5/21/2004 [Pianos & Keyboards]Piano and Speaker Assembly Plant Puts Georgia Town in the Thick of Global Industry
THOMASTON, GA (May 21, 2004) Yamaha Music Manufacturing (YMM), the U.S. piano and professional audio speaker assembly facility for Yamaha Corporation of America, has reached the 25th anniversary of its 1979 groundbreaking. Plant staff and several Yamaha executives joined members of the Thomaston community in celebrating this milestone at a May 14 gathering. For the remainder of 2004, the Thomaston, GA plant will commemorate its anniversary by offering tours to local schools and other groups.
"What began literally with shovels in the ground has grown into a major force in the music products industry, and an important part of the local economy," says Ingram Haley, YMM's Vice President of Manufacturing and Purchasing. "Because of the hard work of people from Thomaston and surrounding communities over the years, we've been able to design and build pianos that fit the needs of the American public instruments that match American furniture trends and meet the strict quality standards of Yamaha. That's something of which we're all very proud."
In its earliest years, YMM assembled Yamaha Electone organs, while acoustic piano assembly at the Thomaston facility began in 1983. All of Yamaha's U.S. piano manufacturing operations are located there, and YMM also produces Yamaha's Club Series V loudspeakers.
"In an intensely competitive world piano market, Yamaha Music Manufacturing endures and thrives by combining new technology and centuries-old craftsmanship in exactly the right proportions," notes YMM President Shinichi Minadotani. "Throughout our 25-year history, we have engaged in continuous process improvements, and our quality has been refined accordingly."
Since the manufacturing and assembly began, YMM has employed hundreds of people from Thomaston and other nearby towns, paying nearly $2 million in property taxes and $100 million in payroll. Its community outreach over the years has included the contribution of a piano and sound equipment for the restoration of a local civic auditorium, support for local performing arts programs and the staging of concerts featuring prominent artists such as The Canadian Brass.
"The Thomaston plant has been a real success story for us," says Paul Calvin, general manager, Piano Division, Yamaha Corporation of America. "Yamaha's reputation is built on the quality of our products, and that quality starts right here. The decision to locate in Georgia a quarter-century ago is one that's continuing to pay dividends, for both the company and the community."
Of the plant's current staff of 260, nine people have been employed at YMM from the very beginning of operations in 1980. "A lot of things have changed; we've gone from a small facility to a large operation," says materials control specialist Sandra Passmore, a Thomaston native who began her Yamaha career on the organ assembly line in April 1980. "I see our pianos in churches and on TV, and it's very uplifting knowing we can make a product like that. I think it means a great deal to the community, and I know it means a great deal to me."
Production manager Chris James, another original employee, feels similarly. "Over those 25 years, I've really enjoyed working here," he says. "It's remarkable how much Yamaha has benefited my life and provided a good way of life for me and my family, and I'm sure many other people who live here can say that."
The plant received ISO14001 certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in January 2001, at a time when only about 1,000 such certifications had been issued in the U.S., and YMM was the first Yamaha facility in the western hemisphere to secure that achievement.
For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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