Yamaha Boat Companies Ride the Data Loader Wave

Yamaha has three boat companies running QAD: Yamaha Boats in Vonore, TN, Skeeter Boats in Kilgore, TX, and G3 Boats in Lebanon, MO. Each company has its own QAD database, all using version 2014 SE. There are approximately 250 QAD users in the three companies.

Doug Williams, IT/QAD, explains that many of the transactions at the boat companies are labor-intensive, and there are opportunities for mistakes when reentering transactions from spreadsheets into the system. They have developed a few CIM loads over the years, but that required an IT person to be involved, shifting the burden and control from the user to IT.

“We are grateful to Yamaha Boats. They were the first ones to start using 32 Soft’s Data Loaders. They had a few bottleneck problems and pointed out the benefits of Data Loaders. We implemented some of the trials, a straightforward process. The team was up to speed quickly because Data Loaders use basic Excel spreadsheets that most know how to use. Users could test it in their environment and see their data.”

Word of the success of the first few Data Loaders that Yamaha adopted spread quickly through the other boat companies. Here are some ways that the Yamaha boat companies use Data Loaders.

Ronda Newlin, Supply Chain Manager at G3 Boats, adopted the Item Master Data Loader to help as they were implementing a cycle count program. With over 20K parts, the Item Master Data Loader has saved them tremendous time.

Ronda explains they also adopted the Product Structure (BOM) Data Loader to handle changes to their many Bills of Material (BOMs). They have BOMs for their lamination deck, the deck assembly, the entire lamination, the entire assembly, and for completion. Approximately 520 individual BOMs for all their different models are subject to change or modification at any given time. It was time-consuming and required hours, even days, to complete.

“If one revision notice came out to change one part on every boat,” she says, “we would have to go into all those BOMs and make the changes one at a time. With the Data Loader, it allows you to update all of them with just one click.”

Ken Ratley, Materials Manager at Skeeter Boats, notes that they also have very complex BOMs, so they have adopted the Product Structure Data Loader. They use the PCO process in QAD to plan for a change, but they create and release work orders ahead of time so they can see the allocated inventory. Once that gets processed, it may not be on the date the PCO intended the change. They had to go back into QAD and manually make changes. It would take several days to change all the dates correctly.

“With the Product Structure Data Loader,” Ken says, “we’re able to download all the information into the spreadsheet very quickly, review it, choose the items that need to be changed and correct them, and turn around and load them back into the system with a click of the button.”

Kristin Brant, Purchasing Buyer at G3, uses the PO Workbench. Before they adopted PO Workbench, buyers would print hundreds of pages from MRP every Monday. “Sometimes, it would roll into Tuesdays depending on how many vendors we would place orders with. With PO Workbench, I can place orders within a few hours every Monday,” says Kristin.

Brandy Whiskey at Skeeter Boats uses the AP Voucher Data Loader to process non-PO vouchers. She says it has cut down about half a day to a day of just entering non-PO transactions.

At Skeeter, they build many in-house parts. Every week, they backflush hundreds of records to issue the raw material for the made parts. It would take two or three hours a week to backflush these items. Ken Ratley says, “With the Backflush Transaction Data Loader, we can perform the same process in five or ten minutes each week.”

The Sales Order Create/Modify Data Loader is employed at Skeeter and G3 Boats, specifically when the schedule changes and many sales orders need to be updated quickly. It is a time-consuming effort to go into the sales orders in QAD, update the sales order header, go into each line item, and change the dates within the line items. Using the Sales Order Create/Modify Data Loader, they can mass update the sales orders in record time.

At G3 Boats, they also use the Production Planner. Lella Fulton, IT at G3, reports, “The Production Planner is used every single day to create our schedules for our boats, down to what line they go down.”

Some of the Data Loaders that Yamaha adopted needed modifications to work well in their environment.

“Some processes required iterative steps where we tested individual parts moving forward. We have some custom programs specifically. With the PO Workbench, we had custom programs for emailing out purchase orders. We needed to work with the team at 32 Soft, and it was a very positive experience. They were knowledgeable and understood our situation. And, we were surprised that the cost was minimal compared to what we expected for such changes,” Doug explains.

Ashley Robinson, Production Control Manager at Yamaha Boats, agreed. “32 Soft was able to modify the Product Structure Data Loader so that non-users of QAD who need to make inquiries on the BOMs could view the data. I can’t tell you how many people have appreciated just that simple change 32 Soft was able to make. It’s been a huge help here.”

Doug Williams says, “We initially started looking at one or two Data Loaders to improve efficiencies. Over the last year, our use of Data Loaders has grown immensely. Now that individuals from the different boat companies have seen what Data Loaders can do and the benefits, we are looking for other applications where we can use them. If we have an area that requires repetitive data entry or mass updates, we ask: is there a Data Loader for this? If not, we ask: is there one that 32 Soft could develop?

Lella Fulton agrees. “As Doug said, we’re all about making things simpler for our people and improving their work experience. Data Loaders have really come to the rescue of some departments that were overwhelmed, like our purchasing department. You’ve probably saved them 10 hours a week of entering POs individually. So, when we think about making people’s jobs easier, 32 Soft is always in the back of our minds: do they have something that can help?”