Spectator — March 2002
By Tom Fexas
|Selecting a custom boat/yacht builder, part II.|
Last month I explored 12 signs that your custom builder may be heading into trouble. This month, I look at 26 more.
1. The builder's boat show booth only displays sleek artist's renderings and models with no pictures of real boats. Quite often, believe it or not, this is because it has never built a real boat--at least nothing of the size it is aspiring to.
2. Management has hired efficiency experts to improve productivity. This may work fine in a widget factory, but it just doesn't apply to boatbuilding. Artists won't stand for an efficiency dork (who doesn't know a rabbit in a plank from Bugs Bunny) telling them how long it should take to craft a cabinet.
3. Your Italian boatbuilder suddenly doesn't speak English.
4. Your American boatbuilder suddenly only speaks Italian.
5. Pencil-necked, geek accountants make major design decisions. Everybody needs accountants, but full-time "bean counters" at custom boat shops don't cut it (see no. 2 above).
6. Nobody likes the general manager, including the outside contractors, the employees, the clients, and even the yard dog. When the employees give a name like "rat face" to their boss, expect trouble.
7. Yard employees have challenged the general manager to step outside for fisticuffs.
8. Attempts have been made on the life of the yard's general manager. Toolboxes "accidentally" drop from scaffolding as the manager walks by or his Coke is laced with antifreeze.
9. The facility has too many damned computers and not enough hammers. Sometimes builders forget that it's hammers, not PCs, that build boats.
10. The boatyard owner keeps telling you how much money he has. Beware! Guys who constantly talk about how much of anything they have usually don't.
11. Friday-afternoon beer parties at the shop become history. A yard needs employees full of enthusiasm and esprit de corps. Those who party together build great boats together. Robotlike employees with no energy, enthusiasm, or sense of humor do not a happy shop make.
12. Whenever you call the yard, everybody is in a meeting. Excessive meetings in any business are a sure sign of decay. The purpose of most meetings is to bolster the boss's ego. The fewer damned meetings, the better.
13. The facility is too upscale to have a mangey yard dog roaming around.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.