VTT and Nautor create a new yacht production concept
Nautor Oy, a boatyard based at Pietarsaari in Finland, has started to manufacture a new type of 45-foot yacht. For this purpose the company joined forces with VTT to create a new business concept and network. Nautor made good use of VTT's expertise in the concept development process. To realise the new production model, Nautor transferred its unique expertise to five subcontracting firms. The outcome has been lower costs, faster production, improved delivery reliability and better build quality.
"Setting strategic goals is something new for Nautor. The companies in the new production network have to think about the business model in the same way. On the basis of a comprehensive survey we found the right partners among forward-looking companies with a vision of the future. VTT spurred us on and did the right things at the right time. It was essential to find ways to transfer our expertise to other companies of the network," explains Business Unit Director Torkel Tallqvist of Nautor Oy.
Nautor requires its subcontractors to possess specialised expertise and deep professionalism, and the companies have to adopt a growth-oriented approach to business. Nautor's orders may account for no more than half of the network subcontractors' net sales; when Nautor makes additional orders, the subcontractors must seek a corresponding increase in their order books from elsewhere. "This is intended to ensure that the companies can cope with any fluctuations in our orders."
The new Swan 45 yacht is Nautor's first one-design model, and the aim is that it will become a new racing class. The boat's performance characteristics are exceptional, and the owner can select only a few accessories. The company has built 5 boats so far and has orders for a further 26. "For the first year that's a very good start indeed."
Nautor has made 18-month framework agreements with the companies in the production network. The first boats were built on the basis of hourly billing, and the next ones will have fixed contract prices. The network's production process, quality system and financial management system are to be further developed. Tallqvist says that the aim is open books throughout the network, because the subcontractors' costs are costs for Nautor as well. The concept is very new for the companies involved and it will take time for them to get used to it.
The development of the Swan 45 production network was funded by the Ministry of Labour's National Workplace Development Programme. VTT, Central Ostrobotnia Technology Centre (KETEK) and Nelikon Oy were involved in the network's creation.
Nautor has earned a fine reputation for its custom-built 60-120-footer racing and cruising yachts. These boats are fast, easy to handle and fully equipped with the latest technology. They have retained a good resale value owing to the quality of their design and construction.
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