Marquis and Carver Yachts laid off 53 workers, some of them temporarily, in response to what new CEO Rob Parmentier calls the “worst winter in North America in 100 years.”
“There’s flashes of brilliance out there, but with the winter we just had — we’ve had a bad month,” Parmentier told Trade Only Today.
In addition to temporarily laying off some workers, Parmentier says he is “leveraging synergies” between Carver and Marquis and the Larson Boat Group, for which he also serves as CEO.
“We’re melding the two companies together,” Parmentier said. “We looked at a lot of things, and [in some cases] we’re going to have one department instead of two. We’d be remiss not to look at the talents of both the Little Falls (Minn.) and the Pulaski (Wis.) plants” and consolidate where it makes sense. “Some things they did better at the Little Falls plants, and there are some things that they do better in Pulaski.”
The company, which announced in December that it will begin building VanDutch Marine Ltd. yachts, is also making some adjustments on that front.
“The whole world doesn’t know this yet, but we’re integrating several VanDutch models,” Parmentier said. “That integration takes a little time, as the molds are coming from Europe, and there were a few too many people on board. Now we’ve got a solid plan with VanDutch.”
The 40-foot models are already being built in the Pulaski plant; the 55 and 75 are coming on board soon, Parmentier said.
“As we start delivering VanDutch [models] next year, we’ve got an aggressive plan for Carver and Marquis,” Parmentier said. “We’re doing lot of customer research as we redo the old 42 and the new 50. All that stuff takes time, and the companies didn’t have a lot of this in place.”
Parmentier became CEO of Marquis and Carver earlier this month. He was named CEO of Larson Boat Group — the other boat company of Irwin Jacobs-led J&D Acquisitions — in October. He said that in his three weeks as Marquis CEO he has signed five unannounced new dealers.
“You have to stop a little before you start back up,” Parmentier said. “We’ve got to see what exactly our retail customers and distribution is expecting. I have a brand-new 43 Marquis coming. I shut down the 42 so I could get the new boat up to speed. What they didn’t have when I came aboard was a ton of data from our customers. As we speak, I’m sending out interiors, photos and plans to make sure everybody’s bought off on it. That’s a next-year model, and it’s already May. June 1 is model change. We’re playing a little bit of catch-up here.”
In the meantime, Parmentier said he is cutting where it makes sense and using best practices from both plants.
“That’s where I come from, using the efficiencies where you can,” Parmentier said, referring to his long history at Brunswick-owned Sea Ray that ended with his presidency at the company. “It’s no different from when Brunswick had 16 brands. You’re using best practices from each place. I’m just looking at everything. I’ve made some huge gains in Little Falls efficiencies, and I plan to do the same thing at Marquis and Carver.”
“I’ve already got customer service from Marquis going down to Little Falls next week,” he said. “I’ve already consolidated sales and marketing. I don’t need two VPs of sales in two facilities. I don’t need two directors of marketing. I only need one.”
Parmentier expects to hire many workers back once the weather begins to cooperate. Although he did not specify how many, he gave props to the workers at both plants. “I’ve got some of the best boatbuilders in North America working for us,” he said. “I’ve got second-, third- and in some cases fourth-generation boatbuilders.”
But he said the weather needs to cooperate before the building and selling season really get going.
“It’s still 38 degrees here in Minnesota and it’s pouring rain,” Parmentier said Monday evening. “It’s the worst winter in North America in 100 years. I’m not using that as an excuse, but it’s reality. We need a little help.”