Cushions for a lean mean fishing machine

May 1, 2014

The end use of a boat really dictates how Trevor makes his cushions at Kennedy Custom Upholstery. So last summer when we were asked to make all new cushions for a charter fishing boat, we knew we had to make them as tough as possible while still looking like a high-end custom product. The boat …

Hiring the right person can be a tough job

By William J. Lynott On the surface, it appears to be a routine chore: You have a job to fill, so you must interview the applicants and select the most promising. In truth, interviewing job candidates today is far from a routine task. One of the toughest issues to resolve with new hires is measuring …

Stand out

January 1, 2014

“The past years’ economic challenges have not been a problem for my business—in fact, I think they’ve made my business even stronger because I’ve separated my business from the competition,” says Dave Elliot, owner of David’s Custom Trimmers, Brisbane, Australia. “We offer products other similar businesses don’t offer in terms of strength and neatness, and …

Eye of the needle

September 1, 2013

Bread and butter. Life blood. Members of the family. Call them what you will, industrial sewing machines are fabricators’ best friends—or, perhaps on a bad day, their worst enemies. Fabricators, manufacturers and suppliers tell us what’s new and what’s still working. Opinions abound about lubricants and thread and buying used machines. They share invaluable advice …

Tax relief for equipment

Thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, managers, executives and owners who have hesitated or postponed making capital investments for their marine fabrication businesses through the recent economic downturn might now want to consider how the use of those tax incentives and others already on the books can substantially reduce the cost of …

Knowing your customers helps spur sales and return business

A customer is standing in front of you. Maybe she has a question. Or a complaint. Or maybe she’s thinking about a purchase, and wants to discuss a product issue. What do you say to best serve the customer, and bring about a win-win resolution of the conversation? Sounds like a simple question. But the …

Contingency plan: An unexpected breakup leads to solo success

July 1, 2013

“I think the most significant lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is not to get too comfortable,” says Cindy Boersema, owner of The Nautical Needle in Holland, Mich. “Being a business owner is not about relying on others to always be there to work for you and with you—because they can be …

Successful succession planning

Sooner or later, everyone contemplates retirement. For those who own a closely held or family-owned fabrication business, retirement is more than just a matter of deciding to not go to work anymore. In addition to ensuring there will be enough money to retire, business owners, shareholders and partners must decide what will happen to the …

The do’s and don’ts of online discussion groups

So why bother to join one of those online discussion groups? If you think a group is just one more dreaded task, you’re mistaken. Think for a moment about the insight and ideas you gleaned from your last professional conference. Or the practical tips colleagues give you on the telephone every once in a while. …

Tech blows in

May 1, 2013

OK, you’re afloat in the Bahamas. The enclosure protecting your pilot house blows out. You need a fix right away. Wind, waves, weather—it happens all the time, but replacement isn’t always easy. In many such cases, an enclosure must be fitted carefully to your specific boat. So, stuck there in the Bahamas, you contact the …