The electronics world has changed rapidly in the last few years. Some companies pioneered the changes, while others were too slow to adapt to the fast changing trends and requirements. Not long ago, Japanese companies ruled the market like lions in the jungle. Companies like sharp, Sony, Panasonic and Nintendo were the biggest and unbeatable brands in the entire industry. Now, on the contrary these market kings have lost their market share drastically.
What could be the reason behind their downfall? I have noticed a similar trend in Japanese companies and in someway have the same characteristics. However, these well known companies still follow the highest quality standards and produce highest-quality hardware devices. But the market demand now is not limited to quality only. Japanese companies were slow to catch with competitors with regards to design, operating system and software technology. For instance: Sony was the market king in 1990 when it introduced ‘The Walkman’. At one time, was the ‘must have’ gadget for everyone like the apple iPods currently. Just in a couple of years Apple managed to shake off and challenge Sony’s position in the market with their IPhones and iPods. Sony’s fell, profits shrunk and once one of the best image in the world is battered.
I believe the major downfall of Japanese brands is due to the fact that they were slow to realize the changing demands and the need to improve software rather than only focus on quality hardware. From a technological perspective, the explanation of how that happened is straightforward and that apple always was, is very good at software and Sony never was. Sony understood music technology but they were bad at software and they didn’t do what apple did. That is making use of computers and Internet. They created ITunes which made accessing and syncing music to apple devices easily. The Walkman was a success in their era when it did not have to interact with computers.
As discussed in class, acquiring Six Sigma, ISO or other quality certification does not guarantee profits. These methodologies are used to help businesses reduce failures in quality. Talking about Sony, they also had obtained certification under ISO 9001 for all sites manufacturing electronic products yet faced backlash from competing brands. Fast pace dynamic fulfillment of consumer market should be a big factor of management department to maintain the success of a company. Big portion of company’s budget should be allocated for R&D while maintaining the quality of their current successful products.
Do you agree that Sony was too slow to adapt to the fast changing trends?
PS: I think Apple is also slowing down its innovation pace. Watch the video and share your views. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyWSEwKPo8s
4 thoughts on “Quality And Innovation – The Rat Race!!!”
I think that Sony didn’t realize that their competition was gaining an edge until they surpassed them. In the business world, especially with innovative industries like technology, it is important that as a company you know where your competition is at and the products that they are producing. Otherwise it is easily possible to lose your advantage and lose your market share like Sony.
I agree that Sony and other Japanese companies have been slow to adjust the computer and internet era. However, as addressed in the post, Sony’s core competencies are in hardware not software. The Sony Vaio is top notch in terms of hardware, but relies on Windows for the software. I wonder if Sony made a conscious decision to stay out of the software markets because Apple and Windows had already dominated that industry. Apple depends on the software as much as the hardware to create the next generation of products such as the ipod and iphone.
I think like many companies Sony is on the show band wagon. When it comes to technology companies need to invest in R&D and that is critical. Spending money to make more money. In this day and age everyone wants the new, faster, and stronger technology. If a company cannot provide that to its customers they are going to have a lot of changes keeping up with the innovators.
I think that Sony didn’t realize that their competition was gaining an edge until they surpassed them. In the business world, especially with innovative industries like technology, that is why I prefer buying a Panasonic camcorder.