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  1. #1
    ph2ocraft's Avatar
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    Kawasaki Headquarters

    So I called Kawasaki today just to ask where the next Ultra 250 showing would be in my area.
    First I have to tell you I was EXTREMELY suprised I could even get an actual human being and I was on a ringing phone for less than 3 minutes. WOW, I loved that!!! The damn guy was extremely courteous and actually seemed like he liked his job. Better than that he actually knew what he was talking about and was well versed with ALL of the "toys" and equipment Kawasaki sell (what a concept Polaris).
    I have to tell you, this phone call alone leaves me with a great feeling as far as spending money with Kawi.
    Can anybody tell me if this was a fluke or can I expect this kind of service even after I spend my bucks??


  2. #2
    tomgtv's Avatar
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    Japanese way of doing business

    I can tell you from personal experience having worked with the Japanese on both the distribution and manufacturing level in the electronics and paper businesses there is a real pride of producing the best product possible.

    One example, Lexus LS400, when this car came out in Feb of 1989 I had a factory in Torrance, CA a few miles from Toyota's HQ in US. I bought one of those cars and ran it 70K miles and only replaced a light bulb. The Japanese will introduce improvements to their running production lines when ever they experience a field problem. Very different from US mfg's who run a model with defects and correct in the next model cycle.

    I used to "convert paper", i.e. make all kinds of rolls out of big jumbo rolls. I bought paper from Canada, US and Japan. Never a problem with their product, in fact it help me land Target, Best Buys and Circuit City. One Japanese vendor bought a US paper mill in Mass. Kansaki Paper took this 80 year old facility and brought it up to world class standards. I visited it once and all the workers were sitting back watching TV and some computer screens. The plant was running so well this was the norm. My guide told me if you see any activity that it was cause for alarm! This coating facility ran 24/7.

    Honda was also near my factory in Torrance. At night after everyone left they turned off the lights. You could see weird blue, electric type of flashes coming from inside the darkened building. My curiosity got the better of me and I called them up to ask what was going on. Turns out it was the master parts distribution facility for the US and those lights were the robots running around picking the parts for next day's shipments, now that's efficiency!

    So after rambling on, any Japanese product will be made with the highest standards and backed by companies that really care about their reputation.
    Is it any wonder that Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are the best selling and most reliable cars money can buy??

  3. #3
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
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    A good (yet long) read on Kawasaki as a super-conglomerate corporation, and it's effects on American labor in Nebraska, and the foreign ownership of areas of the country. The temp labor part caught my eye.

    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?...articleId=5297

  4. #4
    tomgtv's Avatar
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    Good article and insightful on the challenge of integrating foreign owned
    and run companies in the US. Lots of points to debate........but the fact
    remains the product a Japanese company puts out is a good value even though how they arrive at that is open for debate.

    I just wish I had kept the new Nissan 280Z I bought in 1976 for $6700! That was my first Japanese product and it amazed me that it didn't need water pumps and transmissions replaced as I had experienced with my Olds 442 and Buick Gran Sports!

    I looked closely at the SeaDoo product, actually appears to be well constructed. But I did a little research on Rotax and realize it is a German derived company (even though in Austria) and that explains the design philosophy of the SC. Lots of performance, but they push the envelope too much on reliability. I drive BMW's, like their performance, but you repair stuff you shouldn't ever have to. I've put in 3 (out of 4) window regulators, rear bearing last week ($350), AC went out twice, etc. This is on a $50K BMW X5. I had lots of Z's, Lexus, Toyota........you never have those kind of issues. Now the Lamborghini Countach I had.........killer styling and performance.......short intervals between the time it was in for repair! Love that Italian design, engineering? Back to school boys!! FIAT? Fix It Again Tony!

  5. #5
    You guys have it good. I thought about calling Ford but I think they all got laid off.

  6. #6
    mxl16's Avatar
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    i saw the japanese comment and realized that something in my quality assurance class actually applies to real life. Japs have good customer service and quality becuase they take pride in thier workmanship(the big companies neway). unlike some canadian companies we all know of

    durign the 80s when the japs were kickin GM's ass in cars sales. they invited soem of the guys from toyota over. they wanted to know why they arent selling any cars. the toyota guys told the GM guys that all they did was read the quality book ford had made and implimented the policies and theories written in it. the GM guys were stunned. they had the policy just couldnt impliment it effectively. and thats the difference between US and Japanese companies. they know it costs 5 times more to get new customers than to keep existing ones. its just easier (and cheaper) to take care of existing customers, and new ones will soon hear the word of mouth...

    sorry for the blah blah blah stuff, it kinda makes me feel intelligent

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tomgtv View Post
    I can tell you from personal experience having worked with the Japanese on both the distribution and manufacturing level in the electronics and paper businesses there is a real pride of producing the best product possible.

    One example, Lexus LS400, when this car came out in Feb of 1989 I had a factory in Torrance, CA a few miles from Toyota's HQ in US. I bought one of those cars and ran it 70K miles and only replaced a light bulb. The Japanese will introduce improvements to their running production lines when ever they experience a field problem. Very different from US mfg's who run a model with defects and correct in the next model cycle.

    I used to "convert paper", i.e. make all kinds of rolls out of big jumbo rolls. I bought paper from Canada, US and Japan. Never a problem with their product, in fact it help me land Target, Best Buys and Circuit City. One Japanese vendor bought a US paper mill in Mass. Kansaki Paper took this 80 year old facility and brought it up to world class standards. I visited it once and all the workers were sitting back watching TV and some computer screens. The plant was running so well this was the norm. My guide told me if you see any activity that it was cause for alarm! This coating facility ran 24/7.

    Honda was also near my factory in Torrance. At night after everyone left they turned off the lights. You could see weird blue, electric type of flashes coming from inside the darkened building. My curiosity got the better of me and I called them up to ask what was going on. Turns out it was the master parts distribution facility for the US and those lights were the robots running around picking the parts for next day's shipments, now that's efficiency!

    So after rambling on, any Japanese product will be made with the highest standards and backed by companies that really care about their reputation.
    Is it any wonder that Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are the best selling and most reliable cars money can buy??
    While I agree the Camry and Accord are reliable cars I am not sure I agree with the whole premise of your argument. Companies like Honda and Toyota are so large that they are no longer Japanese companies but International Companies. Simply because the company was founded in Japan means nothing. Companies have to be judges on their own merrit. The majority of stockholders in toyota and Honda are americans and this is where the company does the majority of its business so really the company is only Japanese in name. A couple weekends ago I was at a local sports bar and was listening to two morons talk about how it was the end of the world because Toyta would be entering Nascar nextel Cup next year. They said that Nascar was an american sport and by letting toyota run it was promoting the loss of american jobs. The ironic thing about this is that of the cars that run in Nascar (Ford Fusion, Dodge Charger, Chevy Monte Carlo, Toyota Camry), the Toyota is the only one assembled here in the United States by american workers. The others are made in mexico or canada.

    My point is that the companies mentioned above are good because they have great management. It is a global economy and companies are no longer Japanese, German, or American. Companies need to be judged on their own merrit.

  8. #8
    tomgtv's Avatar
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    Good Points

    You made some good points. Its true, the Japanese, as others, are really global enterprises producing, sourcing and selling on a world basis.
    The key difference in the Japanese model is their management controls that they impliment everywhere. Most of their production is outside of Japan now, mainly China.
    I do notice some differences in real "Made in Japan" and "Made in Germany" products. Higher prices but better goods.

    I used to work with the Maquiladoras in Mexico. These US and other foreign companies operate in the border areas (Tijuana, Calexico, Juarez, etc) and produce products with less expensive labor for the US and other markets. You bring in raw materials, add Mexican labor and away you go. One day I got a sales lead in Tijuana a fax machine. I was the first company to sell fax machines into Mexico in 1985 and had a great success. I was told this was a Sony TV assembly facility. I get to the factory and "YNOS" is on the building. It was "Sony" spelled backwards!. They didn't want anyone to easily determine that all Sony big screen TV's were being made in Mexico instead of Japan. The TV's were great, high quality, made by Japanese trained and managed Mexican labor forces.

  9. #9
    Merit is biult from History.

    I think what they are saying is that Jap companies run differently. Global companies always follow biusness idiology founded from the root company. ie, Japs see nothing wrong with sweet shops and have no real concern for families of the workers. This lack of concern allows them to focas on a better consumer product reagardless who died to get it. History is what most are fearful of. American factory workers are what formed America. Unions are what protected them and now the general Nascar population fear the the worse.

    Change is always hard and us Americans are programmed that we are the best at everything. Well this global market is opening alot of eyes. No longer can a 45 yr beer drinking factory worker bring home 50k in checks and another 50 k in benefits. Global employment cast aside US values and focases on a leaner more effience workforce. ie sweet shops or computer workforce. So in conclusion, Anhieser Bush is not the future stock to buy.

    No one hates a company because it came from another country. They hate the loss of jobs and loss of benefits and the change in values it brings with it.

    That and we have become a new free for all. Most companies follow the cash. So if a foriegn company come over to manufacture a product to be sold here then why slaughter so many jobs.

    Thats like $hitting in lake you fish in.

    Thats just my simple view but I know nothing about biusness. My boss is a real @ss that never gives me a day off and pays like a pimp does.

  10. #10
    tomgtv's Avatar
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    Let's look at the Kawasaki Ultra 250 and think about it's economic impact on the US.

    MSRP $11,500, Invoice $9,989 Spread goes to American dealer $1511
    (except for those that Way2fast found for us!

    Motor - Japanese, they keep those margins. Hull, labor content, fluids, parts probably US. Don't they assemble/mfg these in Nebraska?? Maybe 30%/50% US content (with associated margins). Software and product design...probably US.

    Kawasaki US operations - Lots of payroll here for US workers. Whether they're good jobs or not can be debated. But certainly better than flipping hamburgers at McDonalds!

    Accessories - Probably US, covers, ski ropes, tubes, PWC wear. China mfg but US disribution and sales margins. Yeah, some labor at retail stores for US workers. Trailers all made in US, you don't ship that kind of good from overseas (maybe hubs/bearings).

    Fuel and Oil - Arabs, Nigerians, Venezuela, Britain, and some American production (TX, LA, Alaska). Maybe this item will be greater over life of ski than original cost. At least 50% of this stays in US.

    Taxes, Park use, concessions at lakes/oceans - Another big line item in total lifetime expenditure on the product. All revenues to US.

    Plus the US consumer has the intangible benefit of a lot of fun at a reasonable price. I look at this $10,000 dollar machine and think its a great value compared to a lot of other products.

    Now lets zoom out to orbit and take the world view. The US is running the largest spending and trade deficits in human history. We're spending a 100 billion a MONTH in Iraq. Who's financing this?? Foreign banks, foreign investors and foreign companies. We are at historical low interest rates.....what a deal! I had an Econ professor back in my MBA program who cut to the heart of this debate when he posed the question.."What's the impact on the consumer of these trade imbalances?" The foreigners have these pieces of paper with George Washington printed on them, and we have a vast array of excellent goods at great prices. And if there is ever a day of reckoning when they want their money back, we have the US Army (nicely equipped via the Federal Debt!) ready to tell them to get @#@#@#!

    Fun debate - wish we could do it over some cocktails! Maybe from the dock as we look out at those new gleaming Kawasaki's.........
    Last edited by tomgtv; 10-15-2006 at 08:19 AM.

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