Air, land and sea
What can the superyacht industry learn from more mature markets?
The superyacht industry is both highly technical and relatively immature and yet there are analogies to be drawn and lessons to be learned from the commercial aviation, shipping and land transportation sectors. Representatives from RINA, MTU Rolls-Royce, AkzoNobel and Loistro Pro joined Martin Redmayne to educate delegates on these markets.
It is always important to note there are significant factors that differentiate superyachting from any markets, mature or otherwise, that one hopes to draw comparisons with. For a start, superyachting is primarily concerned with leisure whereas the other businesses are commercial. Secondly, the levels of association, international influence and financial clout are incomparable. Nevertheless, considering processes, both material and non-physical, that have aided these more mature markets can only be of benefit.
Dr Daniel Chatterjee of MTU Rolls-Royce impressed upon the delegation the need to associate more effectively in order to create a more unified voice and affect the type of industry-wide change that stands to benefit all. In fact, much of Chatterjee’s analysis focussed on the need for greater unified development, while also impressing upon the need to create effective business cases in order to drive genuine change. Regulation, he explained, is also a primary driver, however, that does not mean industries should be reactive. Working more closely together enables individual businesses to have influence on how regulations are formed.
Niilo Hautala of Loisto Pro spoke eloquently about the need to create efficiencies within the build process. While being considerate of the fact that superyachts are more unique than their commercial cousins, he alluded to the fact that this should not stop the market from searching for efficiencies in the build process, using platform and stock processes where available. Even commercial vessels, he explained, are not copy and pasted exactly, but a great deal of effort is placed on efficiency across the board, especially where change orders and labour costs are concerned. “Freeze the design” at the earliest convenience he implored.
For René Bremer of AkzoNobel, the greatest lesson that the superyacht industry can learn from other markets is their absolute commitment to safety. Elsewhere he educated the delegation on the differing approach to quality control standards between superyachting, aviation and aerospace, with the latter two industries far outstripping anything achieved in yachting, as well as discussing some of the ways that the application sector to adapt its products and application techniques.
Finally, Pino Spadofora from RINA discussed the need for operational optimisation through greater digitisation and communication. With sustainability arguably the market’s greatest challenge, Spadofora encouraged the market to look beyond propulsion systems, while noting they are of the greatest importance, and discussed the ways to analyse and improve operational efficiency and, thus, improve the overall footprint of superyachts.
While the challenges outlined by the speakers may seem daunting, perhaps the greatest take away was what can be achieved through cooperation and association.
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