The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), in collaboration with VRZ Consulting, released the results of a comprehensive, marine industry service department study. The survey results, which featured insights from more than 260 marine service departments, outlines some of the challenges dealerships face in repairing boats more quickly.
The genesis of the study came out of a summer 2021 meeting that the MRAA Executive Committee held with its colleagues on the National Marine Manufacturers Association Executive committee, and specifically upon review of data supplied by MRAA’s partners at Lightspeed DMS. That data showed that industry repair cycle times, or the amount of time it’s taking to get customer boats serviced and back on the water, was exceeding industry expectations and only becoming worse.
“Today’s most significant metric when it comes to monitoring the boat ownership experience comes down to the repair event cycle times,” explains Matt Gruhn, MRAA president. “With a pandemic-inflamed perfect storm of issues on dealership service departments – impacted by technician shortages, supply chain issues and unprecedented demand – it has become critical for us to not only benchmark where we’re at as an industry but also to begin showcasing opportunities on how the industry can collaborate to begin implementing new approaches to getting customers back on the water more quickly.”
The study was sparked by the collection and publishing of Repair Event Cycle Times, or RECT, which when presented to the two associations’ executive committees showed that it was taking more than 50 days, on average, to service and return boats to customers. In the event of warranty work, data showed that it’s taking more than 70 days to repair boats.
Last fall, MRAA convened a work group of dealers, manufacturers and suppliers to begin addressing the issues and identifying solutions for reducing RECT. The results of that and subsequent conversations has transitioned into a focus MRAA will place on helping the industry improve its repair cycle times.
“I just love looking at what it takes to flip the switch from more of a reactive service department to more of a proactive service department operation,” says Valerie Ziebron of VRZ Consulting, who moderated the RECT strategy meeting. “When we’re talking about Repair Event Cycle Times, we’re talking about customers waiting for their boats. Ideally, we should be asking how we can make sure that we are fast tracking or expediting our service work when we can. We can be training our service writers and technicians to be looking for opportunities to get more work done more quickly and boats back in the hands of their customers. This study, the workshop and other subsequent conversations are already bringing ideas to the forefront.”
For those interested in viewing the full results of this survey, you can find them under the Free Resources Tab at www.MRAA.com/improveRECT.