R&D Locations Support Yamaha Craftsmanship
which is Spreading Globally
Yamaha Motor Group's R&D locations are spread across the globe.
So what kinds of activities are they involved in and what are their future aims?
We spoke with Makoto Shimamoto, Chief General Manager of the PF Model Unit in order to help answer those questions.
Q. What are the advantages and goals behind developing products locally in various countries?
In order to develop business globally, we must ask how quickly we can provide products to respond to customer needs which differ according to each market. For this, it is best to gain an understanding of market needs and develop products where customers live. Our company carries out development at R&D locations based on this idea. Our R&D locations develop products within manufacturing locations or in close proximity to them, and are also located near business partners. Since they are unified with manufacturing, one of their goals is to produce cost effectiveness and quality.
Q. What types of activities is each R&D location involved in?
Directly connected to the European market, YMRE (Italy) is involved in the development of value added product models. YMRT (Taiwan) develops small-sized scooters for the global market. YMRS (China) works together with outsourcers to learn how to create products faster and more safely. YMAC (Thailand) and YMRID (Indonesia) work together to strengthen product power in ASEAN member countries which is a key to our business. YMRI (India) is primarily focused on keeping costs very low. While making effective use of vendors which have competitive price strength, YMRI takes on the challenge of how to create very low-priced products which are suitable for the characteristics of the Indian market. As I have stated, the R&D locations play various roles in line with regional characteristics and market size while sharing the fundamentals of developing cost competitive products in a timely manner.
Q. What roles would you like to see R&D locations take towards future aims?
In the past, R&D locations carried out business with Japanese employees front and center. Now, however, local engineers take a lead role in product development at many locations. I would like to see this increase, and, in the future, would like for these locations to be able to complete product development involving a higher level of difficulty. Also, we are now in the age where we must be concerned with the pursuit of quality rather than scale. Therefore, I would like local engineers to improve their technical skills and expand the scope of their work to take on the challenge of improving development quality. In order to support skill improvement, education and training programs for each location are created and improved, including PC70, a two-week technical training course held at YMC headquarters. I would like to see our engineers become engineers that proactively devote themselves to self improvement so that they can at some point be entrusted with developing domestic products and other Yamaha products. This is what I expect to see.