You think of the camera brand Olympus, and you think of high tech optics. Would you be surprised to discover that it was a company established as far back as 1919? Yes, Olympus, is close to 100 years old. This demonstrates that it must be among the most innovative and flexible of all contemporary firms, and makes it even more shocking to realize that it is still growing in size and overall strength.
The Background of Olympus
Created in 1919, it was not yet a "camera" company. Though our modern view of Olympus is as one of the best makers of digital cameras, lenses, and so on, at its birth it was strictly an optics firm specializing in thermometers and microscopes.
Would it shock you to learn that it still holds a strong position in microscopes? According to some, it has around 70% of the entire GI endoscope market!
However, before we discuss today's Olympus, let's understand a bit of its background. Initially, it was named Takachiho Seisakusho. Takachiho is a mountain in Japan in which it is said that more than eight million gods and goddesses live. This name was given to the company because the presence of so many gods and goddesses would mean "enlightenment," and in a similar way the company hoped to use its many optical devices to bring light to the world.
However, after World War II, it was decided to change the name to improve the corporate image. So, another mountaintop home to gods and goddesses was selected, and the firm became the Olympus Corporation after Mt. Olympus from Greek mythology. It was said that on Mt. Olympus were the twelve major gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, and so in this way the same general message of light or enlightenment might be created.
By the time the company was named Olympus, it had long sold off the thermometer division of the firm. Instead, at that time, optics remained the emphasis, and that is why modern consumers associate the brand with cameras, lenses, and other similar devices. However, today the firm produces:
* Precision machinery
* Precision instruments
* Voice recorders
* Endoscopes (medical)
* Medical devices
* Facial creams
* Plastic table ware
It has dozens of Group Companies operating under the heading of Olympus, and these are divided between its Medical Business, Scientific Solutions Business, Camera and Audio Business, and Research and Development. They have a presence in most areas of the world and are not always known specifically as optical manufacturers.
However, most consumers know the Olympus brand specifically for cameras and associated optical gear. Specifically they are recognized for:
* Digital Cameras - The firm offers high-end models with interchangeable lens systems, compact digitals with fixed lenses, and other digital camera products
* Optical components for cameras - Primarily lenses and filters
Each year, the company has worked to offer some of the most advanced digital cameras. They have continually produced units with the best sensors, widest array of features, and most advanced functions - including video tech with advanced sound.
Clearly, the firm is dedicated to continuing its optical superiority, but it also has an extensive social awareness program.
Olympus and Corporate Social Responsibility
Just as the firm's products and company groups are extensive, so too are their activities where corporate social responsibility or CSR is concerned. The company indicates that "Olympus Group strives to realize better health and happiness for people by being integral members of society, sharing common values, and proposing new values through its business activities." (Olympus-Global, 2014)
They achieve this in an innovative way through what is known as "Social IN". This includes integrity, innovation, and involvement all aimed at establishing firm ties with society. This system has been at work in the entire Olympus Global organization since 1994 and is realized through many business practices and employee policies. The firm also has substantial economic, societal, and environmental policies relating to their Social IN programs.
They have their "Dollars for Doers" volunteer program, Employee Donation Matching program, and corporate giving designed to benefit and sustain society.
The Olympus Corporation is a global entity that creates top of the line digital cameras. It has specialized in optics since 1919, and it is likely to remain one of the top rated makers of cameras and lenses for many more years to come.