Marine fabrication businesses are an interesting mix of custom and ready-made. On the one hand, much of the work is manufactured to order, and each project requires unique tweaks and adjustments to the design and fabrication processes. But there are also times your shop becomes a mini factory and the same tasks are repeated over and over. To hit shop deadlines, these repetitive tasks require a completely different skillset than those necessary for considering your clients’ priorities, developing an effective design and ensuring thorough planning.
Whether you prefer to work by hand or use digital processes, this mix of bespoke and off-the-shelf creates an unusual set of challenges when it comes to shop efficiencies, business performance and outstanding craftsmanship. This issue is designed to help you improve all three. The feature “Bedding Down” discusses the right questions to ask clients and how to preplan projects to highlight your design chops. “Patterning Tech, From Beginning to End” details one fabricator’s journey to outfitting his shop for digital patterning, and “Tailored Solutions” describes how Monica Stockburger’s two-person shop combines artistry with performance when repairing the vessels of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay.
Mike and John Erickson, Canvas Designers Inc., dig into quilt stitching and CNC sewing to help you create additional profit while providing enhanced design elements for your customers. Terri Madden and Alayna Wool, Sand Sea & Air Interiors, discuss materials and resources for successful wallcoverings and headliners, and the business article “Increase Your Efficiency” lists seven improvements every business can make from organizing more to doing less.
Finding ways to build your business while designing beautiful, durable projects that satisfy your customers is an ongoing dance between artistry and efficiency. As management consultant Peter Drucker says, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”