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The Switch to Electronic Calculators

The Switch to Electronic Calculators
All-Out Efforts to Overcome a Business Crisis
The Switch to Electronic Calculators

All-Out Efforts to
Overcome a Business Crisis

A passion for golf
and a business crisis
As the company’s performance improved, the four Kashio brothers became hooked on golf. Although each of them had their own distinct quirks and idiosyncrasies, when it came to playing golf, they were equally passionate. They began playing more and more often, sometimes going once every two days.
This continued for several years, until Kazuo, who was in charge of sales and marketing, was informed by Uchida Yoko that the inventory of relay calculators was piling up. As a result, they were forced to drastically reduce the production plan. The main reason for this was the advent of electronic calculators. In 1964, Sharp introduced a transistor-based calculator. Canon followed suit. These calculators, which were more compact and faster than relay calculators, put Casio on the brink of bankruptcy.
Kazuo’s quick thinking
and Yukio’s efforts
Nevertheless, Casio was determined to stick with relay calculators and continued planning the release of their latest model. This was the Model 81, a state-of-the-art relay calculator that boasted five times the computing speed of previous models.
In the spring of 1965, Kazuo and Yukio held a briefing session for dealers. As the developer, Toshio was confident, but Kazuo was not. As the one on the frontline of sales and marketing, he was concerned that the dealers would walk out on them.
His fears proved correct. The dealers felt that relay calculators were old-fashioned and threatened to walk out of the meeting. Seeing the way that things were going, Kazuo made a split-second decision to show them an electronic calculator that was still under development. Yukio, who was in charge of the explanation, demonstrated that it could do 10-digit calculations, the same as the latest model of relay calculators. Now the dealers were interested. Somehow, the brothers had managed to turn things around.
Splitting up to
the four corners of Japan
Hearing what happened, Toshio finally agreed to give up on relay calculators and switch to electronic types. However, there was a heavy price to pay for being late to the electronic calculator game. Uchida Yoko, on whom Casio depended on for sales, wanted to terminate their contract. However, Casio suggested an alternative where they took over the business directly. This meant explaining the situation to all the dealers and gaining their understanding. So, the brothers divided the Japanese archipelago into four sections and split up to visit dealers throughout the country. Following the explanations, all of the dealers agreed.
However, another difficulty arose. Casio was faced with a request to vacate the building that they had been leasing. Tadao, the president of the company, worked hard to raise more funds and managed to overcome the situation thanks to the trust that he had built up with the bank.
Launching the 001 calculator
in four months
Having decided to withdraw from relay calculators, the brothers needed to release an electronic calculator as soon as possible. Yukio took charge of switching the production system to electronic calculators and proceeded with the development. A mere four months later, they were able to release a calculator called the 001, which was small enough to be placed on a desk.
However, rebuilding the sales network was also a major challenge. A new sales structure had to be established to distribute directly to dealers. Kazuo volunteered to handle this task. Taking advantage of his natural energy, he threw himself into this new type of work.
Together, four brothers had managed to overcome a business crisis.
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