Boating Industry

July 2016

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July 2016 | Boating Industry | 23 As the market becomes increasingly aggressive in segments of the boating industry, manufacturers have to work harder to get product to consumers. Premier is currently working on 2018 models and model components. Some projects, like the Encounter, take longer to develop, but most projects are completed in 12 to 18 months. "We're working ahead. We'd like to have two years, but we don't have that luxury," said Grovender. "You have to be able to go quicker than that." Some manufacturers have responded to this quick turnaround time by investing in technology. Rec Boat Holdings introduced a computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) system for designing its boats. "We have a software or a series of software that give us an opportunity to create a complete boat, import virtual engines [and] virtual windshields, add all the equipment," said Lavigne, "on CADD, and when everything is perfect, we can cut our toolings using large robotics systems." A computerized numerical control (CNC) machine cuts the CADD drawings into real-size, real-scale tooling, which allows manufacturers to be more efficient and deliver product quickly. "These machines have cut the time of development by 50 percent, so we have really improved over the last 20 years the speed of development. It's a huge difference between the mid-90s and today," said Lavigne. "I can design today, from scratch, two prototypes of a new boat, a small one [of] about 20 feet in about six to eight months from nothing to production start, which is fairly efficient if you compare to many other industries. We expect to design a boat in that time frame." What may be surprising is that a complex, feature-rich model doesn't necessarily take longer to complete, at least that is the case with Bryant Boats and HeyDay Inboards. Both brands take a year and a half to validate, source, engineer and deliver to the consumer, despite the fact that HeyDay is a "simpler" entry-level product. "It's funny because the HeyDay is almost as complex or more complex [to build] than the Bryants because not only are we thinking about making this boat cool, functional and have everything, but we want to make it simple. So it really takes time," said Ben Dorton, president of HeyDay Inboards. Certainly, for a manufacturer taking on an entirely new project, the development time will take longer. Such was the case for Cobalt with the Marker One. The company ran no fewer than 100-150 sea trials to fine- tune the different aspects of how the boat would run. "[The research] was worth it to us because with all of the other benefits in how quiet it would run and the styling and everything," said Callan. "That required us to take it to another level compared to pontoons that are out there today, largely because of the weight and what we expected of ourselves around hole shots, turning, safety and top-end speed, all those things that matter and excite our customers." CONCEPTION TO CUSTOMER

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