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Archive for March, 2014

March 21, 2014

Irie Mon

I can’t say that I am all caught up after my first full week back in the office in what seems like months but I have gulped some air between waves. That’s not a bad little segue into my next mission – I’m taking the family south to sit on the beach for a week and get reacquainted. There will be some business involved as I have the privilege of joining in a special 5-Star dealer recognition trip to the islands of the Caribbean. Imagine hanging out at the pool in +30 degree sunshine talking about snowmobiles while the trails melt away at home.

Tom over on TY helped me post a survey link last week targeting SR Viper owners. We had a pretty good initial response which helped me confirm their level of satisfaction scored against what was most important to them at the time of purchase. It has also added clarity to where we need to focus to make the sled even better. There was one thing that really jumped out at me which I’ll share with you simply because it is quite interesting. What do you think was ranked as the most important item (out of 32 choices) that Viper purchasers were expecting from there new sled. Think about the categories… power? suspension? handling? comfort? performance? Do you have an idea? OK let me say that on the satisfaction ratings of the same 32 points – the item that owners selected as the thing they were very satisfied with was the same thing that was most important. It’s the ergonomics / riding position. Over 300 owners responded and the vast majority ranked the ergonomics as not just really important but also really good. I knew I liked the seating position, the transition to standing is as natural as it gets and riding seated is ideal for me but… wow.

Any way, if you are one of the ones who took the time to complete the survey – THANK YOU. I will return from the tropics next Saturday, swap out the laundry and depart for Japan on Sunday where I’ll be staying for another two weeks. There is still lots of snow in Hokaido and it was minus 9C there yesterday. My helmet and bibs await, along with the promise of some skunk work projects and fresh engineering to sample. I have heard your many comments and will relay as best I can within the formal arena and just as importantly –  the ‘nemawashi’ or back-door discussions over dinner and a pint. I have coined the term ‘Pure Yamaha’ into a strategic topic echoing your collective voice. Wish me luck!

cheers cr

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Posted @ 12:26 pm in Yamaha Insights   

March 12, 2014

Helmet for Sale – Cheap

Dang, here I am, back in the office and overdue for an update. I don’t even want to think of any technical topics or industry tid-bits today so instead I will give you the high hard ones on what I have been doing for the last couple of weeks. I’ll get back to the more controversial stuff once I get through the triage stage and decompression after being on the road.

I spent last week locked down at a ski resort in central Ontario (Blue Mountain) DSC02328with our key people from CSG / customer support group, service and accessories. I had the privilege to lead out the guys for a good ride on Wednesday with stellar conditions, racking up close to 250km. Might not seem like a lot for many of you but considering the technical nature of some of the trails along with numerous road crossings and the fact, for some, it was their first ride of the year and I’d say the boys did good! We did have a couple of ‘incidents’, one of which resulted in a short day for two people and the other will go down as a pit racing story for the ages. I won’t elaborate but the DSC02316circumstances involved a new modular helmet with a tricky face shield release, sudden onset motion sickness, resulting in an abrupt loss of visibility. I am glad I was up front…

Jon spent the last few days in Wisconsin attending some Viper customer survey / focus groups which afforded him the chance to get out and ride with some high miler folks. And I just returned from a quick trip down to Thief River Falls to have some informal discussion on our direction going forward with Arctic Cat. I don’t mind saying, it has been an incredibly busy six weeks but somehow I have managed to make it home most weekends and have been able to rack up some significant miles aboard my Apex along with numerous other cool sleds, thanks in part to an awesome winter.

During our media introduction, pre-embargo, I had planned to attend the vintage snowmobile rally at Waconia MN but had to change my plans when our meetings were cut short. In hindsight, I really wish I could have made it. My old friend and former associate, Greg Marier did attend and sent me this re-cap which I want to share with those of you who have deep roots with Yamaha. Thanks Greg! This is really, really cool!!!

(Be patient, it may take a minute to load and use the back arrow to return here when you are done)

Yamaha Waconia Vintage SNowmobile show

It looks right now, that I will be home the rest of this week and all of next before hitting the road for another three week ‘globe trot’. The snow is still falling here in abundance even as I write this and the weekend is only two days out. I have a Performance Damper equipped Apex with a modified (taller and reshaped) seat that really needs to have some big miles added to the odometer before this white stuff goes away. Notwithstanding my sacrifices, I still need to produce an owners survey for the SR Viper and start building our product plan into a more formal presentation for Japan end of the month. That said, I need to get back to doing the stuff I get paid for. TTYL!

cheers cr

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Posted @ 12:10 pm in Yamaha Insights