Page 22: of Marine News Magazine (September 2021)
Shipbuilding & Repair
The Case for Stock Boats
By Chris Allard, CEO, Metal Shark
Could you imagine designing your own car or truck or airplane, and then trying Trucks, aircraft and heavy equipment are bought largely to build it? Unless you’re Elon Musk, you most likely couldn’t. “right off the lot”, with little lead time, low risk and im-
Today’s consumers don’t want to solve their own problems, mediate return on capital. So why not boats?
they want turnkey solutions, and they want them now. In Collectively as an industry we have been unable to build what industry—other than maritime—do you see customers fully developed products, ready to serve our customers’ designing their own products, putting them out for bid, and needs and kept in stock for prompt delivery. It’s not our then dealing with time and cost overruns? Yet, in the mari- customers’ fault. It’s not solely the fault of the public bid. time world most acquisitions are long, drawn-out processes, Much of the fault is ours, and as a result, shipbuilding often a frustrating exercise in speci? cation development: de- remains a cottage industry where small, undercapitalized sign the vessel, bid the design, redesign, build, make more players have no choice but to continue the cycle. changes while building, and then . . . wait. And so, the indus- Along with other builders, Metal Shark shares this re- try and our customers remain caught in this never-ending sponsibility. Instead of building product to suit, we should cycle. There are few other businesses where such a practice be building product that suits. Suits their mission, their would be acceptable, yet it’s the norm the maritime world. need and their job. As individual builders and as an indus-
Yes, the nature of the public bid process is partially to try, we can do better. How do we do this? By researching blame, but that’s only one driver. After all, it’s common to and knowing our potential customers’ needs before they see governments buying proven solutions in other sectors. ever give us an order.
Driven by this belief, four years ago Metal Shark launched its Stock Boats program and began marketing and executing a different strategy. This program was equal part reality and creativity. We started to build core mod- els into our inventory, whether in the form of completed boats, partially completed hulls, or advance-building units on our most active production lines. As we implemented the system, we became more creative and ? exible. We be- gan to say “yes” more often, providing clients with turnkey solutions in 90 days or less.
It worked. We allocated a 38-foot U.S. Coast Guard production slot to a pilot group in order to answer their immediate security need. We took the client from order to on-water in 60 days, added the original USCG order back into the schedule, and delivered it on time. Within 90 days of another order, we did the same thing with two 45-foot
Metal Shark 22 | MN September 2021