Interview / Mercury Marine: A defector of the automobile delivers his vision of boating

Mercury outboard engine

How do we perceive water sports and pleasure boating when we arrive from the car? Erwan Beros, new after-sales service manager at Mercury Marine France, recently arrived from PSA, shares his experience.

Erwan Beros took over responsibility for the after-sales service of Mercury Marine France in August 2018. With a background in the automotive industry, he shares with the readers of BoatIndustry his perception of the yachting and boating world with a fresh eye.

Can you tell us about your career path before joining the after-sales service department of Mercury Marine France?

After a DESS in automotive engineering, I worked for 15 years at PSA, always in the field of after-sales service. Initially, I worked on the preparation of after-sales service during the vehicle design phase, to ensure that spare parts and repair methods were available when the model was released. I then moved on to a position in incident and breakdown summary. This involved managing the feedback from the thousands of outlets in the network to understand what they did and what they had to deal with in the event of breakdowns. Finally, I managed a network technical support platform for the Asia Pacific network, which assists dealers in responding to issues.

What made you want to come into boating?

I had the feeling, perhaps a little presumptuous, of having been around the car, and the desire to discover a new world. Not to mention a passion, marine engines are products that have always appealed to me. They are attractive technologies with nice noises. From a personal point of view, I also wanted to leave the Paris region.

What are for you the most striking differences with the automobile when you get into boating?

The first is the difference in the size of the structure, whether in front office or back office. For my job at PSA, there were 100 people. The size of the dealerships is also very different.

The automobile is a finished product. The cars that come out are identical. In boating, we have a lot of prototyping. All boats are different. It's more craftsmanship.

On the network side, there is a big difference in terms of autonomy and maturity. In the automotive sector, there are standardised and proven intervention methods. In yachting, there is a greater need for dealer assistance and support, which is partly due to turnover, youth and staff training.

What is also striking is the passion for the brand and the product. These are often family businesses that have a history with Mercury Marine. There is a pride in the brand. It's less about simple profitability like in car dealerships.

Mercury Test Laboratory

What do you think you can bring with your experience? Do you think that dealerships in the yachting sector should move towards the car model?

A first element is to provide training adapted to the needs to meet the demands we receive daily, for example for spare parts. There are important differences with more references and several models for the same power. The idea is to make things simpler to give more autonomy to the dealer. My role is to be dispensed with!

We must also help the dealer structure his business and workshop. This can be done through the Mercury Marine uniform or the organization of technical information. The idea is to create a business for him. We also need to go and see them on field trips.

For the rest, not everything that is done in the car should be done in the water. I'm not convinced that we need big cathedrals like Audi or Mercedes. We must keep an industry made up of passion and enthusiasts.

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