Geo Week News

July 10, 2013

Topcon’s got ‘wa,’ says new leader


Topcon Positioning Systems to target China, emerging markets with core GNSS products

The corporate culture at Topcon Corporation, parent company of Topcon Positioning Systems Inc. (TPS), has “wa,” the Japanese concept of peace and harmony, according to the company’s new president, Satoshi Hirano.

In a recent interview, Hirano, 55, talked about his management policies and vision to help Topcon reach a goal of 20 percent return-on-equity by 2015. And, much of that has to do with staying true to that culture, which he said is based “on the spirit of harmony, values relationships built on mutual cooperation and respect.”

Hirano has led Topcon for just a few weeks, promoted after a three-year, cost-cutting plan was achieved in just 24 months this March, allowing the company to focus on robust earnings growth.

Publicly traded Topcon, founded in 1932, trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and generates over $1 billion in annual sales. Livermore, Calif.-based TPS is the world’s largest manufacturer of precision GPS and GNSS systems, commercial lasers, and optical instruments for the global surveying, civil engineering, asset management, mapping, construction, agriculture and mobile control industries.

“We will use the world’s leading technologies to make ‘disruptive innovations’ and open the path to new businesses,” Hirano said. “Specifically, we will invest most heavily in IT [precision]agriculture,” which falls under the purview of TPS.

Topcon’s new “Mid-Term Business Plan 2015” laid out the growth strategies for its three businesses: Positioning (TPS), Smart Infrastructure, and Eye Care.

Topcon Positioning Systems strategy

TPS’ strategy is to “utilize GNSS (global navigation satellite system) as a core technology” for rapid expansion in IT construction (also referred to as machine control), but will invest “most heavily” in IT, or precision, agriculture. Specifically, TPS plans to:

  • introduce new products based on the “world’s No. 1 disruptive innovation technologies” and promote its OEM business in the IT Construction business, with an estimated market size of US$900 million (¥90 billion), and $300 million in Asia, alone
  • expand its market and strengthen its OEM business by introducing new products based on “disruptive innovation” products to the IT Agriculture sector, valued at US$1.5 billion (¥150 billion)
  • expand its core business of GNSS, with an estimated market size of US$900 million (¥90 billion), in Asia and other emerging markets through the “continuous introduction of disruptive innovation products”

 Smart Infrastructure strategy

The strategy for Smart Infrastructure is to “enhance new business with strong basis of surveying instruments.” Specifically, Topcon plans to:

  • promote to its core business, the Survey/Construction/Building sector, with an estimated market size of $1 billion (¥100 billion), the world’s first surveying instruments management system business to use cloud computing and adopt the industry’s first automated manufacturing system
  • launch the world’s first non-contact sensor for evaluating deterioration in infrastructure in what it calls the “Disaster Prevention by IT” market, with an estimated size of US$200 million (¥20 billion)
  • enter the US$300 million (¥30 billion) Building Information Modeling (BIM) market with the “world’s first BIM-specialized product”
  • cultivate new BIM markets, including 3D measurement, through its 2012 collaboration with Autodesk, which “is designed to allow building and civil infrastructure construction customers to form a tighter, more seamless workflow that will increase on-site worker productivity, enhance field safety, and improve quality control”
  • introduce the “world’s first specialized products for construction work sites” in the Construction Information Modeling (CIM) market, valued at US$300 million (¥30 billion)
  • launch innovative sensors that can cover multiple varieties of agricultural products in the sensor supply business for the Precision Agriculture sector, estimated at US$100 million (¥10 billion)

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