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#2 Mercury Marine

Earlier this year, Mercury had the largest outboard product launch in the boating industry’s history.

Earlier this year, Mercury had the largest outboard product launch in the boating industry’s history.

Mercury’s “Go Boldly” marketing slogan was the mantra that seemed to lead the engine manufacturer in the last year. The judges decided to separate Mercury from its parent, Brunswick Corp., and award it a higher rating because of the sweep and feverish pace of innovation across its facilities and outboard product lines.

The first months of the year saw the culmination of a new product development spree in which Mercury introduced an unprecedented 20 engines, the majority of which were V-6 and V-8 outboards based on new powerhead platforms. Mercury moved away from supercharged 4-strokes to high-displacement, lighter-weight, naturally aspirated engines. Response has been positive from both the industry and consumers.

By the end of this year, the company sys, more than 80 percent of its outboard revenues will come from models introduced since 2012. The new engines involved a full overhaul of its manufacturing facilities and production lines. That Mercury made it happen in such a short time impressed the judges.

Innovation at Mercury has gone well beyond the new engines. It has invested more than $1.2 billion in research and development, expansion and product development globally in the last 10 years. For the past five years, its goal was to introduce a new product every six weeks.

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Mercury has spent about $100 million in the last 12 months on a new facility focused on reducing noise, vibration and harshness; a new electro-deposition paint facility; assembly lines for its V-6 and V-8 engines; and the commissioning of the largest high-pressure die-cast machine in North America.

The judges also noted the company’s strides in sustainability. By 2019, Mercury expects to reduce energy consumption by 45 percent and water usage by 30 percent from 2005 levels. Recent improvements to its Fond du Lac, Wis., HVAC systems will reduce energy consumption by 11 billion BTUs annually.

A new mist-collection system in the production facilities removes machining fluid from the air and returns clean air, rather than exhausting it. Mercury also installed 2,000 rooftop solar panels at its facility in Petit-Rechain, Belgium, which has reduced electricity costs by more than 30 percent.

In this video from OBEX 2018, Chris Drees, president, parts and accessories for Mercury Marine, discusses new initiatives for the P&A business.

This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue.

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