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A Swot Analysis Of The Kyocera Corporation

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A SWOT Analysis of the Kyocera Corporation

In April of 1959, Kazuo Inamori started a small ceramics company in Kyoto, Japan. With only three million yen in capital, and a work force of only twenty-eight employees, Kyoto Ceramics (later shortened to Kyocera) began to produce quality ceramic products. Since then it has grown into a corporation that produces various business equipment, electronic devices, and ceramic products. The corporation now has over fourteen thousand employees, and over one hundred and fifteen billion yen in capital. The corporation owns one hundred and sixty-one group companies with over forty-four thousand employees. (Kyocera homepage, 2003, http://global.kyocera.com/ company/gaiyou.html)

During the early 1960's the company was off to a tough start. Inamori was not trained in management, and started off doing what he thought was right. One of the first objectives his company embodied was customer satisfaction. Inamori was totally committed to putting out quality products, and pleasing his customers. The employees would work sixteen-hour days, six days a week, and would stay in a company dormitory. (Miller, 1998) This work ethic was in keeping with Japanese customs, and would pave the way for the future success of the company.

The market for Kyocera products was not very strong in Japan in the early 1960's. Inamori realized that in order for his company to grow, he would have to venture away from the rigid Japanese business customs and mindset. In 1963 Inamori traveled to the United States, and realized that there was a lot of potential in the emerging semiconductor business. In 1968 a representative office was opened in California. (Kyocera homepage, 2003, http://global.kyocera.com/company/history.html)

Initially the company was known more for their customer support than they were for their products. Inamori's belief in customer satisfaction quickly earned him a spotless reputation in the United States. They were able to help customers develop high technology solutions, when other companies simply would not, or could not. They would also provide solutions in days, when their competitors would take weeks.

During the 1970's and 1980's, the company began to diversify. Kyocera acquired many new businesses that were on the verge of bankruptcy. The company also entered many new markets through start up companies. They would find an attractive company, which was struggling for capital to get off their feet, and buy it. This has lead to Kyocera's wide range of products.

Today the Kyocera Corporation is a leading manufacturer of telecommunications, information, and optical precision equipment, as well as ceramic components used in semiconductor parts. The Kyocera Corporation has grown to be one of the most admired companies in Japan and abroad. (Miller, 1998) They have successfully integrated new ideas and approaches to problem solving with traditional beliefs and business customs.

Strengths

One of the greatest strengths that Kyocera has is diversification. The company has more than one hundred and sixty companies making products in seventeen broad categories. Kyocera Corporation grosses over six billion dollars a year, and produces three-fifths of the world's ceramic semiconductor packages. Kyocera has shown the ability to adapt to changing market conditions and has gotten into strong growth areas while they were still in their earliest stages.

The Kyocera Corporation prides itself on its ability to take care of customers and treat everyone sincerely. Every morning, workers discuss a twelve-chapter blue book, which instills a competitive spirit, while reinforcing the companies' motto, "Respect the divine and love people." (Kyocera homepage, 2003, http://global.kyocera.com/company/ rinen.html) Workers with the company are known to be fiercely loyal, even though their hard work is not rewarded with monetary bonuses. Instead they are expected to work for possible promotions in the company, the knowledge that they have done the best job they could possibly do, and the fact that they have taken care of the customer. Not surprisingly, the morale of the employees is quite high.

Two-thirds of Kyocera Corporations sales come from their ceramic products. These are broken into three broad, ever growing fields. They are quality of life products, environmental preservation products, and information and communications products. Some of the products included in these groups range from semiconductor parts, to solar panels, to dental and hip joint implants. (Kyocera homepage, 2003, http://global.kyocera .com/company/keiei.html)

When Kyocera enters into a new market, they do a very good analysis before hand. For that reason, their plans for acquisition of new companies usually goes as planned. If for some reason the newly acquired company does not meet the needs of the corporation, or turns out to be a bad purchase, they have found ways for the technology to benefit the already established companies.

Kyocera has established itself as an industry leader in many different fields. They have over forty years of experience, and have proven their management skills time and time again. Kyocera is sure to enjoy a long, and prosperous life as a corporation.

Weaknesses

While it's imperative for an organization to be aware of its strengths, it is also very important to be aware of its weaknesses. Kyocera has been in operation for over forty years because management has had the keen ability to determine the organization's deficiencies. With all that Kyocera does right, it is difficult to pinpoint the organization's weaknesses. Due to the fact that Kyocera Corportation has many subsidiaries, management must be concerned with the headquarters along with entirely separate organizations from various industries. An accurate analysis should be considered from an internal and external viewpoint. It's important that the analysis be truthful so that actions can be taken to overcome the weaknesses as quickly as possible. From the viewpoint of the entire Kyocera Corportation, there are a few potential weaknesses that could be minimized so as not to impair customer satisfaction. Internally, the management techniques could be adjusted to reflect a more "Westernized" style of management. The company motto "respect the divine and love the people" obviously does not apply to employees. The pressure for employees to work long hours, offer complete devotion, to marry other employees and be buried in the company cemetery could be preventing Kyocera from attracting quality employees. Although it has been successful in the past, Kyocera

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