

How did Epson perform in Q1 2024, and what were the key drivers behind this performance?

Epson products performed very well in the first three months of this year. Our EcoTank printers, particularly the big tank printers, were significant drivers of our growth in the region. The Middle East market also performed exceptionally well, contributing to our overall success.

What strategic initiatives have been most impactful in driving Epson’s growth globally and regionally?

At Epson, our philosophy of efficient, compact and precise innovation enriches lives and helps create a better world. In Japanese, we call it “sho-sho-sei”. This mission is integral to everything we do.

One prime example is our inkjet technology, which embodies this philosophy. Inkjet printing is capable of printing on virtually any substance and is extremely energy efficient. Compared to mainstream laser printing, inkjet technology is far more efficient, using significantly less electricity, no toner and far fewer replacement parts. This means inkjet printers can be used for extended periods, contributing to sustainability as well.

In the realm of home and small office (SOHO) printing, we are actively promoting our EcoTank printers, which align with our sustainability goals. These printers offer a more sustainable option for these markets.

Beyond printing, we are also focusing heavily on our projector and robotics businesses.

Our goal is not only to make a difference in the Middle East but to contribute to all regions using innovative technology.

Can you elaborate on the focus and research and development driving automation and robotics at Epson?

The main characteristic of Epson robots is their precise movement. This precision makes them highly effective for tasks, including assembling small electronic parts. Beyond electronics, our robots have diverse applications. For instance, in the food industry, our robots can precisely arrange food items, showcasing their versatility in different settings.

We also see a growing demand for our robots in the Middle East region, especially with the increasing focus on manufacturing. Robotics is a key growth area for us and we aim to expand this business significantly. One of our innovative technologies is our high-precision sensing capability. We have developed a force sensor that enables robots to sense how tightly or softly to grasp objects, mimicking the sensitivity of a human hand. This technology enhances the robots’ ability to handle components delicately and efficiently.

Considering the potential for these products in mass production and expert handling of components, how do you categorise your business segments, and where do robotics fit in terms of growth?

We categorise our business into growth businesses, mature businesses and new businesses. Our growth businesses include office printing, commercial industrial printing, sales of inkjet print heads, and robots and manufacturing solutions.

Expanding these four areas is our primary strategy moving forward. Robotics, being a crucial part of our growth businesses, will see significant investment and development as we continue to innovate and meet the demands of various industries.

How does Epson’s Certified ReNew programme align with its sustainability goals, and what has been the market response so far?

Our sustainability strategy is divided into four main areas: decarbonisation, closing the resource loop, mitigating customer environmental impact and developing environmental technology. The Certified ReNew programme is part of closing the resource loop, where we sell refurbished printers, scanners, and projectors.

The market response has been positive, as customers appreciate the blend of quality and sustainability.

What are Epson’s key priorities for the next few years, and how do you plan to maintain the company’s competitive edge both regionally and globally?

Our main focus is on expanding our four growth areas: office printing, commercial industrial printing, printhead sales and robots. All these products are based on our philosophy of efficient, compact, and precise innovation. By expanding these areas, we believe we can continue to contribute to the environment and maintain our competitive edge.

How do you approach leadership and decision-making to foster innovation and growth?

For me, leadership at Epson revolves around our corporate purpose. It is essential to develop a long-range vision for the company and, most importantly, to communicate this vision clearly to all our employees worldwide. Sharing the vision is just the first step. The next crucial stage is to foster empathy and ensure that every employee understands and embraces this vision, so we all aim in the same direction.

Diversity of thought is equally important. Gathering a wide range of opinions requires a diverse workforce, and I value hearing as many perspectives as possible. This inclusive approach helps us to refine our vision and ensures that we move forward together with a unified purpose.

What can the world learn from successful Japanese companies such as Epson?

Japanese companies emphasise harmony, encapsulated in the expression “Sanpo Yoshi”, which roughly translates to “offering a three-way benefit” – namely, to the buyer, seller and society as a whole. So for us, it’s not just about Epson profiting but about creating a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.

Our mission as mentioned is enriching lives and creating a better world through efficient, compact, precise and innovative technology.

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