According to Sam Shimanek, a designer at Marquis-Larson Boat Group in Pulaski, Wis., there are some years the company doesn’t undergo model year changes. When it does, the process usually starts about six months in advance.
“The first few months are getting design ideas drawn up,” Shimanek says. “Next we start to pick out new products and materials. Then the process goes into more quotes and setting up part numbers and getting the bills updated. Some model years are only changing a few things up, and other model years we might be changing layouts and more materials.”
For significant model changes, the product development, design and delivery cycle of a 30-foot vessel takes approximately one year from start to finish, according to Shimanek. The first few months are used for concept and designing the fiberglass and structural parts; then the next few months are designing the systems, which include wiring, plumbing, the engine room and electronics. After that comes designing the interior and choosing all the materials.
“Usually all of the design work is done in 3-D,” says Paul Miller, a graphic designer for Marquis-Larson.
Finally, the last few months involve building the boat. Within the year, the Marquis-Larson team also works on weight studies of the boat and may even do a full-size mock-up of an area or sometimes the whole boat. For a boat that is in the 60-foot range, it might take 1½ to 2 years from start to finish.
And while Marquis-Larson tries to do most fabrication in-house, the company does occasionally look to outside vendors. “We like to try and use local vendors when we can,” Miller says. “Other times we are limited in our choice of vendors because we need to pick products that are for the marine industry and sometimes there are few choices to pick from.”
So how does a smaller supplier get in the pipeline to provide materials or how does a fabrication shop establish a relationship with a boat manufacturer such as Marquis-Larson?
“By either contacting us and seeing if an appointment can be set up or by going to trade shows,” Shimanek says. “Sometimes word of mouth is how we find vendors. We are always looking for new products.”