It’s been a busy summer for Yamaha Marine Systems Company. In June, the newly formed subsidiary of Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. acquired the assets of Kracor, Inc., a rotational molding manufacturer based in Milwaukee, Wis.
A month later, Yamaha acquired Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Bennett Marine, Inc., the company best known for adjustable hydraulic trim tab systems and the recently launched Bolt electric trim tab and AutoTrim Pro systems.
“We’ve just started the process of bringing the companies into our family," said Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha Marine Group. “I’m delighted by the excitement of the employees. My No. 1 item was integrating employees first. That’s the most important part, and that’s where we are focused for the near term.”
Speciale told Boating Industry he was delighted after visiting both companies, and was impressed by the two teams in Milwaukee and Florida.
“You can do all the due diligence you want, but until you are actually the owner of a company, it takes a little time to find the short-term efficiency gains. You really want the know-how of the employee base.” Speciale said, adding Yamaha’s acquisition meetings at both companies were among the most positive he’s had, and that Yamaha Marine Systems Company will be well served by the acquisitions.
For over 37 years, Kracor has manufactured high-quality rotationally molded plastic products for national and international markets with parts for the recreational marine, industrial, agricultural, waste, lawn and garden, medical and others.
Kracor’s employees will help Yamaha supply rotational molded parts and integrated fuel tank systems to boatbuilder customers and Yamaha’s internal business units. Bennett Marine has a longstanding reputation for building durable, reliable trim tab systems that can be found on boats all over the world.
The integrity of the Bennett Marine brand aligns well with the Yamaha Marine brand, Speciale said.
“Boats and engines have gone through a lot of transitions,” he added. “Today, if you want to optimize the overall performance of the product, as well as its comfort and quality, you need to integrate the systems of the boat with the engine.”
Integration needs to be approached not just from the consumer point of view, but also from a service, maintenance and care point of view downstream, Speciale said. As boats have become bigger and more complicated, their systems can be integrated more.
“With the new company, we need to create a new focal point and put assets into it so we can start driving integration,” Speciale said. Yamaha Marine Systems Company wants to create a broader engineering team that works on everything at once. “We may do that through acquisitions or with really strategic partners that are vendor suppliers, or we may do it internally, but we want to link up at a much higher level from an integration point of view,” he said.
Doing so will help Yamaha’s boatbuilding partners. “We’ll have more of a single-source purchasing process,” Speciale said. “There will be a lot more consistency in it, and help our dealers service it better. And we can leverage our service training where we train 2,500 technicians a year. We do a really, really good job of that, along with our service support side of the business.”
Yamaha Marine Systems Company will either work with strategic vendor partners or acquire technology and assets, Speciale said.
“We will continue to broaden our engineering resources,” Speciale said. “I can’t speak to companies we may be looking at, but we will going down the path of integrating components and features with engine power systems.”
Kracor and Bennett Marine have good, core base cultures as foundations, Speciale added.
“That shows in the passion they have for the products they are building," he said. "Each company has its individual macro-culture, but fundamentally, what we want to have is the same foundational culture and philosophy of product innovation and how we service customers.”
Speciale told Boating Industry he doesn’t see a big challenge in blending the two companies. “I think the employees were absolutely excited to become part of the Yamaha family,” he said. “They were really happy to join a company with a foundational-based culture. That marries up with their core values.”