Yamaha Corporation of America Realigns Business With Market and Customer Evolution

12/10/2008 [Corporate]

Changes to Optimize Company Operations, Advance 'One Yamaha' Concept.

BUENA PARK, Calif. — Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) recently announced a major realignment of the company's core marketing and sales structure designed to dramatically increase corporate efficiency and provide unparalleled customer service, while addressing an ever-evolving market. The announcement was made by Rick Young and Tom Sumner, senior vice presidents at the Buena Park, California-based company—the largest subsidiary of Yamaha, which is the world's largest maker of musical instruments.

Athan Billias
Music Production Marketing Manager Athan Billias
The realignment, to take effect April 1, 2009, will not affect headcount at Yamaha. It follows on the establishment earlier this year of the YCA Customer Sales and Marketing Group, a company-wide initiative that focuses on the end-user consumer and seamlessly aligns YCA with the needs of a broad base of select dealers, top artists, world-class performance venues, as well as leading academic and institutional facilities.

"Having concluded an exhaustive, five-month review of our company's structure and efficiency, we have enacted significant changes to best position Yamaha for continued industry leadership," said Young. "As our market and customers evolve, we have adjusted our marketing and sales structure to virtually eliminate 'sales silos' to further advance our goal of 'One Yamaha.' Ultimately, we aim to ensure the best use of resources and appropriate market penetration with increased emphasis on strong customer service."

One particular area of improvement is the YCA Keyboard division, a new division that will be comprised of the current Piano division and the Digital Piano and Portable Keyboard business units from the PAC division. As part of its realignment, Yamaha has, for the first time aligned all keyboard marketing in one cohesive organization throughout the United States. This initiative brings together the entire line of acoustic, Disklavier and Clavinova digital pianos, in addition to portable keyboards and digital pianos traditionally sold through the company's Pro Audio & Combo (PAC) division. Paul Calvin, Vice President and General Manager will lead the Keyboard division. Joining from the PAC division are Mark Anderson, who now serves as Director of Marketing as well as Acoustic Piano Marketing Manager, and Dane Madsen, who becomes Clavinova, Portable Keyboard and Digital Piano Marketing Manager. Jim Levesque will be the Disklavier and Modus Marketing manager.

The company's PAC Division will focus its marketing efforts on Guitars, Drums, Live Sound, Music Production and Accessories. Rick Young will continue to lead this initiative, with Athan Billias serving as Director of Marketing. Rounding out this area are Wayne Hrabak, Live Sound Marketing Manager; Dennis Webster, Guitar Marketing Manager; Dave Jewell, Acoustic Drum Marketing Manager, and Athan Billias, Music Production Marketing Manager. In addition, Electronic Drum Marketing has become a dedicated function within the division, to capitalize on the growing popularity of the company's line of DTX instruments.

The structure of marketing programs conducted by other YCA companies, divisions and departments, including Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems (YCAS), Yamaha Electronics Corporation (YEC), Yamaha Band & Orchestral and Steinberg North America remain virtually unchanged.

The YCA Sales Structure has also undergone significant change, and has been redefined by four factors: customer size and relationship, "solutions" orientation (marketing, product or training needs), the prevailing "One Yamaha" philosophy and company-wide efficiency.

In both the Keyboard and PAC divisions, Yamaha has increased the number of District Managers across the country while significantly reducing the geography covered by each District Manager, allowing for better service and increased focus on individual dealer needs.

A sales team led by two of YCA's Senior Vice Presidents—Rick Young and Tom Sumner—and supported by a cross-divisional marketing group will service national accounts, including Guitar Center, Best Buy and Costco.

Mark Anderson
Keyboard Director of Marketing Mark Anderson
To break down "sales silos" in the field, Yamaha will introduce a prototype program in Illinois embracing a "One Yamaha District Manager" concept, wherein each state or major market is to be managed by a single District Manager. That DM owns all dealer relationships and activities within a specified territory across all Yamaha product lines, and is responsible for selling across product lines. Bob Heller will continue in his position as Director of National Sales for the Keyboard division, while John Shalhoup will remain as Director of National Sales for the PAC division.

At the same time, Yamaha will maintain a team of dedicated sales/tech specialists to provide the highest level of dealer service for products requiring deep technical expertise, such as those offered through Music Production, Steinberg North America and Commercial Audio. Finally, Yamaha Consumer Products sales will be consolidated into Yamaha Electronics Corporation, since it shares the same customer base.

Initial dealer reaction to Yamaha's restructuring plan has been quite favorable. "The landscape is changing dramatically, and the lines are blurred between products," said Tony Falcetti of Falcetti Music, based in Springfield Massachusetts. "Yamaha's plan will succeed if there is a logical connection between products up and down the entire keyboard line."

Robin Walenta of West Music in Iowa also applauds the move. "This follows up on the 'One Yamaha' concept and should help us all to better recognize who the buyer is, and to help build life-long, music-making relationships with our customers."

Finally, Robert Strait of Strait Music, serving the Austin, Texas market said, "Yamaha has always been able to recognize the market situation and has successfully realigned to benefit itself and its dealers. I trust their judgment in this move, and believe it's another positive step into the future."

For more information, contact Yamaha Corporation of America, 6600 Orangethorpe Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620; phone 714-522-9011; or e-mail infostation@yamaha.com.

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