Why Canon is discouraging use of e-mails at work

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018

Kazutada Kobayashi

Japanese camera-maker clicks direct communication to boost productivity

The ease of sending and receiving e-mails may be seen as an easy and efficient way of communication. But Japanese firm Canon is trying to discourage the use of e-mails in favour of face-to-face meetings and calls to boost productivity.

Canon India President and CEO Kazutada Kobayashi feels direct communication is better way to communicate and improve productivity, instead of sendinge-mails and other means that can end up creating miscommunication that delays the work.

The strategy seems to be working. Kobayashi moved to India close to five years before, and although his first couple of years in the India unit was on the verge of bankruptcy, he was able to double the company revenues without increasing the headcount at all.

“One thing that I have emphasised in these five years is constant communication,” Kobyashi told BusinessLine . “More the communication among colleagues and between customers and suppliers, better the drive to make their job more efficient. I encourage direct communication. Rather than e-mails, let’s do a call, let’s phone and talk. Try to approach the person directly to seemingly decrease the opportunity of misunderstanding.”

In 2012, when Kobayashi joined the company, a sharp decline in Indian rupee value brought the company on the verge of bankruptcy. “The currency evaluation kept changing. There was a 28 per cent devaluation of rupee in just three months,” Kobyashi recalls. “Our products are produced in various parts of Asian countries. The cost of the products keeps fluctuating everytime they were shipped, due to currency fluctuation. 2012 was a nightmare. We faced a huge setback, which could have ended up in bankruptcy,” Kobayashi said.

However, Indian currency stabilised in the following two years, and there were no major fluctuations. “The other factor that worked in our favour was a steady demand in B2B and B2C. It took us almost three years to recover from the losses. By 2015-end, we started making profit. In 2017 for the first time in my tenure, we witnessed a double digit growth topline,” Kobayashi said to add that productivity improvements were essential for the company to stay afloat.

Bets on India

Going forward, Kobayashi sees things getting better for Canon India. “India is growing fast among the BRIC nations. One reason being the younger audience who are below 35 years in Asia. Secondly, nuclearisation of families has helped increase the number of households. So consumption of cameras and printers has increased here,”Kobayashi said.

“While in Japan, there are at least two cameras per household, the penetration level of digital cameras in Indian households is only about 30-40 per cent, which leaves a lot of room for growth for Canon in Indian market,” said Kobayashi. “Camera, photography and printing are all factors that impact quality of life. I think India is reaching a stage where they want to improve the quality of living.”

Published on November 14, 2017

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