NMMA to make certification mandatory for manufacturers

CHICAGO – The board of directors of the National Marine Manufacturers Association has decided to require that all NMMA member boat manufacturers have their boats NMMA Certified to American Boat & Yacht Council standards by model year 2007, according to an NMMA release this morning.

The NMMA Certification program will also require participants to have a Customer Satisfaction Index program instituted at their company in order to be certified. Both requirements take effect with the 2007 model year, NMMA said.

The delay in adoption will provide boat manufacturers more time to learn about the benefits of the NMMA Certification program, and will give NMMA time to launch a communications program to raise the level of awareness of NMMA Certified at the manufacturer and consumer level, the release said.

“We are confident that when boat manufacturers understand the significant benefits of being NMMA Certified, and the reasonable costs involved, they will be enthusiastic about getting their boats NMMA Certified to ABYC standards,” said NMMA president Thom Dammrich.

There are currently 140 boat manufacturers participating in the NMMA Certified program – representing 75 percent of all boats produced in the U.S. each year.

Benefits and goals
The goal of the NMMA board, the ABYC and the U.S. Coast Guard is that all boat manufacturers be NMMA certified. Among the benefits of the program is that NMMA Certified boats are safer than other boats.

“Data from the USCG indicates that non-certified boats are 15 times more likely to be recalled by the USCG for safety reasons than NMMA Certified boats, and statistically, certified boats are involved in fewer accidents,” said NMMA vice president of Engineering Standards Thomas Marhevko.

Aside from promoting safety and a quality customer experience, the NMMA Certified program provides its participants with a competitive advantage, protects them from litigation (in some cases), and helps many participants to receive product liability insurance discounts for their involvement, NMMA said.

“I found the entire process to be very inclusive and user friendly, and was surprised to find that indeed there were several things which through simple changes would yield a better boat,” said Scott Deal with Maverick Boats. “Having just been through it, I can honestly say that the process had value and improves the quality of the boat built.”

In addition to improving the quality of the boat, NMMA wants to improve the customer experience, which led to the NMMA board adopting the requirement for a CSI program to be instituted by each Certified boat manufacturer. While NMMA has a CSI program, the new mandate only requires Certified boat manufacturers to have a CSI program in place.

“A structured feedback system provides manufacturers with a consistent measure of quality and customer satisfaction, which will help the industry fulfill the needs of the consumers,” says NMMA CSI director Terry Leitz.

For more information, contact Marhevko at (312) 946-6213; tmarhevko@nmma.org.

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