Olympus to ‘optimise’ imaging staff costs and boost China output

Olympus has announced plans to step up imaging production in China, cut staff costs and focus on interchangeable lenses, while outsourcing assembly.

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Olympus President Hiroyuki Sasa said the firm will ‘increase product profitability by regularly introducing unique, high-value-added compact cameras, unmatched by competitors...'

These new compact cameras will use technology borrowed from the firm's compact system cameras, he said.

In an interview published in the firm's annual report, Sasa said that, as well as product innovation, Olympus plans to ‘greatly improve' the profit structure of its imaging business.

He added: ‘For instance, we will increase productivity by introducing the latest production technologies at the Shenzhen plant in China, focus production on high-value-added lens barrels and interchangeable lenses, and actively utilise outside production in assembly processes, in which it is generally difficult to create added value.'

The move follows Olympus' plans, announced earlier this year, to boost unit sales of interchangeable-lens cameras by 180%, by March 2017, and focus on ‘high-value' models.

Sasa - who was elected president in April - added: ‘Furthermore, by fiscal [year] 2015 we will achieve an improvement of eight percentage points in the SG&A (selling, general & administrative expenses) ratio in the Imaging Business, through selection and concentration of advertising investment and personnel optimisation in Japan and overseas.'

Commenting on the ‘business challenges' the group faces in 2012, Sasa said: ‘I am sobered by the responsibility of managing Olympus at this crucial juncture, where we face the most serious crisis since Olympus was founded.'

Earlier today, three former Olympus executives pleaded guilty in connection with a £1.1bn financial scandal that was exposed last year.

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