Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 22

CUSTOMER
MANAGEMENT
ADVICE
* Apprising customers of
project fl ow and (realistic)
delivery dates can help
avoid scheduling angst.
Chris Mader, owner of The
Canvas Works, Sausalito,
Calif., says providing a
visual of the schedule is
helpful. He's considering
creating a spreadsheet to
use when communicating
with customers as
a way of illustrating
project time frames.
* Honesty and never
overpromising are essential,
says John Bland, managing
director of Tecsew, Lee-on-theSolent,
Hampshire, U.K. " It's
better to give an extended
lead time and surpass
expectation if you deliver
early, " he says. " Importantly,
learn which clients and
jobs add the greatest value.
This has to be repeat, longstanding
customers; then
it's the work that's easy to
facilitate. Learn to shun
the unprofi table work. "
Custom Boat Covers LLC customers
get appointments on a fi rst-come/fi rstserved
basis, says Heather Shaw, offi ce
manager for the Aurora, Ohio, manufacturer
of custom boat and heavy machine
covers, upholstery, pavilion enclosures
and outdoor kitchen covers. The
company tries to arrange the workload
by what is easiest to complete in a day,
preferring not to rush the bigger, more
painstaking jobs.
Crew availability is among the scheduling
drivers for The Canvas Works
LLC, says Christopher Mader, owner.
Located in Sausalito, Calif., the company
fabricates custom canvas covers for
the marine, residential and commercial
industries. However, customers paying
the required 50 percent deposit for big
jobs do achieve fi rst-come/fi rst-served
status. Still, there are other ways projects
can jump the queue.
" We have customers we've worked
with for years that if they need something
quickly, we make it happen, "
Mader says. " We attempt to turn repairs
around quickly. We have a slip which is
scheduled out with a three-month lead
time at the moment for larger jobs, so
that schedule is dictated by availability. "
Getting it down
In addition to Mader and his business
partner, there are eight employees at
The Canvas Works. Although the shop
has different departments (covers, enclosures,
dodgers/biminis, cushions and
repairs) most staff can work on nearly
any project. Jobs are scheduled on
whiteboards-a large one is in the upstairs
offi ce, two are in the main sewing
room-with jobs broken out by the project
manager/crew member responsible
for work.
Custom Boat Covers, with a three-person
staff, uses a calendar, says Shaw, who
schedules all the work for the shop.
" We try to schedule a big job with a
smaller job in a week, " Shaw says. " We
products classed by diffi culty.
" For example, boat covers are scheduled
for a one-week turnaround, " says
Smith. " Customers drop off their boats
Monday morning before 10:00 and
they pick up their boat Friday between
4:30 and 5:00. This is a big selling point
because customers don't lose weekend
use of their boats. [But] a custom SnoCap
is a more complex job. So it will be
scheduled out further and we'll generally
have the trailer longer if it's being
installed at our shop. "
The Canvasworks shop includes a
metal fabrication team and a sewing
team. Employees in the former are
cross-trained to run the fabric welding
machines during the spring when
the marine season hits. Consequently,
during that time, metal shop jobs are
scheduled further out. The sewing team
is divided into production sewers who
fabricate the majority of the OEM products,
and custom sewers who handle the
marine and custom jobs (cross-training
provides some scheduling fl exibility to
meet customer time frames).
Customers are given drop-off and
pick-up dates after paying a 50 percent
deposit. OEM and repeat customers
order 30-to-60 days out, so scheduling
around them is fairly straightforward,
although they'll take occasional rush
jobs for these customers, Smith says.
" Otherwise the schedule is what
the schedule is; no amount of urgency
on the customer's part is going to
pride ourselves on getting jobs out
within a week, meaning the customer
can drop a boat off on a scheduled
Monday and pick it up by that Friday.
Larger jobs usually require more materials
and with COVID happening last
year, getting materials in has been our
biggest issue. "
Canvasworks schedules projects by
the order they're received within their
product class-boat covers, awnings,
custom products,
SnoCaps-with

Marine Fabricator January/February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Marine Fabricator January/February 2022

Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - Cover1
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - Cover2
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 1
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 2
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 3
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 4
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 5
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 6
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 7
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 8
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 9
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 10
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 11
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 12
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 13
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 14
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 15
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 16
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 17
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 18
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 19
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 20
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 21
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 22
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Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 47
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - 48
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - Cover3
Marine Fabricator January/February 2022 - Cover4
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