(Continued. from page 44)
Thinking about your local market, have
there been any significant changes in the
types of work you now do or the competition you
face for that work?
Boaters can buy equipment in
many places, like the Internet
and big box stores. Dock walkers and Internet
pricing are all challenges. We want to serve the
better boats, the more serious boaters.
We are a bricks-and-mortar store with a
showroom that has live operational equipment. This helps sales as customers can touch
and operate the electronics. We do get a lot of
referrals from manufacturers we represent.
Every dealer should be sure they have up-to-date listings on each manufacturer’s website.
We have developed good relationships with
everyone in the area—including marine stores,
boat dealers, boatyards, marine workers and
even our competition. We get many references
from our biggest competitor, West Marine, and
we send people to them also. We listen to our
customers, their complaints and what they
want. We’ll take on jobs that aren’t mainstream
electronics—maybe they’re electrical and we
can do that. This is a business, not a hobby.
On the employment front in your area,
how difficult is it to find and keep qualified technicians and sales people? If so, how are
you dealing with it?
It’s very serious ongoing problem. You almost have to grow
them yourself. Years ago I called a teacher at a
local high school and asked if he had anyone
who might be interested in working as an
installation helper pulling cables, etc. Craig
Hashimoto started working for us summers
and during holiday breaks, then full time. He
acquired lots of technical knowledge in the
process and now holds most every certification
and endorsement out there. In fact NMEA
asked him to participate on the advising committee when NMEA was revising their technical tests. Craig turned out to be one of the best
and most talented technicians I have worked
with over the years.
Airmar Technology 17
Consolidated Electronic 25
CWR Electronics 15
FLIR Systems 21
Furuno USA 7
Garmin International 51
Gemeco 10, 16
ICOM America 52
Intellian Technologies 13
KVH Industries 2
Power Products 37
Richardson Electronics 31
SeaWide Distribution 23
With the constant advancements in
marine electronics technology and the
growing complexity of onboard networks and
demands for total connectivity—how do you keep
your technicians up to speed on everything they
need to know?
Marine Electronics Journal, for
one thing. Everyone here gets
his own copy. It’s got technical information
and also tells where you can get other info. We
also try to attend as many manufacturers’
training sessions as possible.
What are the biggest challenges now
and in the years ahead for the marine
electronics industry and dealers in particular?
You have to be able to embrace
change—and change is happening quickly. You need to find out what
your customers want. You never know where
that’ll lead you. Don’t wear blinders. Go where
the opportunities are.
(Continued. from page 46)
Including some basic terms and conditions
in your business’s customer facing documents
will help alleviate problem situations with your
customers. The terms and conditions need to
be appropriate for the type of work you perform and for the type of customer you work
with. This will help reduce the need for endless fine print and help protect your business
from an unexpected liability.
About the author
Steven Katz is the owner of Steve’s Marine Service
Inc., serving Annapolis and Ocean City, MD, for
over 20 years. He holds credentials from NMEA,
ABYC, and the USCG as well as B.S. and M.B.A
degrees. Steve’s corporate experience includes
management positions in engineering and technology. He is currently Vice Chairman of NMEA and
has served on the Board of Directors since 2012.
(Cont. from page 36) HIGH-TECH FISH HUNTERS
potential lies in their little boat’s big brain—
and right now, it seems like we humans might
have a little catching up to do. MEJ
About the autho
Lenny Rudow has been a boating writer for more
than 20 years. He writes regularly for several
marine publications and websites, including
Boat-US, Texas Fish & Game, and boats.com. Lenny
owns Marine Editorial Services based in Edgewater, MD, and is current President of Boating Writers International.
ates a stronger push for consumers to look
for more information.”
Truth be told, the evolution of phone-
like MFD menus has actually made it quite
simple to figure out how to use all of the fea-
tures we’ve discussed up to this point. And
while once upon a time, Americans—males
in particular—could be counted on to
ignore a unit’s instruction manual, these
days those manuals are rarely necessary. But
end-users have to first realize that all this