Brunswick investing in marinas’ and dealerships’ future

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – During the keynote presentation at the National Marina & Boatyard Conference and Exposition yesterday, Brunswick Corp. Chairman and CEO George Buckley acknowledged several problems in the industry, including shrinking water access, OEM-dealer relationships “ripe with friction” and poor treatment of customers “in trouble with our boats.”

“We are chasing as many people away from boating as we are attracting to boating,” he said.

Brunswick plans to help secure water access by investing in marinas, said Buckley. However, that doesn’t mean that the company will get involved in marina management, he explained.

In addition, the company will “bring financial opportunity and security to our dealers through better and more balanced partnerships,” he said. This will come in the form of new multiyear dealer agreements, end-to-end warranties, buyout provisions and protected territories, he suggested.

However, Buckley also said Brunswick has recognized that exclusive dealers are more successful. This exclusivity may be part of what Brunswick asks from its dealers in return.

A third focus for Brunswick is improving product quality “dramatically” while producing products on which Brunswick and its dealers can make healthy margins, according to Buckley.

While all of this comes at a cost, he explained that Brunswick is simultaneously working to increase efficiency and eliminate waste through such programs as Lean Six Sigma.

– Liz Walz

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