Canon to automate production

22 November 2004 – Tokyo (JPN): Canon plans to fully automate 25 per cent of its domestic production by the end of 2007, the company has disclosed, in order to cut about $270 million in annual costs.

The Japanese manufacturer, whose annual domestic production costs about 1 trillion yen ($9.71 billion), plans to automate its assembly lines for key copier and printer components such as toner cartridges and ink jet printer heads.

The move is in line with CEO Fujio Mitari’s vow to keep 60 per cent of the company’s total output in Japan, while competing manufacturers are shifting production to China.

JP Morgan analyst Hisashi Moriyama praised the move: He said: "Canon is trying to eliminate the reason for moving manufacturing overseas by removing labour costs from the equation. It is a dramatic move and should be viewed as a step in the right direction."

But Canon said it would avoid cutting jobs. "We will move people to jobs which still require manual labour," Canon spokesperson Bunji Yano told Reuters.