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Builders with Ethics?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by DDD, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have had good luck with SeaRay on situations like that as well........
  2. DDD

    DDD New Member

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    I think the best example to that question is the much studies tylenol case. Instead of avoiding and stalling, the ceo stopped all manufacture and distribution, settled with affected customers (6)and made changes to design, manufacture and distribution. The stock did suffer in the short term but has done very well in the long run. For him, doing the right thing was not a debate. "The move cost the company (J&J) $100 million and threatened to decimate its leading share of the market. Instead, consumers applauded the company's openness and sales rebounded within a year. Three decades later, the move is still regarded as a shining example of corporate social responsibility. The time it took the company's CEO to make that gutsy call? Six days "
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Absolutely handled the right way, but I don't think that's a good example. That was a product tampering situation of an ingested product. Without knowing the source of the tampering the potential ramifications were mind blowing. They needed help from the outside. Also, the pharmaceutical companies (J&J) are huge, but dealing with a relatively cheap product that can usually be limited to certain lots. Their market share was jeopardized, but not their company's survival. However, product recalls have thankfully become commonplace. With the Bertram situation (as with the Toyota) you're talking about big ticket items and a very real potential to close the company. I personally believe that most boards & execs consider their first responsibility to themselves followed by their company and shareholders, with the customers & public considered only in how it will affect their bottom line. DK if I may be wrong or if it's actually the wrong way to act. Obviously though, Toyota has proved that the auto industry is a bad example of where to set the bar on ethics. Now China, who seems to have a quality control problem, seems to take it very seriously.
  4. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Boy has this thread morphed! I don't mean to sound like a holier than thou moralist, but, if I understand the gist of this inquiry, is there even a question as to what the right answer SHOULD be??
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    In theory, No, but in the real (business) world I wonder if it isn't unrealistic to expect ethics. Maybe pride in one's product and a desire to protect a reputation (although I think even those may have become casualties to the bottom line), but ethics? I wonder.
  6. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    intresting question , after reading the post i have a few thoughts

    i think there are companies out there that do have very good ethics and the chairman and the board put there reputation and products before the bottom line and there own well being

    also i konow for a fact that a few C E O 'S of some very large public traded and private owned companies check this forum from time to time

    now with that said you do not always know ahead of time what some of the under staff or other people in the organization have done or the decisions they have made and the effects that might happen from those peoples efforts

    it takes many years to build a top notch team

    travler
  7. jsi

    jsi New Member

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    Boy, I don't even know if I should go here...... but I will.

    Mods, shut me down anytime if you think this is out of line.

    From considerable experience, I know that in the industry

    There are a few owners and captains who will do their very best

    To "throw you under the bus" for damage entrained by

    Either poor maintenance, operation, accident or just pure stupidity.

    The Deep Pockets Theory.

    So this brings Ethics to a whole 'nother level.

    If it is my problem, as a builder, I will be square with it every time.

    If you did lousy maintenance and a genny tanked, or a main, or whatever

    For example.

    I'm not going to pay for it.

    There is the issue of fairness here.

    Now, if you want a wall to wall fix everything clause,

    i.e. permanent warranty, included

    In the sale of the boat, and the only tool in the engineroom toolchest

    Is a cellphone,

    I'll figure out the price.


    jsi
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Two very good posts and perspectives.:)
  9. jbk4001

    jbk4001 New Member

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    Well said!!
  10. slowroll

    slowroll New Member

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    Manufacturers and/or there agents who put their short term goals ahead of their customer's needs are likely to fail. GM built poor products in the mid 80s which lead to loss demand for their products. They were living on credit until the money ran out. They are still trying to undue the damage of the 80s. Litigation in the US can make it difficult to do the right thing sometimes admission of fault can make for B.S. lawsuits which can break a company. The Bertrum deal seems to be a case of accountability, no insurance on the buyers part makes no sense other than saving X amount of dollars on premium until boat arrived at their location. If insurance was involved possibly Bertrum would do a "Goodwill" adjustment of some kind. However when the lawsuits are flying, the lawyers "Circle the wagons" and limit corporate and dealer responce. The problem with vehicle failures is determining if condition was caused by operator. Cases where faults are known but ignored because projected pay out of lawsuits is less than the cost to correct or recall is inexcusible, with criminal prosecution if necessary of all parties. There are many companies where "Customer Satisfaction" is the rule, and some who don't....eventually they fail....hopefully the government is out of the "bail out" business.
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I believe that Bertram did make an offer for a discounted boat.
    If only that were true.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    What good is a discounted boat if it comes with the same warranty and quality as the owners first new one that he never even got the chance to ride on?
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Simply correcting the record, not saying the offer was good or bad; just that it was reportedly made. Haven't heard of Toyota offering to replace any cars and people have died there. In fact there was a story on the local news about a dealership who refused to cancel a purchase when the recalls hit nor deliver the car until the cameras showed up. As we've seen in this thread some companies jump to take care of their customers and some don't unless forced. Both should be spotlighted.
  14. ArcanisX

    ArcanisX Senior Member

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    Well, I kind of have an interesting angle of the question.
    As you can see, I'm from Russia. It's an interesting country, and one thing curious about it is how markets are flooded with *screw the customer* method. More interesting yet, as it's my profession, I actually did researched the "cost and benefits of screwing or not screwing customers", and at least with... rather low customer culture lacking self-respect, it's indeed often rational to screw (even accounting for possible reputation losses and whatever).

    Therefore my answer is, it is absolutely unrealistic to expect anything;), much less costly, sophisticated and easily feigned matters like ethics, "on it's own".
    Basically speaking, you need charity, you go to charity/nonprofits. Companies are making money, and they should be aiming at making money lest they become... strange abominations of subconcious desires, rather then straightforward business. The moment you have every reason and right to expect ethics is the moment when it becomes economically more viable, no sooner no later. And what makes it so? Competent, self-respecting consumers and pretty open information field.
  15. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    That's one of the funniest statements I have ever read.
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Thought you'd like that.:D
  17. Globs

    Globs New Member

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    In my view most problems in products stem from poor management. In fact the world is full of CEOs and managers who love to be managers, but absolutely hate planning and being proactive.

    So when you get a product like a GRP boat that absolutely needs good management, quite often it all falls apart from the top. For instance building GRP boats is not a new process, for the cost of a David Pascoe book you can leapfrog most of the industry for a few dollars and get in at the top.

    That should cut out silly design failures. Design failure are the worst, from bent stringers to shallow hatch channels to poor access and layout - because they are actually free to get right in the first place. You just need the patience, thought and research - it's a purely academic exercise.

    Then there is the issues of layup - humidity, curing rates, mixture ratios - they are all free too - it's a matter of QA - not materials. Delamination is an inexcusable failure of management in my view.

    Then once the design is correct and the QA is in place you have the luxury of choosing materials. This does obviously affect the design to an extent - i.e. using Balsa instead of crumble-o-foam for coring, or roving instead of bi-axial-delam glass has a big effect - but now at least you can tune the actual cost of the structure.

    Then there's the question of managing your work and customers - give them a solid hull, sound layout and something that works and they're not going to bug you to fix a giant delaminated side panel, i.e. their lawyers will not be suing you for shoddy workmanship because they'll be enjoying their boat.

    So my point is that if you put the energy in at the front end to make a better product (often at no extra cost) you'll save it all plus much more at the sharp end when the boat has already been delivered.

    I view ethics as the unfortunate result of poor management - ok sometimes genuine mistakes are made, but having experience of rejecting a boat I was having built in the UK - all the problems could be directly traced to poor management. I.e. Lack of build specs and schedules, non existent QA. The guy even rang me up to confirm the GRP layout layers (gel/mat/roving layers) I specified and then proceeded to lay it up out of pure chop strand instead. All of these freely avoidable problems led to a very unethical string of disappointments right down to the water and my subsequent forcing of my deposit back.

    There is also the connection between poor management and poor ethics, because once the head of the fish is rotten, the same condition spreads all the way down. Hence my view that when management changes - so does the company, even if the badge on the brochure still stays the same.

    As for Bertram, I think we all know Dick Bertram would not put his name on the latest Ferretti boats, regardless of how good they can be if made well - so his ethics would never be tested in that way, he simply worked hard to avoid issues like that, best for him, best for the customer.
  18. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    Globs I dont know how much you know about Bertram and Ferretti but Dick Bertram who left us for the better World in 2000 was very much upbeat on the new 390 and 510 Zuccon Ferretti era designs. I think all the designs which came after this are pretty similar to the first 2 models.
    Now for the quality that is something else but that also has to be seen in todays perspective. Up to the nineties it was heavy good build and 30 knots was enough. Today everyone wants lighter and 40 knots plus.
    If you speak to well known surveyors or even browse the net you get a whos who list of delaminated boats in recent years. Much of these luckily for the builders do not get the promotion Bertram got.

    My question is this do these delaminations, which all showed up more or less since 2005 have to do with new emission regulations or have regarded builders lost there plan how to build a boat.

    As for after sales we got a used eighties build Bertram 33 here last summer and the owner contacted Bertram about to much a long turning circle, the company replied to him that his 33 had the small rudders and there is a further option of two bigger sizes to turn better. To make it short in 2 weeks this guy had new rudders plus plans showing the best place to put a bow thruster. That IMO is not bad for an over twenty year old boat company which in that time frame changed ownership three times.
    I know companies famous and big which you ask them stuff while boat is in gurantee and still they don't even reply to you.
  19. Globs

    Globs New Member

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    Hi Liam,

    I don't know as much about Bertram as I'd like too, but I do know there are Bertram boats knocking around that are 20 years old without a single crack in the gelcoat on them - and we fast-forward to a boat that's 2 years old (Assuming Absolutely was made in 2008) and it's completely disintegrated.

    I'm not sure what 'upbeat' means - but it could mean hopeful and optimistic - rather than being confident of a sturdy or dry or well riding design, 2000 was a little early to tell I suspect.

    I hear you about the 40knots/speed issue, my view is that this is one area where the factory salesmen have led their customers and factories down a blind alley to bankruptcy and lawyersville. Firstly (my view) the new boats are only faster a) when new and b) on a glass flat surface. Given that neither a or b last very long it's immensely misleading to suggest boat a is faster than boat b, without some speed trials at a specified comfort level into a specified roughness of sea - and after the cores have been in the water for a while. For instance I doubt many of the balsa bottomed Searay's are lighter any more - even perfect resin allows water in, come to that even epoxy is not perfect (but is IIRC 3 times better).

    I seems to me that factories now just use cores and vacuum bagging to save on rising resin costs, unaware or careless of how it will come back to haunt them, and the salesmen sell them out as being lighter and faster - when in reality they are weaker and slower (because they bounce off the water more easily). Mixed in there you also have the shallower V hulls to save fuel, which also makes them slam harder. Of course harder slamming puts more hydraulic pressure on the saturated (or soon to be saturated) cores and more stress on the engine bearers, bulkhead and deck/hull tabbing and you end up with the inevitable result. It even looks like glass costs are being trimmed too - where's all the super-strong woven glass gone??!?! I love that stuff!

    As for the promotion Bertram is getting for these de-laminations I think you are dead right - many other makes quietly pay off their customers under NDAs. Probably costing a lot more than doing the job right in the first place and creating a robust product however, giving them evenless money to built a decent product. I think part of the reason there is so much interest in Feretti now is that the Bertram name used to mean something about build quality - so the surprise is that much higher when there is an exception, and incredulity when the (de)construction reveals that it may not be an exception after all.

    I for one was stunned by the 630 case, for me Bertram was synonymous with build quality - so for me the modern company is not really Bertram.

    Sorry if it comes across as a but hard, I tend to be opinionated when I start off on something - and these are just my opinions! ;). I like the story about the Bertram 33 btw!!
  20. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    Hello Globs there is no such thing as hard in this.
    I correct you on some things you say though.
    - Absolutely was a 2005 build with about 500 hours. But was a demo boat owned by Marine Max. So far we dont know what caused this, altough speculation is blaming the builder.
    - The 630 which delaminated happened in Jan 09 was a 6 months old with 800 eh. He was given a 700.
    - Most current Bertram models have the same or very similar hull shape. 15 to 18 degrees moderate vee aft, with a 40 plus entrance to fore.
    - Bertram bottoms are still solid glass under the waterline and vacuum cored in the sides using divinycell
    - Ferretti had since the mid eighties quiet a good name going for it in the Med. I remember the first examples coming here like the 40, 44 or 52 Altura. What sure buying Bertram did was helping the brand in the US.
    Actually I never heard or seen Ferretti Yachts delaminate, and I know of a few owners which used them in all kinds of weather.

    AH one last thing. Vacuum infusion is here to stay, and I think in some years time expect it to be reinforced because of tighter emmision regulations.