Yamaha Musical Products
Woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.
Here’s how Yamaha Musical Products benefited from using WinMAGI software.
- The highest quality band instruments in the world
- Sought a scalable system
- WinMAGI was our choice
- Our jobs are easier now, both functionality and performance
- Use a little or use it all you get first class results either way
Yamaha Makes Sweet Music with WinMAGI
By Kent Hedlund
I am the Inventory Supervisor for Yamaha Musical Products in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our factory is Yamaha’s only North American facility that assembles woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. We sell our products to Yamaha Corporation of America. They distribute product to dealers in North America and export product to our Canadian affiliate.
By the late 1990s, our growth had strained our ability to manage the factory informally. We purchase many components from Yamaha’s manufacturing facility in Japan, so the leadtimes are long the lot sizes are large. Shortages cannot be overcome quickly. Early attempts to eliminate shortages resulted in large amounts of excess inventory. Long leadtimes and large lot sizes are not an environment suited to informal management. We have better luck with accessories, packaging, and carrying cases purchased in North America because leadtimes are shorter and lot sizes are smaller. Here, too, we could do better.
We produce the highest quality band instruments in the world but we were not particularly sophisticated when it came to using software to monitor their assembly. We feared a misstep would reduce our inventory at the price of our delivery performance. We sought a scalable system one that would allow us to start with a few fundamental controls and expand as our knowledge of the WinMAGI system grew.
WinMAGI was our software choice. Not only was it scalable, but it had an underlying security foundation that allowed us to customize each screen by showing only the icons that applied to each user. The total price, including training, was also reasonable compared to other software systems we considered.
We started implementation by controlling our domestically purchased parts with WinMAGI. We used simple reorder points. We had been using ROPs for these parts before WinMAGI but the planning function had been isolated from the purchasing, receiving, and inventory functions. Now we had it all synchronized. No more seeing the requirement but forgetting to order it. No more ordering it and not knowing whether or not it arrived. No more receiving it and forgetting to update the inventory records. We continued to use our manual methods to track the inventory until we were used to feeding the computer inventory transactions. The management difference using WinMAGI versus manual ordering each item quickly became obvious. We always knew the status of the parts under WinMAGI control. Good news or bad news we always knew. Manually tracked parts had to be constantly expedited and recounted. Even then, we were never certain our numbers were correct. Eventually, as we became familiar with entering inventory transactions into the computer, dependency on WinMAGI became second nature, and the reasons for keeping the manual system disappeared.
We were deliberately proceeding slowly. Still, in less than six months, WinMAGI was managing all parts. We were ready to move to the next step of using WinMAGI to reduce the inventory. WinMAGI offered several ways to manage inventory reduction. We sought consultation from MAGI. One of their veteran manufacturing people suggested we issue inventory from the parts storeroom to production. Production throughput was fast and since we issued only a few days worth of material at a time, there would never be enough parts in production to require more detailed management. The issue transaction would reduce the storeroom inventory and the ROPs would consider only quantities in the storeroom. We removed all safety stocks and let the small quantities in production function as a safety stock.
That was three years ago. It all seems so simple now. As I said before, We are experts at assembling band instruments. Inventory control software was new to us. The Windows platform of WinMAGI really made our jobs easier both in functionality and performance.
We still have some software systems required by our corporate parent and, therefore, have not used as much of WinMAGI as other companies. Customer orders are managed in another software system as are accounts payable and receivables. Actually, this is one of the reasons we chose WinMAGI because it is scalable. Use a little or use it all. You get first class results either way.
Kent Hedlund is Inventory Control Supervisor for Yamaha Musical Instruments in Grand Rapids, Michigan.