Covid 19 : Boating companies organise themselves according to their capacities

Fountaine-Pajot's production units are at a standstill

Containment measures related to the Covid 19 epidemic affect many European countries, impacting all boating. Cash flow, manpower, supply capacity... Companies are studying all the parameters to choose between closure and reduced activity. Overview of the information collected.

The Covid 19 outbreak has prompted governments in many countries to impose home containment measures. Travel is allowed only for essential activities, including travel to work if it cannot be done at home and if it is done in accordance with the imposed hygiene standards. The consequences in the nautical sector are variable and their translation varies from one company to another. We have tried to give an overview and explain these decisions.

Boating salespeople working from home

Commercial and administrative functions are the simplest to implement at home. For the past few weeks, sales managers have been teleworking. The cancellation of the boat shows had already lightened these activities. The technical and advisory support staff communicate with their customers by e-mail and telephone. For companies operating in BtoB, it is the same.

Opening of sites: the gap between large companies and small and medium sized companies in the boating industry

For jobs requiring visits to companies, the situation is more dependent on the type of company. Deck shops or marinas are closed in application of the law restricting the opening of public places to shops of primary necessity.

Other activities often act differently depending on their size. As far as the construction of pleasure boats is concerned, the largest shipyards have closed down, like the Bénéteau Group, Fountaine-Pajot, Dufour or Catana shipyards. The smaller structures are continuing their activity, usually with a reduced team, in order to be able to meet their order books. While the concern to protect employees is shared by the sector, financial capacities are not the same for everyone. A delayed order will have a greater impact for an SME delivering few boats during the year. "The yard, in consultation with its partners, in full compliance with health regulations, is continuing construction activity in order to best meet the commitments made in terms of delivery timing to customers," explains Eric Delas, Beacher yard manager on social networks.

Impact on logistics and equipment supply in the nautical industry

Production remains dependent on the supply of raw materials and equipment. Several equipment distributors have announced the closure of their warehouses, keeping only the sales department at home, suspending deliveries. There is a risk that the stock on the building sites will be rapidly depleted, leading to the end of production in the establishments that are still open. Protective masks, which are essential for operators working with composite materials, are now reserved for nursing staff.

Logistics at Plastimo

Cornelian choice for leaders

The difference in choice between companies is indicative of the disparity in the economic situations of yachting companies, between large groups and SMEs. Is it necessary to choose between employee health and company survival? If the answer is certainly no, the questioning on the concrete choices it implies remains open. The open question from the centre for young business leaders to Emmanuel Macron is proof of this. "To put it simply, which in your opinion is indispensable to the life of the country. What are the authorized professions? What are the forbidden professions?"

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