It’s a catch-22. It takes innovation to turn recessions around, innovation takes an investment in resources, resources depend on sales, and recessions flatten sales.
To help its partners break out of that spiral, Volvo Penta plans to roll out a new program in early March offering boat builder customers technical assistance via its Boat Engine Integration Center and financing support through one of its global subsidiaries. (For more about Volvo Penta’s BEIC, please see “Sporting Integration” in our Oct. 2008 issue or at www.boatingindustry.com).
“This is a good example of one of the reasons Volvo has been around 100 years — we are very adaptive,” says Clint Moore, Volvo Penta president and CEO.
The engine builders’ new strategy for BEIC represents one way it has adapted to economic conditions, he suggests.
“In a strong market, we were primarily focused on getting new boats into the market place,” says Moore. “Now we are using BEIC to help our boat builder customers — who have, to varying extents, been weakened by the decline of sales — to continue their development and introduction of new products.”
The shift in perspective is tied to the company’s commitment to starting with the customer and new technology advancement —the combination at the core of Volvo’s long survival, says Moore.
Other survival strategies that have kept the company strong over the years include pursuing simplicity when possible and refocusing its resources in response to difficult conditions like the current market environment. But you can’t be short-sighted, he adds.
“You know you have to duck when the market makes you duck, but duck in such a way that allows you to come back stronger when the market rebounds. Volvo Penta is very good at that,” Moore says.