What Is Going On In Thomaston?
With rumors swirling and big personnel changes recently, you may have been wondering about the status of things at Lyman-Morse. We are still alive and well, and still building exceptional boats here in Thomaston! However, with the confluence of a slow economy and two projects that have been stopped in mid-stream, we are moving forward cautiously. As you may know, JB Turner is no longer with us, and we have re-structured from top to bottom. While our overall manpower has declined, we are still strong at 100 employees.
Two years ago we hired two consultants to help us with the financial and management aspects of the company. As a result we have altered our management style and changed key personnel. I want to assure you that we have not been operating in a vacuum, but moving with great care as it has affected some very nice people. We are now moving forward and thought we would share our vision with you.
The first major step has been to streamline our decision making process. Our project managers are now empowered to make decisions quickly, control the entire project, and be held accountable. This allows me to run the company and work on new projects and sales. This is an easy step as we have narrowed down to a very capable and smart group to lead the way.
Another big step has been to alter our accounting, estimation, and budgeting process. We have recently implemented a brand-new marine software to track and relay the financial aspects of all our projects. The new system will use the original estimate and track the hours, materials, updates, and allow more efficient tracking of time cards (hours), inventory, receiving, and above all billing.The importance of this system is to keep everyone informed on all aspects of the project and our owners will be able to access their account on line (eventually).
The words 'Lean and Mean' are used a lot in this economy. With these changes, we aim to make the company more efficient, but also strive to keep Lyman-Morse a pleasure to do business with. Over the last thirty-five years we have had fantastic customers and an excellent crew. Our goal is to keep these relationships - an efficient and well run workplace for our employees directly translates to satisfied customers.
We have a carbon sailboat under construction which continues to move along well. The amazing hydraulic system will run every aspect of the boat, and the rotating thruster for the main propulsion unit, a bow thruster, captive reel winch, Lithium Ion battery system, and hydraulic ram for the main sheet will truly make this a push-button boat. We will be launching her at the end of July - a one-of-a kind at the leading edge of interesting technology. There are not too many yards able to accomplish this and we are bringing in teams from England and Australia as we look for the best in the hydraulic and wireless business.
Our partnership with e Sailing Yachts is doing very well. We have just test-sailed the first two e33s on the St. George River. It is a fast, easy, and fun boat to sail. We hope to sell more as we finish up the third e33, and are working to develop the e27 and e44 models as well.
Despite the slowdown in the new construction side, our service yard continues to gain momentum. We tackled several large refits this past winter, and have a full workload this summer. We were at maximum capacity this past winter and are already filling up for 2010. The service yard crew is an integral part of our company and offers perhaps one of the most talented all around crew anywhere.
We're capitalizing on some of our key strengths and premier facilities to provide services outside the marine spectrum. We have opened up our metal fabrication shop to the outside world and have brought in some excellent projects. We have perhaps the nicest facility in Knox County and an exceptionally talented crew. We're also just wrapping up a major structural and cosmetic renovation on a historic sea captain's home here in Maine. Additionally, the ZeroBase (solar power generator) units are now in Haiti, on mountain tops in the Middle East, wintering at a camp in inland Maine, on an island in Penobscot Bay, and in various parts of the country being reviewed by various organizations. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
We are aiming to stay competitive in the new construction side with a line of semi-custom projects. We have molds from several extraordinary boats including:
· Ringleader- a 65' express sport fisherman,
· Whistler - a Hunt 54'cruiser
· Marquesa 54' - a Chuck Paine/Ed Joy long distance sailboat
· Mala Conducta - a Morelli & Melvin 62' catamaran
· Deerfoot 70 by Ulf Rogeberg - a sturdy long distant cruiser meant for high latitude sailing.
With these excellent molds we are poised to jump right in to building a yacht in less time for less money.
Unfortunately, the owner of the Deerfoot 70 has suffered financial setbacks, leaving the project with it 60% complete. We are now looking for someone who would like an exceptional Lyman-Morse built boat which can be available by next summer. There is some very good work that has been done on this boat so we hope someone will step forward. We can supply a complete set of plans and estimates. She has been built to provide safe high-latitude sailing as well as comfortable coastal cruising.
There have been many questions on who to contact with our new "look". We have not changed all that much, but our offices are emptier as the foremen are on the floor where they need and want to be. I've assembled a truly talented core group of people who are helping to lead us in the right direction.
· Steve Tofield: Customer Service
· Drew Lyman: Service Yard
· Scott Layton: Brokerage
· Bill Belyea: Chief Project Manager
· Bruce Hopkins: CFO
Of course, you are always welcome to contact me, too.
The marine business worldwide is undergoing rocky times and we are no exception. We have a lot to offer. With this restructuring, we will be in a better position to guide our customers to successful conclusions of their projects. We're persevering, but another new boat on order would get us completely on track for the next year!