Rank: #23 (Last year: #--)
$3.96 Billion ($35.8B total)
Prior Fiscal: $3.95 Billion
No. of Employees: 195,056 (total)
Global Headquarters: Tustin, Calif. (Tokyo, Japan)
Fujio Mitarai, Chairman and CEO, Canon Inc.
Masaya Maeda, President and COO, Canon Inc.
Toshiyo Tanaka, Exec. VP and CFO, Canon Inc.
Yuji Hamada, President and CEO, Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.
Karen La Point, Sr. VP, Chief Sales and Business Operations Officer, Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.
Lawrence Dentice, Sr. VP and Chief Customer Relations Officer, Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.
Michael Leischer, VP, Integrated Delivery Network and Strategic Business Group, Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.
Tim Peeler, VP, Service, Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.
Nader Rad, VP and General Counsel, Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.
Naze son’nani aimaina nodesu ka.
It’s the “ka.” The “ka” makes that sentence confusing.
Actually, the “ka” isn’t confusing in this case. It can be confusing, depending on its usage. But it’s not universally confusing.
Konran shita? (Confused)?
“Ka” is the Japanese derivative of the question mark, used typically at the end of a full sentence to indicate a query—i.e., How are you? (Ogenki desu ka), Where do you live? (Anata wa doko ni sunde imasu ka), or What are you doing right now? (Ima nani o yatte imasu ka).
“Ka,” however, becomes semi-rhetorical when it indicates attentiveness to a conversation. Sou desu ka —is that so?—is the Japanese equivalent of “I see” or “hmmm.”
Moreover, “ka” also can represent expertise (following a job title) or indecision/uncertainty. And in some cases, it’s a conjunction (Doyoubi ka nichiyoubi ni umi niiku translates into “On Saturday or Sunday I will go to the beach”).
Wakari nikuidesu yo ne (Confusing, isn’t it?). Even more so without the “ka.” Depending on its placement, “ne”—like “ka”—can instantly turn a sentence into a rhetorical statement.
Clearly, the Japanese language has rightly earned its reputation for ambiguity, yet many linguists insist that social norms are the reason for vague phrasing. “The Japanese language can express anything it needs to,” Jay Rubin, a Harvard University professor of Japanese literature and translator of several Haruki Murakami novels, once noted, “but Japanese social norms often require people to express themselves incompletely or indirectly.”
Unlike Western culture, Japanese society places significant importance on the nuances behind words. Its language has at least 16 different ways to avoid saying “no,” and uses various expressions to reinforce feelings of interdependence and harmony. In Japan, people are rarely direct; since creating a mood is more important than the judgement, the word “no” is hardly used and “yes” may have various meanings (e.g., “I hear what you’re saying” or “yes, but...”).
Such sensitivity exists in the business world as well, albeit to a much lesser extent. Still, traditional rules of social interaction and customary language continue to influence Japanese corporate speak, producing a fresh cache of vague vocabulary. The term dantotsu, for example, has no legitimate English translation yet it nevertheless serves as a common benchmarking concept to foster greatness among Japanese firms. Over the years, dantotsu has been loosely translated as “better than the best,” “number one thinking,” and “best of the best.”
Some companies have put their own spin on the word in their quest for entrepreneurial supremacy—Komatsu Ltd. (construction/mining machinery), specifically, defines dantotsu as unique/unrivaled and has incorporated that meaning into its overall business strategy.
Canon Inc. has adopted a dantotsu blueprint as well. The multinational imaging/optical solutions manufacturer is aiming to expand its market share of dantotsu products (those with “extraordinary features” that cannot be imitated) through improved R&D, focused investments, and digital technologies.
“The first challenge is to reinforce our existing businesses. We will utilize such technologies as the Cloud, IoT [internet of things], and AI [artificial intelligence] to advance the development of Dantotsu products that dominate the competition,” Canon Chairman and CEO Fujio Mitarai wrote in a 2018 shareholder letter detailing the company’s strategy for achieving maximum productivity. “The second challenge is to strengthen and expand new businesses. We will accomplish this through concentrated investments in commercial printing, network cameras, medical, and industrial equipment, the four businesses Canon views as the pillars to its future success.”
Mitarai might need a new Dantotsu game plan based on the pillars’ past performance, though. Fiscal 2018 revenue fell 3.1 percent to $35.79 billion due to a contracting interchangeable-lens camera market and lower OLED vacuum deposition equipment sales. All geographic regions experienced sales declines, ranging from a 1.3 percent dip in Europe to a 1.7 percent slide in Japan and a 6.5 percent drop in Asia and Oceania. The Americas posted a 0.7 percent fourth-quarter increase but still ended the year 2.8 percent below its 2017 total, according to Canon’s annual report.
Operating profit swelled 8.5 percent to $3.11 billion as three of Canon’s four business units (pillars) grew revenue. The gains, however, were minimal at best: Industry and Others proceeds climbed 1.6 percent (a company high), while Office sales remained basically flat, rising only 2.51 billion yen (0.1 percent) from its 2017 total.
The Medical Systems unit (a.k.a. Canon Medical Systems), which comprised 11 percent of the company’s 2018 sales total, increased revenue 0.3 percent to $3.96 billion (437.57 billion yen) and grew operating profit 31.4 percent. Strong demand for new diagnostic ultrasound systems, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) solutions, and compact lightweight products mostly drove sales growth.
Some of that demand’s sources were Aplio i-series ultrasound updates, and a next-generation interventional platform (Alphenix).
The latter innovation incorporates new features for better image clarity and precision as well as low dosage. The improved imaging is offered via a new 12-by-12-inch Hi-Def Flat Panel Detector (available on the Alphenix Biplane and Alphenix Core + systems) that produces resolutions of 2.6 lp/mm (standard) and 6.6 lp/mm (hi-def). The Hi-Def Detector helps clinicians see finer details during complex interventional procedures like stent positioning and stent apposition, wire and catheter navigation through stent struts, and coil deployment observation.
The Aplio updates affect the i800 and i900 models. The latest i900 version—designed specifically for advanced cardiovascular cases (i.e., transcatheter implantation) integrates various 4D capabilities such as 4D TEE transcatheter guidance and MVA (mitral valve analysis), which helps to prep, implant and review the new valve’s performance. Other features consist of Ejection Fraction with Global Longitudinal Strain, MPI (Myocardial Performance Index), and 3D Wall Motion Tracking.
The most current Aplio i800 model introduces an industry-first 33 MHz ultra-high frequency linear transducer to provide extremely fine detail and spatial resolution in the near field. The ultra-high frequency transducer uses intelligent Dynamic Microslice (iDMS) and Superb Micro Vascular Imaging (SMI) technologies to provide high resolution and detail for B-mode and Color Flow imaging, making the Aplio i800 ideal for superficial subcutaneous imaging, small joint and superficial nerve exams, and superficial vascular evaluations. Moreover, Smart Sensor 3D enables clinicians to obtain accurate volume images with the 33 MHz transducer, also in SMI mode, and visualize microvascular structures in 3D.
In addition to the updates, Canon Medical Systems expanded its Aplio ultrasound portfolio through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance of the i600 in March 2018. The small, lightweight device is designed to improve ease of use and productivity, and features an image-guided user interface for simpler exam navigation. The i600 also is equipped with the company’s iPerformance imaging technology, which reportedly reduces clutter and improves visualization.
The Aplio i600 clearance was one of several new products to receive the FDA’s blessing last year. Other innovations securing authorization included:
- The Vantage Galan 3T XGO Edition cardiac MRI scanner. The product’s advanced gradient and imaging software can provide up to 30 percent signal-to-noise ratio for brain diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) to produce higher resolution images. MultiBand SPEEDER software allows for multiple slices to be conducted simultaneously, and reduces diffusion weighted imaging scan times by two-fold. The Galan 3T XGO also delivers enhanced cardiac capabilities, including T1 mapping that uses Modified Look-Locker Inversion recovery sequence and allows providers to obtain a more quantitative characterization of myocardial tissue within a single breath hold. The system’s Phase Sensitive Inversion Recovery in the heart provides improved contrast in late-enhanced imaging and eliminates the need for an inversion time calibration scan.
- The Aquilion Precision CT system, touted as the world’s first ultra-high resolution computed tomography platform. The system can resolve anatomy as small as 150 microns and is designed to provide more than twice the resolution, which is typically seen only in catheter labs. The Aquilion Precision contains new detector, tube, gantry and reconstruction technologies to expand the visualization of disease. Its detector channels are 0.25 mm thick, and its resolution capabilities have never before been achieved in CT imaging (according to Canon), thanks to a 0.4 mm by 0.5 mm Focal Spot Tube and a routine 1024 by 1024 Reconstruction Matrix.
- The Vantage Orian 1.5T MRI system offers high performance imaging capability not previously available on Canon Medical’s 1.5T machines. The Vantage Orian has a new slim gradient that delivers a performance with a maximum amplitude of 45 mT/m, combined with a 200 T/m/s/ slew rate to enhance high resolution and diffusion imaging. It also features technology to reduce scan time and help improve workflow. A redesigned gantry interface and dockable table ensure seamless patient handling; new applications like Multiband SPEEDER and k-t SPEEDER allow for high-frame-rate cine cardiac and perfusion imaging with free breathing.