In the latest instalment of The Superyacht Group’s Digital Dialogues, William Mathieson speaks with Terry Allen, owner’s representative, consultant and project manager, about whether or not the industry is too obsessed with bells and whistles to the detriment of a truly quality product.
Allen is a passionate, marine engineer who has worked across a spectrum of marine vessels including factory fishing vessels, deep-sea trawlers, cargo vessels, passenger ships, ferries, superyachts, alongside establishing a successful marine engineering company, Leviathan Marine, which has equipped him with insight into what is required to make a business commercially successful. As such, Allen brings a wealth of experience to the industry in his roles as owner’s representative, consultant and project manager. As well as his active experience with the superyacht market, Allen has often been a frequent commentator on the many nuances of, and challenges faced by, the superyacht market, especially where it concerns the build and delivery of projects.
“What is the difference between quality and finish?” starts Allen. “There seems to be an attitude in the superyacht industry that, at the end, on delivery day, all will be bright and shiny. The owner doesn’t see what is below the deck or what’s behind the walls. This is where issues of quality occur. The quality of the build should be complementary to the finish and we should never have to compromise.”
Allen’s point is this: just because something looks right when finished, does not necessarily mean that it is right. A classic superyachting example can frequently found with paint. Upon completion of a project the paintwork may look fantastic, however, as the project ages, all the underlying problems come to light. The same can be said of some projects' engineering work.
“Sometimes when you survey a superyacht, the pipework looks more like a game of rugby than anything else. The pipework ends up everywhere because there is not enough coordination at the beginning of the project,” continues Allen. “This happens globally within this industry because we are a ‘now’ market. The time constraints created by owner expectation often result in compromise and it is the planning stage that frequently suffers. There is not, unfortunately, enough forethought.”
Perhaps more concerning is the impact that a lack of planning can have on the cost-efficiency of a project and, indeed, the financial health of shipyards. Allen believes that poor planning and management is, invariably, the most common reason that superyacht shipyards collapse and, to be fair to Allen, the superyacht industry’s history is riddled with such examples.
To find out how Allen believes the market can rectify these issues, as well as to discover more about pricing, error mitigation, project management and superyacht design, view the full interview here.
The One to One series is a collective campaign for change and industry improvement, and we welcome participants from all sectors. If you would like to take part or contribute your thoughts, please contact Eleanor Shepherd.
You can view the ever-growing archive of Digital Dialogues here.
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