IBBI expands in new direction

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Buying group Independent Boat Builders, Inc. (IBBI) is expanding its role by going beyond purchasing agreements with its members to sharing "trade secret" production techniques and engineering expertise, the group reported in a statement today.

The new direction was officially kicked off during IBBI’s 14th annual shareholder meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. on October 15. The shareholder meeting was held in conjunction with several plant tours of nearby members’ facilities, according to IBBI.

The format of this event allowed shareholders to tour other members’ facilities and share boat building techniques. Most shareholders were accompanied by their engineering personnel as well. This format gave the IBBI members the opportunity to see four boat building operations, all in one day.

"This was by far our most productive meeting to date. I think every member went away saying they could incorporate several things they learned throughout the day into their production processes back home," said IBBI President Tom Broy.

Highlights of the day were vacuum infused boats at Malibu Boats, the newly acquired 160,000-sq.-ft. facility of Skier’s Choice and hand laid wood free boats at Bryant Boats. The group also toured Yamaha’s jet boat plant.

The event, called the IBBI Summit, exemplifies the new direction the group plans on embarking, according to the group. IBBI currently has purchasing agreements for most major items it takes to build a boat. The next logical step is the sharing of "trade secret" production techniques and engineering expertise, according to IBBI.

"The success of this first-ever event will help us head that direction," said Broy.

Best year in IBBI history

During the shareholder meeting, Broy reported that model year 2003 was the best year ever in the organization’s 14-year history. He also reported that member purchases through the group-sponsored contracts were up over $60 million over last year and that the first quarter of 2004 indicates continued growth for the group.

In other news, Scott Deal of Maverick Boats was elected chairman of the IBBI Board of Directors. He fills the seat of retiring chairman, Russ Lowe of Caravelle Marine.

Broy also reported that the group experienced great success and growth while Lowe was Chairman and is excited to continue under Deal’s direction.

Other board members include: Scotty Harrell of Albemarle Boats, Joe Bryant of Bryant Boats, Jim Viestenz of Cruisers Yachts, John Sisson of Malibu Boats, and Rick Tinker of Skier’s Choice.

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