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20 contestants from 18 countries and regions 6th Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix 2014, Winners from Spain and India in the Sports and Commuter model classes respectively

October 6, 2014

IWATA, October 6, 2014 - Yamaha Motor Co,. Ltd. (Tokyo: 7272) has held the "6th Yamaha Technician Grand Prix 2014" over the two days of September 30 (Tue.) and October 1 (Wed.), with 20 qualifying Yamaha motorcycle service people (dealer and distributor mechanics) from 18 countries and regions competing in all aspects of service skills and knowledge. The winner in the Sports Model Class was the representative from Spain, Mr. Tomas Candela Sanchez, and the winner in the Commuter Model Class was the representative from India, Mr. Meenakshi Sundaram Subramanian.

Under our "One-to-One Service" motto (expressing the ideal of using professional service skills to create and strengthen the bonds with each and every customer), Yamaha Motor has been operating its unique Yamaha Technical Academy (YTA) training program for service technicians since 2000, based on world-unified Yamaha-exclusive standards of customer service that exceeds the expectations of the customers. The ultimate aim of this program is to build a system that enables customers all over the world to get the same level of high-quality service at any Yamaha dealership. As of October 2014, some 33,000 mechanics from 42 distributorships have received YTA certification and are putting their skills to use in countries around the world. And, with the goal of providing quality service that builds customer satisfaction, Yamaha service mechanics around the world train under the YTA program and compete in local and regional contests designed to improve their service skills and heighten their sense of pride as part of the global Yamaha Motor group.

The winners of these contests then become their countries' representatives to compete in the Yamaha World Technician GP to decide the No. 1 Yamaha technician in the world.
From January 2014, Yamaha Motor established the new "CS* Center" as a consolidation of the former Product Warranty, Service, Parts and Safety Promotion divisions and other departments. By connecting these divisions and departments to function with seamless continuity, the CS Center stands as a clear manifestation of the company's "customer first" policy more than ever before. One of the major initiatives the new CS Center has been working to implement is "Time Commitment Service." This is a system by which a dealership can give a customer who brings their Yamaha bike in for repair a firm and accurate commitment regarding the service quotation and delivery date after the repair job is completed based on the present status of parts supply and service personnel workload. The Yamaha World Technician GP is designed to judge the contestants' customer-oriented skills in the four test areas of "Service knowledge," "Basic service skills," "Troubleshooting" and "Customer relations skills," and this time, elements were included to test the work accuracy and speed required for Time Commitment Service. The winners were then decided based on total points in the four test areas.

*CS: Customer Service

The 20 contestants from 18 countries and regions and Yamaha Motor President and CEO
Hiroyuki Yanagi, serving as contest chairperson (front row center)

Outline of the 6th Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix 2014

The competition was divided between a "Sports Model Class" and a "Commuter Model Class," and in both classes the contestants competed with their customer service skills in the four test areas of "Service knowledge," "Basic service skills," "Troubleshooting" and "Customer relations skills," with the winners decided on the basis of total points in these test areas.
In this 6th holding of the competition, the "Basic service skills" test was added with a special emphasis on the work accuracy and speed required for the "Time Commitment Service" policy currently being promoted as a means to strengthen the competitiveness of the Yamaha Motor group, while the formerly separate "practical skills" of troubleshooting and repair skills and "customer relations" skills evaluation were integrated into a "Troubleshooting & Customer relations" test.

Troubleshooting & Customer Relations Test

Based on the common situation of a walk-in customer coming to a dealership with a motorcycle that has broken down or developed some kind of problem, an integrated "Troubleshooting & Customer relations" test was conducted as one 90-minute test. Rather than simply repairing a model with a given malfunction, the contestants had to discern the customer's requests from conversing with them, inspect the model, diagnose the problem, repair it and finally hand over the repaired model to the customer with explanations of the repair and advice. In short, this test evaluated the mechanic's responses throughout the full process of reception, repair and hand-over of the repaired model that actually goes on daily at a dealership.
In the test this time, the malfunctioning models used in this part of competition had not only an electrical system malfunction but also trouble that had been caused by the customer's own incorrect repair of a previous problem. This required that the mechanic talk to the customer and identify the problems that needed to be repaired and then, when handing over the repaired model to the customer, explain what had been defective and the reasons. Thus, it included vital aspects of YTA training and certification.

Reception: Questioning the customer to find out their requests and identify the problem(s)
Repair: Diagnosing the problems and repairing them
Hand-over: Explaining the contents of the repairs performed, etc., and also offering professional advice other than the one repaired this time
Service knowledge test: In addition to technical knowledge for servicing and knowledge about the products, this test covered a wide range of knowledge in other areas such as customer trends and the motorcycle industry

Winner Comments

Sports Model Class

Winner: Tomas Candela Sanchez (Spain)
"I first found out about this contest four years ago, and ever since then I wanted to take part in it someday and come to Japan. Now I'm very happy that my dream came true. Actually, this April I injured my arm in an accident and had to try to do my best despite my less than ideal physical condition. I was away from my job for two months after the accident, but after I returned to work in July, I got support from Yamaha with the study materials and such and did my best to keep practicing and preparing for this contest at work and at home.
From now on, I want to work with pride knowing that I've been awarded as the No. 1 Yamaha mechanic in the world. This contest has made me especially aware of the importance of how you treat the customer. When I get back to my dealership, I intend to tell our staff in charge of customer reception about the importance of CS and to work to provide service that exceeds the expectations of the customers."

2nd Place: Benedikt Fuchs (Germany)
"I'm glad to have been able to participate in this competition as a member of the Yamaha family. I've been working at the same dealership for 16 years since 1998, and with my managerial responsibilities now, I don't normally do repair work in the shop much anymore. I was surprised when I won our championship in Germany, but since that gave me the opportunity to represent my country in this competition, I studied up on my technical knowledge and, having found out beforehand that speed would be an element of judging in the Basic service skills part of the contest, I devised my own methods for practicing at home after work.
I believe that the dealership where I work is No. 1 in service skills in our area. Now I want to take our technical expertise to a new level and use this 2nd Place award in this World GP as an asset to further strengthen our service and attract more customers to help our shop grow.

3rd Place: David Speeks (U.S.A.)
"I couldn't have won this 3rd Place award if it hadn't been for the support of the staff at Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. (YMUS) and our friend Mack who won 2nd Place in the 2012 Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix. This award is the result of everyone's support. There were times when I lacked confidence, but now that I have won this 3rd Place award, it has strengthened my pride and awareness of my responsibilities as a Yamaha mechanic, and I want to apply this new recognition to my daily work. I also feel that this award will help to motivate the other mechanics around me. There were a lot of things that I learned by participating in this competition. Until now, I didn't think of dealing with the customers directly as one of my strengths, but now I have a new awareness of the importance of how we deal with our customers, and this is something I want to share with my fellow workers when I get back to help make our dealership better."

Commuter Model Class

Winner: Meenakshi Sundaram Subramanian (India)
"I'm very happy about being named the winner. It is the result of a lot of hard work for me. But, I couldn't have won without the support I got from the people at Yamaha Motor India Sales Pvt. Ltd. (YMIS). I want to thank my family and everyone else that has given me their support.
I practiced very hard in the areas of knowledge and technical skills and dealing with customers, all with the ambition of becoming the best mechanic in India. Then, to prepare for this World Technician GP, I practiced hard for a full three months. Now I want to take the results of what I have learned and use it to help teach new mechanics, so that hopefully other mechanics from India can come here and perform well in the future."

2nd Place: Calvin Kenneth D. Tan (The Philippines)
"I gave this competition all I had. The contents of the competition were difficult. Because I'm the first one from the Philippines to participate in this competition and there was little information or people with experience to help me, it was difficult to figure out how to prepare myself. That makes me especially grateful for the help I got from the people at Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. (YMPH) and everyone else that supported me. It was good to be able to participate in this World Technician GP and spend time working hard with the mechanics from other countries. Now I want to go back and share this valuable experience with the mechanics around me, and although I've been named 2nd in the world this time, I want to come back and do even better next time."

3rd Place: Wang Chung Yao (Taiwan)
"I'm just very, very grateful. As soon as the YTA Gold Certification program was introduced in Taiwan I started participating and building my knowledge and understanding about the workings of motorcycles, and I have made it a daily practice to spend time explaining carefully to customers about the details of things like the places that have caused trouble in their motorcycle. The competition this time showed me a bigger world. It was a very enjoyable experience. In return, I want to share this experience with the staff at our dealership and contribute to raising the level of our CS so we can give something back to the customers with One-to-One Service."

3rd Place: Asep Sumpena Suryaningrat (Indonesia)
"I'm very happy and grateful to have received this 3rd Place award. I owe this award to the people at PT. Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing (YIMM) and the other people who gave me their support. I'm very grateful to them all. I'm proud to have been able to participate in this competition and it has brought me valuable experiences. I practiced hard every day and received special training from YIMM. I especially worked on strengthening myself mentally. I also did a lot of practical on-the-job training such as dealing with as many customers as possible to improve my skills. Now I want to put this experience to use in my daily work. I especially want to work to increase customer satisfaction. Our motto in Indonesia is ‘Yamaha semakin di depan!' (Yamaha, always one step ahead)."

This time there was a special CS Award given for the first time. It was awarded to the following three contestants for the excellence of the customer-oriented approach they showed in the customer relations aspects of the competition.

Mr. Guilherme Schulz (Brazil, left)
Mr. Jeremy Nigel Read (New Zealand, center)
Ms. Le Ngoc Tuyen (Vietnam, right)

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