Difficult decisions

Andy Adams

Sept 7, 2021

With the passing of Labour Day, high season summer 2021 has come to an end. For the moment luckily, the good weather seems to be holding and the many families who have recently invested in summer properties, boats and other purchases so they can vacation at home, are still enjoying their new lifestyles.

So much so, that boat builders and dealers continue to be sold-out. We are hearing reports that some larger boat buyers are now bracing themselves for 2023 delivery, some engines and replacement parts are in short supply and the normal functioning of the market continues to be disrupted. Supply chain problems persist, logistics issues slow down the process and one of the biggest challenges is labour. 

At least one boat builder I know is aggressively trying to recruit employees using a generous signing bonus to attract applicants, providing training, benefits and upping their wage offers. They remain short of labour with a bulging order book. There will be difficult decisions to be made on the personnel side because compensation commitments now, in today’s sold-out environment, may be hard to live with two or three years from now.

The same challenges have to be considered in marketing. With so many inventory challenges, companies are struggling to decide on major marketing commitments like exhibiting at boat shows. You need product to show, but you are showing it to sell it, you are sold out and you can’t get more. Businesses need to decide how important it is to maintain their presence and to build their brand. The decision to spend on that is difficult to make when you have limited or even no inventory to sell.  

Maintaining your brand is critical and with our booming industry right now, investors have injected a lot of liquidity, so you urgently need to defend your market against aggressive competitors looking to expand into this hot market. Difficult decisions indeed!

Let’s hope that your business has enjoyed a strong summer in 2021 and that you are well-positioned for 2022 but plan to be vigilant in defending your market share in the coming months.

Andy Adams – Editor

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