Boat Builders To Keep Building

March 2020 Feature Trade Only News

U.S. marine manufacturers were in disarray early this week as they struggled with how to deal with Covid-19 and social distancing while still meeting demand and filling orders for new boats.

When Ford reported yesterday that production at their U.S., Canadian and Mexican manufacturing plants will be halted after evening shifts today through the end of the month, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler followed suit after reaching a deal with the United Auto Workers union. 

For boat manufacturers it's business as usual, at least for now. Chaparral founder Buck Pegg sent a letter to Chaparral and Robalo dealers telling them that as of now, the company is open and fully operational.

“Our plants and departments are operating within our normal business hours,” said Pegg in an email. “Our regional sales directors have indicated the majority of all dealerships are operating within their normal business hours as well.”

The company is continuing to receive and fulfill orders at its current production rates, said Pegg.

“Our plants are staffed and busy working through a backlog of orders from an encouraging boat show season,” said Pegg. “We are sensitive to the situation and have active safety measures in place for all employees. We have limited the travel of our regional sales directors and have also limited outside vendor and customer visits.”

Although supply chain concerns have arisen in other segments, Pegg said Marine Products currently foresees “no interruptions due to vendor issues.”

Investors might have caught wind of the update; MPX (Marine Products Corp.) stocks rose 38 percent during trading on Tuesday.

Factories around the country are staggering shifts, banning visitors and installing barriers between workers to protect them from infection, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Some executives worry that might not be enough to maintain production as officials across the country advise more people to stay home, and schools and day-care centers shut down.

In Europe, car makers and other manufacturers have suspended production as the intensity of the outbreak there has endangered worker health and snarled supply chains.

On Tuesday, Volkswagen AG , the world’s biggest car maker by sales, said it was preparing to shut down most of its European plants, extending the stoppages beyond Italy and Spain.

Airbus SE, the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturer, said it was halting production at its plants in France and Spain for four days, to enact new sanitation measures and retool workspaces to allow more distance between workers.

Such stoppages mean disrupted business for manufacturers that can’t transfer their work as easily as other industries.

“You can’t weld at home. You can’t run a press break from your backyard,” said Stephen Bullock, president of Power Curbers Cos., a paving-machine maker in Salisbury, N.C.

More than a third of manufacturers have already had supplies disrupted by efforts to slow the pandemic, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers, and nearly 80 percent said they expect a financial impact on their business.

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