Brunswick recently announced the next generation of Sea Ray leadership when it appointed former Boston Whaler President Tim Schiek as the next president of the brand. With the new role, Schiek hopes to bring a new energy to Sea Ray and leverage his experience in high-end boat models.
With Brunswick for the past 18 years, Schiek led the high-end fiberglass fishing boat manufacturer for the past three years. It is that experience that he said will help him improve internal operations within the facility and externally in its relationships with dealers and suppliers.
“While at Boston Whaler we partnered closely with our dealers, many of which were also Sea Ray dealers. And we partnered with suppliers on the focus to improve the customer experience,” Schiek said. “Over the last couple of years there is no question that we were successful in doing that.”
Although in different segments, Schiek sees more similarities than differences between the two brands, as both serve high-end customers who expect a flawless on-water experience. In order to accomplish this, he said a close relationship between the manufacturer and the dealer is critical to ensure bottom-line success for all parties involved.
And Schiek said improving this relationship will be a focus at Sea Ray, which he said already has a reputation for working closely with its dealer foundation.
“Most dealers know that I promote working together to deliver the best business performance. At Sea Ray we will work closer with dealers around the world in all aspects of this,” he said.
The fiberglass market has lagged behind the aluminum-hull market so far in the industry’s recovery, but Schiek feels improved consumer confidence will be pivotal for the success of both going forward. Like most of the industry, Sea Ray is also working to make boating more affordable and create products that generate excitement, he said.
One of Sea Ray’s more recent products to accomplish that were its outboard-powered models: the 220 and 240 Sundeck. Although Schiek declined to elaborate on the future release of similar models, he did say it is a market the boat builder is watching closely.
“What we will do is continue to watch this segment closely. We will certainly introduce more boats as we see opportunities to do so,” he said.
Recently, Brunswick has announced plant closures in its efforts to have market demand better match up with the company’s capacity. These measures, like the recent closing of its Sykes Creek facility in Merritt Island, Fla., has helped the company become more appropriately sized for medium-term growth, according to Schiek.
Currently, he said Sea Ray’s global manufacturing footprint could satisfy up to 2.5 times its current demand. Going forward, Sea Ray’s goal is to put all that capacity to good use.
“We have plenty of room to grow, and we look forward to filling up our plants. We feel good. We are going to get after it to fill those plants up,” Schiek said.