By now some end users and industry insiders have likely heard the news that Hamada of Japan will be closing their North American branch office, Hamada of America, effective March 31st, 2009. Hamada of Japan will be taking over much of the workload handled by the American branch. This bump in the road is likely to present some new challenges for people working to support the product line. With parts now coming directly from Hamada of Japan and manufacturer tech support no longer coming from California, Hamada end users are likely to be concerned by the news.
There is now a safety net for end users. American equipment dealers have pooled their resources and are now networking our entire parts inventory on a national level. This will cut down on lead times for part orders which now come direct from Japan.
We, here at Mid-State Litho have invested in an inventory management system that our dealer partners across the country can log into and share inventory. This will increase the availability of both common and uncommon parts already available within the US. It will also make it quick and easy to determine whether or not a part is available since the inventory system shows up-to-date quantities from each participant through an on-line database.
There will be a time of transition as national dealers begin to beef up inventory levels to compensate for the dismantled warehouse in California. We believe this will be a temporary period and that all Hamada equipment will retain its value due to this safety net of participating dealers throughout North America and their continuing support of the product line and user base.
There are also some challenges on the technical end due to the closure of the American branch. National tech support will now come from the dealer network as a result of partnerships from numerous support companies. In process is a development of an on-line data base for dealers to access technical bulletins, technical support, and service questions.
In summary, we’re certainly not happy to hear the news about a part of our industry having to make such difficult decisions during these uncertain economic times. Fortunately the equipment in the field will remain supported and the end users who use the equipment will still have people to turn to when they are in need. We hope this news is not entirely negative for you and that you can see that we have already put a backup plan into action in order to reduce the impact. In short, we expect the Hamada Dealer Network to continue to work together towards their common goal of continuing to provide customers with technical support, parts and new equipment.