Why some Marine Canvas fabricators are more profitable than ever.
The Marine industry was particularly hard hit during the most recent economic downturn. There was virtually no boat buying or building in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Boat builders and repair businesses had to drastically cut costs and core process to survive. Custom canvas fabrication shops were especially impacted by the slow down.
Pattern making, the essence of the Marine Canvas Fabricator's business, is a slow, costly manual process largely unchanged in 50 years. Fabricating awnings, biminis, covers, and interiors would involve hours or days of manual measurements, drape and tape paper or plastic patterning, then editing the final patterns until they fit perfectly. Worst yet, the manual process is both highly inaccurate and difficult to optimize.
Digital Patterning - Automation That Matters
Eclipse Yachts, out of Palm Beach Florida not only survived the downturn, but they fought back and rebelled against the traditional pattern making process. To reduce costs and improve production turnaround times, the team at Eclipse decided to focused on process changes that would eliminate manual efforts and automate repetitive tasks
With this guiding philosophy in mind, they then prioritized updates in the areas of:
- Measurement - getting the basic dimensions for the part
- Pattern creation - creating the initial patterns
- Production drawings generation - adding features like seams, grommets, zippers, etc.
- Implementation and refinement - producing the final pieces, fittings, optimizi ng etc.
Eclipse adopted ExactFlat for SOLIDWORKS digital design and patterning solution. The result? “Time to market was reduced by a stunning 40-50%.” According to Joy Hutchinson, Founder and President of Eclipse Yacht Canvas. “...we’ve eliminated the iterative, manual processes that had become the industry standard. We can now respond faster to our customers’ needs, and it’s winning us more business.”
The entire process change was achieved in roughly 5 weeks and cost less than half of what Eclipse typically spent annually on over time for a single pattern maker.
To learn more or to start saving time and increasing profits in your marine canvas business give us a call.
About the Author
Mark Jewell has over 25 years experience working with more than a thousand soft goods manufacturers in 15 countries. He specializes in building and implementing software tools to help his clients avoid failure, reduce the risk of change and to make sure that they get the most from their process automation investments. If you want to improve pattern making productivity, then you want to speak with Mark.