Where is the refit sector going?
What can refit yards really do to become future-proof and stand out against their competitors?
Firstly, it's not always entirely apparent who is making the decision of where a yacht should go for a refit. Sometimes it's the senior crew who convinces the owner where the best place is to go, and other times it's purely down to the management company and owner's rep to decide what the most economical option is. In reality, outside of just doing a good job, there isn’t that much a refit yard can do to attract more yachts.
A lot of the time it is purely down to availability, price, and geography. Refit yards can market their green credentials until the cows come home but it's not going to get them any work if there is a cheaper shipyard nearby that will give a yacht the same value for money. That’s not to say that brand perception and PR isn’t important in the refit sector, it just means that sometimes you need to delve a little bit deeper into the mechanics of what drives people towards certain brands in order to make the necessary adjustments that will give you a fighting chance in such a tight and competitive landscape.
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In the last Refit Report, the main takeaway was the idea that every business at the top of the refit ladder has expressed a desire to evolve their models, educate and offer a more well-rounded lifecycle service proposition. But what the refit sector needs to do is come together to outline exactly what that means, and figure out the feasibility of expressed future endeavours.
I hate to use corporate buzzwords, but if companies in the refit sector want to become truly futureproof, then they will need to take a holistic approach to the refit and maintenance process. There has been some pragmatic discourse garnering traction among the new-build yards with regards to the concept of ‘lifecycle management’ and, more specifically, the idea of ‘building with refit in mind’. Moreover, considering the fact that refit yards are also moving towards a 360-degree life cycle support model, it's entirely possible that in a decade's time we will look back and wonder why on earth the industry's approach to refit and maintenance was so inefficient and costly.
If a refit yard wants to be future-proof, it needs to focus its efforts on taking preventative and predictive maintenance approaches rather than trying to correct major issues on ridiculously tight deadlines. This giant transition shouldn’t just be down to the efforts of a few private refit shipyards, it's up to the owners, crew, management companies, insurers, lawyers, new-build yards and a whole host of other sectors to make this change happen properly and collaboratively. If you would like to have your say on your preferred refit shipyard please feel free to take our survey here…
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