Page 23: of Marine News Magazine (September 2021)
Shipbuilding & Repair
river service boats delivered to Belle Chasse Marine. These were not small outboard powered boats, but fully-featured inboard diesel waterjet platforms. We even delivered an unmanned 29-foot De? ant to the USCG within 90 days of order. Think about that: an autonomous USV delivered to the USCG within 90 days!
Thanks to our Stock Boats program we have delivered dozens of other small patrol-style boats to overseas clients, commercial operators or domestic ? rst-responders. Some- times, as expected, the urgency was driven by expiring money or some unforeseen need. What we didn’t expect was clients who approach us with no apparent pressing need; clients who just want the ease, the low risk, and even the immediate grati? cation of buying something ready.
Ready for whatever they need to do. Now.
The stock boat program has not yet revolutionized our business. Very large and extremely complex vessels by their nature may not readily lend themselves to this approach.
The majority of our boats still remain custom ordered, de- signed and built. Yet, we have seen the success of this pro- gram, we believe in it, and we know it’s the way of the fu- ture. The reason we’re so committed to this approach isn’t simply because it has helped us sell additional boats. We believe in it due to an unintended but profound result that we have encountered along the way: immediate customer satisfaction. Products are delivered faster, contracting and payment processes are reduced, and most importantly, the products do the jobs for which they were intended. In to- day’s world, purchasers of all types are most satis? ed if they get what they want and don’t have to wait for it.
And so, we continue to invest in modular design and the standardization of our product offerings, to reduce lead times, to design additional ? exibility into standardized platforms, and to further build our Stock Boats program.
We believe further investment is needed to bring standard- ized, stock offerings into other markets. Passenger vessels.
Offshore patrol craft. Unmanned platforms. We believe the world is ready.
In order for American manufacturers to remain com- petitive, more volume is required. We are unable to com- pete on the world market without technology and a con- sistent, repeatable high rate of production. Our labor rates are (thankfully) too high, which means Americans make a good living doing what we do. To continue to compensate our people while competing with the rest of the world, we need a merciless focus on technology, automation and rep- etition. It is not our clients’ responsibility to get us there; we as an industry need to do it ourselves. We believe that reducing lead times and truly making boat and small ship buying an off-the-shelf experience is key to this vision.