Yamaha investment paying off

For years, Yamaha Marine Group’s strategic plan has involved gaining the ability to develop propellers more quickly. That was the intention behind the purchase of Precision Propeller Inc. in July 2008, a move the company says is now paying off in numerous ways.

First of all, the integration of the two companies has gone “smoother than my wildest dreams could have imagined,” says Ben Speciale, vice president of operations and planning for Yamaha Marine Group. He believes the hiring of Bill Bayman as PPI general manager has really helped the process.

Bayman, who offers experience in the subcomponent sector of the automotive industry, as well as finance and quality assurance, has been well accepted by both Yamaha and PPI.
“We wanted to find someone who was neutral, not from PPI or Yamaha,” Speciale explained. “He’s done an excellent job of pulling the team together.”

That cohesion has contributed to improvement in the results delivered by three Yamaha subgroups involved with propellers: the testing, engineering and manufacturing teams.

“Propellers are like boats. You have to have someone who understands boats to build a boat,” explains Speciale. “You can do lots of engineering, but you still have to run the propeller on a boat and understand it.”

The results of this combined expertise have helped cross-pollinate the Turbo series of propellers that Yamaha’s 2,100 marine dealers began carrying in March. While PPI’s Turbo line existed prior to the purchase, it had hundreds, not thousands, of dealers. Yamaha expects to increase distribution for the line and offer additional products.

“The dealer network knows about Turbo as they’ve been around for years,” Speciale explained. “Now they can buy them through our systems. Most dealers probably buy product through 10 different suppliers. We’ll probably pick up some of that product over time.”

That’s where the benefit exists for Yamaha’s dealers. Not only does a bigger order through Yamaha translate into a bigger discount, fewer suppliers mean less administration time and effort – important efficiencies in these challenging times.

There isn’t a lot of overlap between the Turbo line and Yamaha’s own line, designed specifically for its boat and engine products. The Turbo line is intended to cover 14 million registered boats, including the many micro-niches.

“Boaters today are more likely to buy parts and accessories for their current boat than buy a new boat and outboard,” says John Rigsby, Yamaha Marine Group national sales manager. “With the Turbo propeller line, Yamaha dealers can now offer a full suite of propellers – something for almost any type of boat on the water.”

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