Kawai Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co. is one of the largest Japanese companies in the segment of constructing musical pianos. While its worldwide sales are impressive until recently, the company has been occupying the niche of affordable mass-produced pianos to be supplied to homes and schools. This gave the company a reputation for mediocrity and low quality, which may be enough for children learning to play or even musical students, but not enough to supply famous orchestras and piano masters with a tool adequate to their hearing and skill. While this strategy was enough to grasp a large segment of the piano market in Japan and abroad, it did not provide the company with a reputation for the luxury musical instrument market.
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As it stands, Kawai has already made significant progress in improving the quality of their instruments. They are using the highest quality of wood and other materials for their premium products. The pianos are assembled by hand and undergo numerous stages of control and adjustment before being released. The quality of sound is tested independently at every stage of the process. At an organizational level, high quality has become a philosophy. Thus, Kawai cares greatly about quality and has the ability and resources to create high-quality products.
However, simply providing high-quality products is not enough to claim market share in the luxury instruments segment. As it was mentioned in the case study, many musicians do not associate Kawai with quality. In order to change this attitude, the company would need to get more exposure and receive international accreditation for quality. With that in mind, obtaining certification to BS EN ISO 9001:2015 will place it in the same line with Steinway, Tiffany, and Yamaha. Not only will certification add prestige to the brand name, but it will also improve the overall quality of production management. Either way, the company still has a “tough row to hoe.”