Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 44

Shop Talk Business
Workfl ow in a
seasonal environment
Big ideas for small shops.
by Jeff Newkirk, MFC
A
" The greatest impact
on evening out our
yearly work cycle
has come from
offering a winter
project payment
package for canvas
and enclosures. "
s I have grown Precision Custom
Canvas Inc. from a single-person
operation to a business of four
full-time staff and two seasonal positions,
I have struggled with the concept of
providing a consistent living wage to my
employees through the off-season while
snow blankets the boats and ice fi lls
the harbors. I have always known that I
wanted to grow and have a modest staff.
Having been an hourly employee myself
in the past, I know how important it is to
have a reliable paycheck.
I have invested in my staff by training
them and bringing them onto the team;
I want them to be confi dent that their
employment is solid and consistent
year-round. Part of my motivation
for building my own company was
based on the poor management and
unreliability of the position I held
previously, and I did not want to put
others in that position. In the current
environment, fi nding and training
reliable employees is challenging, so
developing a strong business to retain
them is very important. This means
establishing a good culture, so they are
happy and enjoy coming to work, and
also a balanced workfl ow.
In this article, I will lay out how we
developed an over-winter payment
system that has provided us with a
steady and reliable workload over the
winter months, steady income to cover
all business costs, and a system that
softens the high cost of large projects
for our customers.
44 Marine Fabricator | July/August 2022
Line up year-round work
Because spring and summer work
is easy to fi ll, covering staff costs
during that period isn't a concern.
But we now also use this time to
line up work for the winter season
as well. For clients with fl exibility,
whose needs are not immediate,
we suggest they consider our
over-winter projects package.
As we have grown, the greatest
impact on evening out our yearly
work cycle has come from offering a
winter project payment package for
canvas and enclosures. Here's how
our process works: I identify projects
starting from springtime inquiries
and offer them our winter payment
package in order to fi ll our winter
production slots. If clients are planning
ahead and their current canvas is
still serviceable, we will suggest the
project as a candidate for fabrication
over the winter. We like these projects
to be a typical express cruiser in the
mid 30-foot range, with a front and
back bimini, fi ve-panel windshield
section and seven-panel aft enclosure.
This size and scale are perfect for
doing a complete pattern in the fall, and
it stores nicely when completed during
the winter months. Two key features
that sell this option to customers is
they can spread the cost over fi ve to six
months, and they will have a completely
new top and enclosure ready for
their boat without any downtime
during the active boating season.

Marine Fabricator July/August 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Marine Fabricator July/August 2022

Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover1
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover2
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 1
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 2
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 3
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 4
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 5
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Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 48
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover3
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover4
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 1
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 2
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 3
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 4
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 5
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 6
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