Collective power

More than ever, the builders within each of the groups are sharing knowledge with each other – especially when it comes to new technology and manufacturing techniques. In addition, the buying groups actively encourage their members to form close relationships with their suppliers.
The American Boatbuilders Association, for example, is pursuing two initiatives – one on the technology front and one that involves closer bonds with suppliers. The technology initiative involves exploring process improvement, closed molding, industrial engineering and the use of new materials in hopes of becoming more productive and efficient.
The Independent Boat Builders Inc. also has been active on the technology front. It responded to a need among its members to learn more about closed molding by holding a seminar for them in which attendees traveled to the manufacturing facility of a member currently using the technology.
Through its second initiative, ABA members are working with suppliers to go beyond reducing the cost of the product to improve product quality, reduce transaction costs and become more efficient in the supply chain. Patton says this is intended to help reduce warranty expenses and may involve the adoption of an electronic ordering system.
The United Marine Manufacturers Association also has been working more closely with its suppliers and, in fact, formed a sister group – United Marine Suppliers Association (UMSA) – in 1998 that currently has more than 130 members. -- Liz Walz

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