Boating Industry

October 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 67

October 2016 | Boating Industry | 31 [ 2016 Movers & Shakers / BOLD MOVES ] why not other places, such as Asia?" Still, that lack of knowledge about the sport can be a challenge. "I think the theme that water sports is quite new relative to the U.S. is pretty consistent," he said. "Therefore it's going to take time and a bit of patience. And it's not a sure thing. Also, we have some good competition so we have to work hard." To generate interest in the sport, Malibu has focused on producing events throughout the re- gion, such as the Malibu Tokyo Pro in Japan and Malibu Seoul Pro in South Korea. Those two countries have so far been the strongest markets for Malibu. "By bringing some of the best wakeboarders in the world to these locations, this obviously creates some visibility," Hashim said. "This pro- vides some exposure not only for Malibu, but water sports in general, which helps with intro- ducing to people. Otherwise we like Southeast Asia, because of the good climate, tourism, etc." From a product standpoint, thus far consum- ers there seem to be choosing similar products to those that are popular in the U.S. market, but it's probably too early to say what the trends will be. "I think due to the early stage, it's going to take some time for the product mix to truly de- fine itself," Hashim said. "It's case by case at the moment. Malibu has an excellent, wide ranging product mix offering, which I think is helpful and offers some flexibility." So far, the early results have been encourag- ing, as demonstrated by the large market share gains and sales growth. "Until about two years ago we hadn't really had a presence in Asia," Hashim said. "By get- ting some boats out there and allowing people to get in the boats, they can see for themselves and make the right choice." STREAMLINING SERVICE KEVIN HUTCHINSON FOUNDER/CEO, MYTASKIT WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. The service department is the bread and butter of boating. It's a chance to touch customers on a regular basis, and a recurring source of income when sales dry up. Plus, without a good service experience, boaters leave the pastime and never come back. Despite that, it is still a relatively low-tech operation for many companies. MyTaskit's goal is to change that by introducing technology and reducing paperwork in the service pipeline. With all the communication within com- panies and with subcontractors, there are a lot of inefficiencies that can be addressed and im- proved upon, said Kevin Hutchinson, MyTaskit founder and CEO. "There's a ton of paperwork, radio calls, text messaging, emails – all that stuff that goes back and forth [as they] try to coordinate their priorities, the work they should be doing, what boats they should be working on," he said. "We have all that stuff going back and forth, none of it coordinated." The company had started with The Boat Vil- lage, essentially a social media network that was consumer-focused, and coordinating communica- tion between consumers and service operations. What Hutchinson and his team learned is that there was a bigger need in the industry to focus on internal communication first. "The businesses wanted to start with their own enterprise because the need was greater there," Hutchinson said. "It was really the in- dustry that pushed us to first coordinate better service internally and coordinate better service with subcontractors." The 2014 acquisition of Dockmaster cleared the way for the rebranding of the business as MyTaskit in 2015, launching the company on a growth trajectory. The coordination module of MyTaskit has grown its service pro user base by more than 500 percent this year and the number of registered boat owners has more than doubled. "Anyone who's a task-oriented business needs this platform," Hutchinson said. "We just have to follow the market. Once we turned our attention to that we really saw a dramatic growth in our user base." CENTURY COMEBACK BRYAN LUCIUS PRESIDENT, CENTURY BOATS ZEPHYRHILLS, FLA. Relaunching a shut- tered boat brand may not have seemed like the best decision in 2011. The recession had left the industry battered, with manu- facturers, dealers and suppliers disappearing at an unprecedented rate. But that was exactly what Bryan Lucius and his family decided to do, purchasing Century Boats from Yamaha Marine, which had shut down production in December 2009. "At that time, it wasn't this slam-dunk deci- sion," said Lucius, now the company president. "There was certainly a lot of soul searching and debating on do we do it, do we not do it. Market conditions certainly weren't telling you to do it. It just felt like Century had such a powerful brand and name … that it kept drawing all of us to it." Now, in 2016, the company is celebrating its 90th anniversary and recently announced its first expansion to the model line, the 24 Resorter. The new dual-console Resorter brings back a hallowed name from Century's past. Lucius had been building skiffs and bay boats since 2004 under the All Craft Marine name. The company had been packaging with Yamaha and those relationships helped smooth the acquisition. The heritage of the brand and owner loyalty made the brand an attractive target. "It wasn't as though Century went bankrupt. It was just a strategic shutdown," Lucius said. "There was no ill toward the brand. It was more of a mourning that it wasn't around." After moving 66 trailer loads of molds and equipment from Panama City to the Zephyrhills facility, the biggest challenge has been rebuilding the dealer network and showing that Century could maintain the quality for which the brand was known. Century's production peaked at more than 1,000 boats a year in the mid-2000s. Current production is about 12 boats a month. Lucius said they company will continue to grow, but the management team doesn't plan to reach the levels of the Yamaha era. 9,000+ BOAT OWNERS REGISTERED FOR MYTASKIT

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Boating Industry - October 2016