With its headquarters in Japan, Toshiba Corporation came to existence in 1939 following the merger of Tokyo Denki and Shibaura Seisakusho. Its development has led to the innovation of numerous appliances that help to improve lives all over the world. The company operates through various in-house companies which function individually, with individual managers. The paper focuses on the innovations and actions of the two companies, prior to their merger and the creation of Toshiba. Section 1 discusses the strategies of the company, focusing on deployment strategy that will facilitate the success of the company. Section 2 focuses on the core competencies which help the company to capture opportunities of the future. Section 3 discusses industry dynamics which continue advancing with the spread of globalization. Section 4 examines technology sourcing and internal innovation of Toshiba Corporation. Section 5 discusses product development strategy of the company, while Section 6 focuses on the strategy to protect innovations that belong to Toshiba Corporation. Therefore, the paper discusses the TCOs in relation to Toshiba Corporation.
Strategy (TCO F)
The company follows the simple strategy that advocates for “leading innovation”; however, it keeps shaping its future. By devising technologies that will benefit in the future, the company continues to develop designs in electrical technologies that grant the company a leading position in the market. The newest innovation relates to NAND flash memory which incorporates 3D memories and will be an integral part of the day-to-day lives of the future generations (Rafinejad, 2007). It is constructed as a multi-chip package with advanced functions, which enable one to play and store music, still images and movie data. It also gives the opportunity to play games. The innovation is being increasingly incorporated in mobile devices, including cellphones. It has become immensely vital in the market since such devices can process data fast and in large amounts. Moreover, it has become necessary to create a multi-layer multi-chip package as the functions have to occupy a limited space in the package. Toshiba’s multi-layer multi-chip (MCP) memory integrates large-capacity NAND flash memory, low power DDR2 and DDR3, and an e•MMC controller in one package. Ultramodern chip-stacking technology is used for its assembly. The MCP memory is available in a small and thin package (“NAND Flash Memory in Multi Chip Package (MCP)”, n.d.). The integration of the e•MMC controller enables one to read and access NAND flash memory fast. The low-power DDR2 and DDR3 memory has high speed, and it assists in the improvement of performance while reducing the power consumption of mobile devices such as smartphones (“NAND Flash Memory in Multi Chip Package (MCP)”, n.d.). The approach used by Toshiba to organize the MCP allows one to mix flash memories and RAMs in different capacity points with the same physical size.
In order to maintain high profitability, uphold innovativeness and robust growth, Toshiba Company uses its eight in-house organizations with delegated authority so as to enhance the pace of decision-making. Currently, the company integrates all its stakeholders into its designs and operations. It enables research and development, both internally and externally. Toshiba uses reviews of the consumers to determine what could be improved. In case of MCP memory developed by Toshiba, the company utilized the increased use of smartphones globally, the increased need for fast processing, and ability to carry a large quantity of data.
Toshiba has also extended its innovative strategy to focus on the development of environmentally friendly technology. Through greener products, technologies and processes, the company reduces technological wastes and resource consumption. It led to the innovation of world’s first erasable toner, e-STUDIO306LP/RD30. Apparently, this product tends to reduce paper waste, thereby minimizing carbon dioxide emissions significantly. The product can erase images and text in print which enables one to reuse papers rather than shred them. The erasing system enables one to load one paper into the printing machine for up to five times. Moreover, it makes sustainable development in offices possible globally. Finally, the strategy of the company that aims to provide innovations of the future today through R&D seems to succeed. The company ranks as one the best five companies in technology sales amongst HP, Lenovo, Apple and Acer (Schaede, 2008).
Core Competencies (TCO C)
The core competencies of Toshiba Corporation concentrate on its strategy to be a leader in innovation. The company focuses its marketing strategies on capturing opportunities of the future. For this reason, its consumers tend to move in the direction that Toshiba Corporation Limited provides in technology. In such a way, they acknowledge that consumers may be shallow in their visions. Therefore, they look into the future so as to develop innovations that consumers will have to acquire (Rafinejad, 2007). The company’s core competencies focus on the development of new technologies. The company has previously pioneered essential technologies such as small hard disk drives, long-lasting and more efficient batteries, and crisper screens. The company has used these competencies to attract and retain a large pool of customers globally.
Toshiba uses its Lifestyle Research Institute, which has various offices spread across the world. These corporate-level R&D pursue group-wide innovations in technology. These centers are situated in the United Kingdom, the United States and China. The software development centers which support the particular business groups have facilities in Vietnam, India and China. Ultimately, the strategy employed there assures that the company conducts software development and cutting-edge research and design around the world (Schaede, 2008). Following a new management policy that pursues “Growth through Creativity and Innovation”, Toshiba Corporation defined innovation in health care as a priority alongside data and energy storage. By integrating R&D in its operations, the company promotes new concept innovation, value innovation as well as process innovation. While process innovation produces and sustains cost-effectiveness through product development, value innovation helps to develop innovative technologies. It also develops new concept innovation that helps to realize synergy by incorporating technology in its widespread facets of operation (Rafinejad, 2007).
In relation to Porter’s generic strategies, Toshiba Limited employs customer’s focus in its operations. Toshiba has innovated numerous appliances and technologies that improve life all over the world. These innovations give the company the prestige of discovering various world-first as well as Japan-first services and products since the year 1875. The latest innovation involves the world’s first 3D medical display which does not use glasses (Schaede, 2008). Through creativity and innovation as discussed earlier, Toshiba strengthens its strategy in intellectual property (IP). These intellectual property rights owned by the company within its core competencies serve to emphasize the competitiveness of the company with a view of the global business development. In 2013, in the United States, Toshiba Corporation was ranked as number seven in patent ownership after Samsung electronics, Canon Incorporation, Sony, Microsoft and Panasonic Corporation. The newest technology innovation in NAND flash memory business gained a top level market share with an operating income of one hundred and nine billion Yen (Schaede, 2008).
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In the contemporary world, the storage market tends to focus on progressing into the information era. Apparently, this era refers to the explosion of large volume data that needs to be processed. The NAND technology tends to capture the expected boom in the memory market in the future. Accordingly, the manufacture of memory products that have become market leaders tend to accelerate the development of NAND products of the future (“NAND Flash Memory in Multi Chip Package (MCP)”, n.d.). In the high-tech market, post-sales activities between manufacturer and its users prove profitable for the enterprise. Such activities may include availing spare parts and/or providing maintenance for its established base of consumers. Toshiba’s strategy to request for customer profile creation enables Toshiba Company to provide warranty that best suits the product. Following this approach, the warranty sales of the company increased by 37% and, on the other hand, the total sales improved by 4% in the initial month of the implementation of the strategy. Talking about the concern for the environment, it helps to create customer loyalty. For this purpose, Toshiba began manufacturing energy-conserving merchandises over and above the use of green technology in its manufacturing (“Toshiba: History”, n.d.).
Industry Dynamics (TCO A)
The computer industry has changed since its inception to the modern-day computers. There has been an increasing demand for computers with the corresponding rapid growth. The industry has incorporated new inventions and developments in comparison with the computers and software used in the 1980s and 90s. There is one aspect that is critical in the industry, and it is connectivity. Computers are considered to be valuable depending on their ability to establish a connection. With the invention of the World Wide Web, connectivity has become a vital factor in the world of computers. The reason is that the feature allows people to share information and resources. In the past, networking was possible through the use of local area networks and wide area networks. With time, the situation has improved and people can share data through Bluetooth technology that is a wireless protocol, which enables one to connect electronic devices when they are close to one another. The technology has enabled people to share data between computers and cell phones. Moreover, it creates personal area network (PAN) and can be used between various gadgets which are Bluetooth enabled, including GPS receivers, personal computers, printers, video game consoles, and digital computers, among others. In fact, the technology has replaced cables used in the local area networks. In addition, wireless networking has continued to change with the development of Wi-Fi, which enables an individual to connect using radio waves. It is used to access the internet and share information when working on the computer. It also enables one to create wireless networks and is compatible with laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The increase in the use of computers has led to the need for information technology services. These services are related to all the computer needs such as maintenance and network support. Moreover, custom software design, programming, software and hardware consulting, training and other issues have developed in the industry. It has led to the emergence of IT service providers who not only compete among themselves but also with the manufacturers and retailers of IT products. The industry has also experienced the emergence of tablet computers which are light and thin gadgets that have touch-responsive screens. The touch screens respond to fingers, thereby eliminating the need for a stylus or a keyboard. They can also connect to the internet using mobile broadband 3G or 4G networks and Wi-Fi. The computer industry has seen numerous companies developing their tablets, which use three different operating systems, including Android, Windows, and iOS for iPad. Since it has a smaller size than a laptop, the tablet has attracted a lot of attention among computer users globally. In fact, as the other market players, Toshiba has also developed its line of tablet computers, which run on the Android operating system.
Technology Sourcing and Internal Innovation (TCO D)
Technology sourcing is a fundamental factor in an organization. Since it is almost impractical for an organization to be self-sufficient, it has to rely on other technologies. It gives the organization the opportunity to save money and have the best technology. In 2014, Toshiba acquired OCZ Technology Group. Apparently, it will operate independently to provide high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) for computing systems and devices. Thus, the acquisition expands the corporation’s solid-state storage capabilities. Moreover, it will make it possible to develop new and unique solid-state storage technologies, which will keep the company as a market leader, while the company’s goal is to be a leader in the market and industry. The acquisition of OCZ Technology Group means that Toshiba has 100 percent control over it, and it’s the only beneficiary of the company’s products and expertise. It is also an approach aimed at getting what the company does not produce from an expert and a leader in that sector. Prior to the acquisition, OCZ Technology Group could trade with other companies, including Toshiba’s competitors; however, it can no longer happen without Toshiba’s approval, and when the company permits it, it benefits Toshiba. Toshiba has become one among few companies in the SSD industry that have advanced controller IP and NAND flash supply under a single global organization. Consequently, it will benefit Toshiba Corporation by providing more competitive and robust solid-state solutions, while expanding its presence in the SSD market.
Toshiba Corporation is a global leader in the semiconductor industry. In order to maintain its position, it requires real-time information on global operational basis with the aim of addressing that issue; the company implements JDA solutions for spend optimization in order to assist in the management of supplier relations (Toshiba Semiconductor Company, n.d.). After obtaining the technology offered by JDA solutions, Toshiba has streamlined and automated its RFQ process. Moreover, it has improved its purchasing process. The company undertook the sourcing after realizing that it had a limitation on real-time information on the operations in the market. The corporation implemented JDA® Negotiate and JDA® Strategic Sourcing from the range of solutions provided by JDA (Toshiba Semiconductor Company, n.d.). Apparently, the solutions assist in sourcing direct materials, gathering information, and making decisions (Toshiba Semiconductor Company, n.d.). Talking about JDA, it is a company, which enables organizations to collaborate with their suppliers. Moreover, it offers a Web interface linking the company with suppliers and clients. Thus, it enables Toshiba to gain competitive advantage through refining its supplier base. Furthermore, it gives the company opportunity to handle large volumes of RFQs, which is between 7000 and 8000 per site, at the corporation’s major factories in Japan (Toshiba Semiconductor Company, n.d.).
For internal innovation, knowledge management in Toshiba Corporation happens through the R&D centers. Apparently, knowledge of the market, availability of resources and integration of research into technology innovations led to the development of high-end consumer products. However, knowledge tends to flow in two directions, namely into the company and out of the company. On the one hand, knowledge inflow helps to establish R&D investments, which may, in turn, improve the productivity of the firm. On the other hand, knowledge outflow hinders the ability of the firm to estimate appropriate worth of its innovations, thereby reducing its incentive to invest in R&D. It gives the competitor a competitive edge for any market (Schaede, 2008). By establishing a separate research and design department in manufacturing, Toshiba Corporation meets its strategy to be a leader in innovation repeatedly over the years since its inception in 1873. Moreover, collaboration with universities which provide training in engineering, science technology and innovation helps the company be well versed in adjusting its appliances to the needs of the market (Schaede, 2008).
In addition, in the past, large companies embraced lateral, vertical and horizontal associations which involved manufacturing, R&D and promoting in order to gain better market. However, outsourced research and design serves to complement in-house activities. Outsourcing such as the one between Sony, IBM and Toshiba to develop Cell processor in the 1990s helped to minimize the costs of product development.
Product Development Strategy (TCO E)
Toshiba Corporation manufactures its products in three different fields, which are communication, automotive and motor control. The company collaborates with other companies and utilizes its strong in-house engineering. Moreover, it improves integrated solution capacity and promotes developments in the market. In the automotive field, it offers image recognition and automotive analogue. Communication entails sending and receiving IC through the lower consumption sensor networks. The motor control involves motor driver, power management and microcomputers. Furthermore, the company is investing in green technology in its product development strategies.
The green management concentrates on promoting basic corporate activities with the use of the three distinct approaches. These approaches include the greening of processes that focus on the reduction of greenhouse gases. Secondly, the company utilizes the greening of product that aims to minimize carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, the company’s greening of technology concentrates on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. Thus, by concentrating on the greening of technology, Toshiba Corporation contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by providing leading-edge and low carbon innovations in technology. Through greener products, technologies and processes, the company reduces technological wastes and resource consumption. Thus, the company’s concern with the environment has triggered its product development strategy.
In order to be at the top of technological competition, the company may need to focus on the following guidelines.
Never Ignore New Competitors
Every provider, regardless of the stature in the market, may not pose a threat immediately. However, with time, such companies create a stronghold in the market established by their market competitors. For instance, IBM ignored the potential of Apple, Compaq and Dell.
Always Maximize Competitive Advantages
The competitive advantage of Toshiba Corporation is in its R&D strategy. Toshiba uses its Lifestyle Research Institute, which has various offices spread across the world. These corporate-level R&D pursue group-wide innovations in technology. These centers are situated in the United Kingdom, the United States and China. The software development centers which support the particular business groups have facilities in Vietnam, India and China. Ultimately, the strategy employed there assures that the company conducts software development and cutting-edge research and design around the world.
Always Conduct Research on Competitors and Consumers Prior to Launching a Product
In manufacturing of consumer electronics, product development and innovation strategies complement each other in insuring sustainability of operations. Traditionally, planning on supply chain and demand management proves to be successfully. However, in the contemporary world, amidst shorter product life cycles, newer strategies need to be devised. On the one hand, outsourcing of non-core functions of the company might lead to its ultimate growth. On the other hand, core competencies in innovation and design have always been beneficial to strategic management of Toshiba Corporation. For this purpose, supply chain collaborations with retailers and consumers in real time contribute towards shaping future markets of Toshiba Corporation (Rafinejad, 2007).
Strategy to Protect Innovations (TCO B)
The intensity of competition in the technological market requires that the participants protect their innovations. In fact, Toshiba continuously focuses on innovating the world’s first appliances. Previously, Toshiba Corporation focused on home appliances as well business technologies. However, at the present time the company announced that health care technologies, data and energy storage would be its greatest priorities (Rafinejad, 2007). The first innovation was the incandescent lamp in 1890, followed by the X-Ray tubes in the year 1915, the radio transmission tubes in 1919, and the double coil bulb in the year 1921. Moreover, the company introduced cathode ray tubes in the year 1924, the radar in 1942, transistor television in 1959, and notebook computers in 1989. In fact, the company owns more than 27, 000 patents for its technological innovations in technology (“Toshiba: History”, n.d.).
In order to maintain the rights to their innovations, Toshiba Corporation has already acquired patent rights to its products. Moreover, the company needs to insure that its employees in charge of innovation do not leak information about upcoming innovations to its competitors. Apparently, the most recent case of stolen copyright involves the NAND innovation. Subsequent to the prospective to grab huge market shares, the technology is susceptible to imitations. Thus, Toshiba Corporation Limited needs to formulate policies to protect the innovation as well as take legal actions against any parties guilty of violating the policies. Moreover, branding, trademarks and copyrights associated with Toshiba products need to be enforced. As the company involves itself in the rapidly growing economy of the third world countries, more caution needs to be exercised (Schaede, 2008).
The protection of intellectual property of Toshiba is governed by the intellectual property protection policy. Apparently, the policy entails observing the laws and regulations associated with intellectual properties. Moreover, the company is working with regulatory authorities in various countries to eliminate counterfeit products, which damage the Toshiba brand. There is also the protection of the intellectual property rights through the corporate staff division. In order to mitigate the possible risk of infringing the intellectual properties of third parties, the company conducts regular checks and audits. Furthermore, the company eliminates or reduces the risk through the investigation of third party patents and intellectual properties associated with their operations prior to the development of new business. There is also intellectual property protection related to education; thus, the company provides an education of its top executives and employees. Hereby, Toshiba provides e-learning programs to prevent unauthorized use of copyrighted materials by the staff members, especially with the existence of the internet.
Corporate culture in Toshiba, teamwork and collaboration across departments need to be improved with the aim of minimizing the likelihood of counterfeiting its products.
Following the spirit of its legendary founders, Toshiba keeps the legacy of discovery and leadership in its innovations. The company focuses its marketing strategies on capturing opportunities of the future. Owing to the integration of R&D in its operations, the company promotes new concept innovation, value innovation as well as process innovation. Digital products that aim to improve lifestyle, education or business leadership continue rapidly evolving. Toshiba provides appliances devised following vigorous testing and retesting in its research and design centers. Toshiba Corporation makes its contribution to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the provision of a leading-edge and low carbon technological innovations. In order to maintain the rights to their products, Toshiba Corporation has already acquired patent rights to its products.