Yamaha is a massive company, with interests in multiple powersports areas. It’s also not afraid to try new things—which could be why, on June 9, the company broke ground on its first-ever SMART warehouse. The facility is located in Newnan, Georgia, and will focus on producing Yamaha’s ATVs, WaveRunners, side-by-sides, and golf carts.
The acronym SMART stands for “Sequenced Material and Reduced Transportation,” which will use a variety of automated storage and retrieval technologies to increase efficiency. As a result, Yamaha estimates that its dealer fulfillment response time could be reduced by as much as 50 percent in the areas served by this warehouse alone. Additionally, it will have an observation deck so school kids can come and observe the manufacturing action on field trips.
“The new Yamaha SMART warehouse will improve our overall operational efficiency and the velocity of material flow to our factory assembly lines, allowing us to ultimately get the product in the hands of our dealers and customers faster,” Yamaha Motor USA president and CEO Mike Chrzanowski said in a statement.
“The significant investment Yamaha made in this new facility underscores the company’s long-term commitment to our YMMC employees as well as the City of Newnan and Coweta County. This system within the SMART warehouse will bring higher paid and more skilled jobs into Coweta County, including robotics experts, software developers, and systems engineers,” he added.
Of course, it’s less than two weeks now since Yamaha broke ground on this project—so clearly, it will be some time before anyone is able to see if this project lives up to expectations. That’s the thing with an experiment, though. You can carefully lay the groundwork for success, but ultimately, you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s always an element of chance that you can’t control, and while you hope for the best, there’s just no telling how it will shake out in the end.
In any case, with a company like Yamaha, could how this SMART warehouse project goes affect how it goes about manufacturing in other locations—and segments, such as motorcycles? There’s no reason to believe that it couldn’t.
After all, any powersports company is generally looking for ways to both drive and fulfil customer demand. If the SMART Warehouse architecture proves capable of doing that, why shouldn’t it find use elsewhere in the company? As always, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.