Ocean House Marina: Blending best practices, staff, and facility improvements for success

From changes inside and out, to the introduction of new systems and much more, 2016 was a year for growth and accomplishments at Rhode Island’s Ocean House Marina. 

All of this and more helped make 2016 Ocean House Marina’s best year since 2007, and earned them a spot on the 2017 Boating Industry Top 100.

Ocean House Marina’s President Rob Lyons said that making this year’s Top 100 was the culmination of getting best practices, standard operating procedures, and the right staff all together as one.

“Being able to get there was kind of a big landmark for us after being in business for 35 years,” Lyons said.

Ocean House Marina spreads over two Charlestown, Rhode Island locations along the state’s busy Route 1 highway, conveniently located about 2.5 miles apart. 

Their main waterfront location features 85 slips including a gas dock, 5,000 square feet of shop and office space, a boat launch, marina store, parts and service departments, sales and administrative offices, and waterfront apartments, all on 2.3 acres of land.

Ocean House’s main property features 85 boat siips, 5,000 square feet of shop and office space, and more across 2.3 acres of land.

The marina’s main location is also home to the original Ocean House, which was established in 1848 and the Ocean House Regatta.

Ocean House’s second location – known as “Yard 2” – features a 6,000 square foot state-of-the-art full service facility, which serves as the marina’s main rigging location, and also offers three acres for storage. 

“Our second service facility was designed to streamline the service process and create a platform for keeping up with higher volume requests and larger boats,” said Ocean House Marina’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator Allison Souza. “Over the years, we had grown beyond our main location and need more space to keep up with demand and growth in the market.

Creating an environment for the customers that all of the Ocean House team can be proud of was at the forefront of the marina’s 2016 strategy.

“Maintaining a pristine appearance is high priority,” Souza said. “Our yards are always neatly organized and our buildings are well kept. First impressions count, therefore we want to be sure that we are making a lasting one.”

Some of the marina’s 2016 facility improvement projects included a new roof, remodeled store area, creating new adjacent sales offices, additional outdoor lighting and updated fixtures, and cosmetic upgrades to the marina bathrooms.

Ocean House also began planning for renovations to the marina’s parts and service area, including new counter space and layout, radiant heat to the shop area, and a new front door entry.

“We realize the significance and impact of such investments,” Souza said. “Not only do such improvements increase value for our customers, but these kinds of enhancements also maximize morale and create most effective work spaces with consideration to our dedicated team of employees.”

Aside from facility improvements, Ocean House Marina also implemented new systems and strategies internally to aid in their successful year. 

One of the biggest changes Ocean House made in systems in 2016 was transitioning to the use of CDK Global’s LightSpeed EVO for marina and dealership management.

“Our goal with a new software system was to streamline and cut out unnecessary steps within our dealership processes, whether sales, service, or office-related tasks.” Souza said. “The decision was well thought out and carefully considered over a period of a few months.”

Despite some short-term and expected “growing pains,” Souza explained that Ocean House will be examining long-term and positive effects of implementing the new system.

Along with the new management system, Ocean House Marina created their own internal management system called “The Compass.” 

Souza said the Compass is a living weekly summary report that is distributed to all members of the Sales Department to aid in keeping the sales team on track.

“The Compass is something that we refer to on a regular basis,” Souza said. “It is a quick way to find a prospect from the week before, or to determine outstanding follow-up tasks.” 

Souza said Ocean House refers to the document during weekly operations meetings and occasional sales department meetings.

All of the facility improvements, new systems and more helped Ocean House Marina gain a 33 percent increase in revenue in 2016 from 2015.

“Our service, attention to our customers, repeat customers, and building up our clientele has kept us around for 35 years,” Lyons said. “We sell a boat and hopefully have a customer for life.”   


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