Technology will transform the business, not just the boats

Andy Adams

Aug 15, 2022

Last week in the Editor’s Message I wrote about “Techs of the future…” and the idea that exciting new technologies could attract more young people into the marine industry.

I also wrote about my trip to a special Brunswick media event on August 9th, in New York city. It turned out to be a great event with several new product introductions and along with fellow marine journalist, Craig Ritchie, I got to start the day with almost an hour in private with Brunswick Corporation’s CEO David Foulkes. The discussion was wide-ranging and very informative. There is a lot of positive momentum at Brunswick, especially around advances in technology. 

Brunswick recently announced record-breaking financial data for their second quarter this year and the broad strokes are that the company had their biggest quarter ever with $1.8 billion in sales, over $300 million in profit and significantly, that the results came from all areas of the business.

Their announcement last week about the newly re-branded Navico Group embracing and expanding on the many important brands that have been under the Brunswick Advanced Systems Group banner, represents an important strategic move. Brunswick’s Advanced Systems Group has enjoyed rapid growth, mainly through acquisition, leading to increasingly complete integrated systems offerings. We asked how the dealers were responding to these very rapid advances as they head toward new end-to-end systems solutions and capabilities.

David Foulkes explained that, “…we take great care to maintain and foster those dealer relationships; make sure that they are “win-win” relationships all the time; that there are new revenue opportunities through technology for everybody.”

He went on to talk about the wide-spread shortage of skilled technicians noting that this is not unique to our industry. He described the benefits of telematics like their VesselView Mobile system which is one of the, “…ways in which we can facilitate the introduction of technology; the maintenance type of technology, in a way that doesn’t necessarily always require the use of a highly skilled technician.” He went on to note that, “Fixing an issue on a on a boat almost always requires a visit to the dealer, or for a dealer technician to visit the boats, but we can make that technician much more productive. They know exactly what’s wrong; they can even have the right part with them if it’s a part failure, they can have the right software update available; we can use over the air updates or remote diagnostics to make the whole system more efficient.”

One more idea that he stresses is that, “In the end, I think it’s very important for most customers to have a service partner. Having the dealer is a key part of the process and certainly, most dealers would prefer to sell and service the product.”
The business is evolving and advancing quickly but the focus remains on enhancing the customer experience and we think that bright young people will be attracted by this.

Andy Adams – Editor

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