Each year, IFAI publishes a state of the industry report that factors in numerous market realities. This year’s report shows that growth was strong in the marine fabric market in 2017, and this growth is expected to continue into 2018, despite higher oil and gas prices.
During this busy time of year, marine fabricators might respond to this news with, “Yeah, tell me something I don’t already know.” When your docket is full and the days are long, it’s important to keep in mind one other thing the report makes clear—innovation is the key to growth. It can be tempting to “do things the way they’ve always been done,” but continual improvement will keep your business growing, your customers satisfied and your employees loyal.
This issue has many ideas to spur innovation and keep you working faster and smarter. The Premier Product Showcase has 33 marine products—hardware, fabrics, equipment and more—that will help make your processes easier and your projects more successful. If you’re considering expanding to another market, such as upholstery or automotive, “Charting Unknown Waters” is filled with expert advice from fabricators who are working across markets and have plenty of wisdom to share.
The profile on Liz Diaz, MFC, owner of North Beach Marine Canvas, discusses her commitment to continual improvement and how she is using her marine fabrication skills to help create housing for homeless residents. Rob Kotowski, the second-generation owner of Lake Shore Boat Top Co. Inc, gives a step-by-step look at how his shop created an award-winning camper top enclosure. And Terri Madden, owner of Sand Sea & Air Interiors, discusses creative cushion solutions for customers who want a champagne look on a beer budget.
I hope you make time in your busy schedule for activities that fuel innovation and creativity. As award-winning author Maya Angelou once said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”