Shop talk with Heartland Awning & Design Inc.

Published On: January 1, 2014Categories: In the Shop, Industry News

How did your shop get started?

We wanted to diversify, and market research indicated a void in marine fabrication. Omaha doesn’t come to mind as a huge boating community, but it is home to quite a few boat owners. Our research turned up limited options for either them or dealers who wanted to work with a company who did quality, professional work on a consistent basis.

What is your product focus?

Towing covers, snap-on bow and cockpit covers, pontoon covers and boat enclosures.

What unique design elements are built into your products?

We talk to our customers to determine what their needs are and what they want their covers to look like. We listen to them and give them suggestions as to what type of cover might suit them best. We look for ways to improve our products to avoid getting stuck in the “that’s how we always do it” mentality.

Who are your main customers?

Since we have built a reputation for quality and dependability, individuals have become our main customers. We have several boat dealers doing business with us exclusively, but it’s the individual owner that understands the value we bring to the table.

What is your work-flow process? How are jobs completed from start to finish?

We initially have a consultation with the customer to determine the type of product and what fabric we will be using. Fabric and other materials are acquired prior to the boat’s arrival. Boats arrive and everything is ready to go.

How do you deal with scheduling
and handling customers?

We schedule boats in one day and out the next. With three bays, we can get new boats in and finished boats out efficiently. We also have awning and graphic fabrication processes going on
in-house, so the work schedule has to be choreographed well. We have a fenced in lot out back for the occasional delay, but we put wording in our contract to discourage untimely drop
off and pick up.

What other products
do you produce?

We also have in-house metal fabrication and large format
dye-sublimation print capabilities.
We produce some of the finest awnings and canopies as well as tradeshow displays and custom graphic structures.

Do you create a product that you consider your specialty?

Our customers are thrilled with all of our covers, but since most of our clients need travel covers for their boats, we make the finest ones around. Our fit and detailed reinforcement makes them look great and very durable.

What do you do to stay
busy in the off-season?

Diversity keeps us busy year
round, but any down time is
always put to good use for equipment maintenance, reorganizing work flow, or
cross training team members
so everyone can pitch in
where it’s needed most.

Do you use any new
or unusual technology?

The use of heat sealing in certain facets of our production has allowed us to do some nice things with our enclosures and more traditional cover work. We did a lot of it with the awnings and it was a good fit
for some of the marine products.