Brunswick Corp. said today that its Merritt Island facility in Florida, which built the former Sea Ray Yacht and Sport Yacht lines, will become its new Integrated Manufacturing Center.
“Having a facility of this scale with an experienced workforce and a demonstrated commitment to quality and craftsmanship is the fastest and most effective way for our company to provide for the incremental capacity needed for our business,” said Huw Bower, Brunswick Boat Group president, in a statement. “It also enables us to centralize certain operations to take advantage of economies of scale.”
Bower told Trade Only Today that the facility will initially serve three purposes, though those could expand over time. Merritt Island will continue to manufacture the Sea Ray SLX 400 Outboard model. “This model is in such high demand that production at our other facilities is maxed out,” said Bower. Merritt Island, he added, could also be used to build other models in the Sea Ray and Boston Whaler lines.
The 130 workers at Merritt Island will also be used to produce upholstery, cabinetry and other boat parts, said Bower. “We have quite a number of skilled workers and this will allow us to satisfy the demand we have for different brands,” he said. “The idea is to centralize those skills in one area for more efficient production. This vertical integration will be helpful as we continue to ramp up production.”
Two five-axis routers, which were part of the former Sea Ray Sport Yachts operation, will also be used for new-product development at Merritt Island. “These will allow us to design not just hulls and decks, but larger parts like helm consoles,” said Bower. “This center will eventually become a central location of molds and tooling development.”
Bower said the development of the Integrated Manufacturing Center is part of a larger plan to integrate manufacturing operations with its recently announced Fiberglass Boat Technology Center, scheduled to open later this year in Edgewater, Florida, near Boston Whaler’s headquarters.
The Edgewater center, said Bower, which merged Brunswick’s fiberglass design team and Boston Whaler’s design department, will have “the single largest group of engineers” in the boating industry. “These two centers are complementary and will allow us to leverage our capacity of scale by integrating operations,” he said. “They’re both important elements for the growth and development of the Sea Ray, Boston Whaler and our other boat brands.”