New Mastercraft CEO looks to build on brand
MasterCraft Boat Co.'s new president and CEO, Terry McNew, is looking to build on the company's powerful brand equity while streamlining production facilities with an emphasis on quality and efficiency.
"It's a team effort. Everybody is involved," he said.
McNew plans to use his background in lean manufacturing and Six Sigma quality assurance to lower costs and allow the company to become more competitive at all levels of the market.
The quality initiative currently under way at MasterCraft is based on similar processes perfected in the automotive markets, he said. The first step is process mapping.
"We're reviewing our product-development process. We will gather input up front that will allow us to develop the right product at the right price and the right time," he said.
The effort involves partnering with key suppliers and continual management of quality though defect measurement and other factors, he said.
MasterCraft is currently producing about 1,800 boats per year, the company plans to increase production to 1,900 boats per year.
Marketing also is key to McNew's strategy.
MasterCraft is taking aim at the water-sports market, including wakeboarding and wakesurfing, two of the fastest-growing segments. The company is under contract with 16 of the world's top water-sports athletes and has introduced its new X-30 and X-10 series of boats to serve the growing market, he said.
Other opportunities include the high end of the family boat market.
At the same time, the company will introduce lower-cost boats that build on MasterCraft's brand-name recognition as a supplier of high-quality boats.
"We will be like the Mercedes C-class of boats," McNew said.
While some competitors have introduced low-cost boat lines under new brand names, McNew believes the MasterCraft brand will deliver value even for cost-conscious customers.
"Even if we are five to seven thousand (dollars) above the others, they will still pick us," he said.
International sales also are important, totaling about 17 percent of overall sales. Australia is a growing market, where the company sold 80 boats last year, McNew said. Wakeboarding and wakesurfing are also growing very fast internationally, he said.
McNew expects employment at the Vonore plant to rise as the company grows. The plant at present has 370 employees, he said.
The company makes key components, such as its trailers, in-house to control cost and quality, McNew said.
Vonore is an ideal location for boat building for several reasons, he said. Probably most important is the access to workers with experience building boats, he said.
Also, the local highway system makes for efficient transportation of materials from suppliers and for shipping finished boats.
"Freight costs from this location around the country are as good as it gets," he said.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel