Process is as important to building boats as winning football championships

Posted On January 15, 2019

To excel in the world of college football, Alabama coach Nick Saban is famous for focusing on what he calls “the process.” He doesn’t worry over the end result as much as he does about completing the steps he knows it will take for his team to get there.

That emphasis on process is also important in the manufacturing world. Our guests in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” Joan and Owen Maxwell of Regulator Marine, tell us that what’s good for winning national championships is also good for building quality boats.

“Everything we do is a process, and each step builds on the step before,” says Joan, president of the Edenton, North Carolina-based company, a premier manufacturer of center-console fishing boats. “We try to make sure people understand it isn’t an individual quality standard; it’s a Regulator quality standard. We have standard operating procedures we use to ensure we’re building the quality into each boat that we build.

“That’s not very sexy, unless you love manufacturing like we do. But that really is the backbone to getting it right for our customers going out the door.”

The other key factor is understanding what customers want. And Joan’s husband Owen, Regulator’s VP of Product Development, says the answer is simple: They want it all.

“The days of building the stripped-down boat with the single outboard that runs 40 miles an hour are behind us,” Owen says. “Our customers want features, they want seating, they want cup-holders. They want to take the family with them.”

In fact, the decision-making process in purchasing a boat, and deciding which one to buy, is often made by entire families these days, and not just by a husband looking to get away on weekends to fish. At least that’s what Forrest Long of Bluewater Yacht Sales in Mobile and Orange Beach, who also joins us in this episode, is seeing.

Another challenge in selling boats is that they’re lasting longer, and boaters are keeping them longer. That puts the onus on manufacturers like Regulator to come up with new accessories and upgrades to make it worth a customer’s while to buy a new one.

“If we’re building the same boat we were building five years ago, gee, I don’t really see any need to buy a new boat,” Owen says. “So we’re constantly upgrading, constantly changing things to keep the customers engaged.”

Join us to hear what some of those upgrades and accessories are, how the internet has affected the sales process, the importance of building a relationship with the customer, why it’s important to give back to the community, and why Regulator includes a video with every delivered boat.

Then get out on the water!

Categories: Product Design, What's Working with Cam Marston, Workplace