Undoubtedly, over the years while operating KKMI, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot – sometimes over matters which we could have foreseen but didn’t do enough to get in front of. In such circumstances, we’ve worked not only to rectify the mistake, but we also made sure that whoever was impacted by our error was offered a sincere apology. Well, please allow me to offer another mea culpa.
This acknowledgement of fault relates to the difficulties that KKMI, and so many other companies, are dealing with in terms of meeting the needs of our clients. The root of which can be attributed to two basic elements: the lack of human resources (skilled labor) and the shortage of materials.
Never in our company’s history have we experienced such difficulty in building our team with the necessary skilled craftspeople on which we depend. Then add supply chain shortages and distribution bottlenecks to the mix and we suddenly have our hands full. Yet you as a client, rightfully so, expect things to be as they’ve been in the past.
Unfortunately, this is where the real issue hinges going forward… these circumstances, many of which existed prior to the pandemic, are not going to be remedied by our offering an apology. These are long term obstacles that are going to take time to correct. How long? Frankly, I have no idea.
When it comes to the skilled craftspeople we employ, the industry has been losing highly skilled people at a far greater rate than one can train and develop such skilled individuals. We’re not talking in terms of months or few years; in some cases, we are talking a decade or more. The good news is there’s more discussion going on at a local level so that we will be training a workforce through formal vocational schooling. The wheels on this process take a long time to get rolling and it’s going to be a while before the local maritime industry will enjoy the fruits of these efforts. At least there’s something being done to alleviate this problem and KKMI is looking forward toward playing an important role in these programs.
The matters of getting the needed materials is more complicated and KKMI’s ability to impact these issues is more difficult and elusive to resolve. As an example, let’s look at the issues surrounding bottom paint. For years our “go to” antifouling paint has been Trinidad SR. This product has not only changed in its formulation but also in the process, stock has been a struggle to maintain, with some colors becoming unavailable.
Unfortunately, the problems go well beyond bottom paint. Just about every material we need has either become harder to get, has become more costly or both. Delivery dates from our vendors are equally mysterious in their accuracy, which impacts our ability to schedule just about every aspect of our business. For example, a set of propellers that previously might have taken a week to arrive, now takes months. In the meantime, the boat sits in the yard. The owner is unhappy because they can’t use their boat, and KKMI isn’t happy because we can’t finish that project. So the boat sits, and we don’t have space in the yard to accommodate the next client with a reservation – the domino effect of this goes on and on.
As with most things in life, if you have a problem, you’d better be working on a solution, as complaining about it doesn’t fix a thing. So I will offer a few thoughts as to how you as a boat owner can help yourself and lessen the possibility of KKMI offering another mea culpa. First, please get your work list of what you’d like to have done on your boat into our hands as soon as you schedule your yard time. If we can get a head start on lining up the materials, this is a huge help. Similarly, if we can be lining up the craftspeople to work on your vessel, prior to its arrival, this also helps tremendously.
Next, please be prepared for us to review your work list and possibly explain that we may be unable to provide a specific product or service that you’d like at this time due to the lack of materials…like the propellers I mentioned earlier.
No doubt, with so many people aching to get outside after a year of being cooped up, the demand for goods and services has grown well beyond the supply. This in many ways is good for our industry, as well as others. With this growth has come these consequences; please know KKMI is doing our best to overcome these situations. Should we fail to do so, please feel free to let me know. Not only will I try to address the problem at hand, but I will also offer my apology, mea culpa, again.
See you on the waterfront.
KKMI is your one stop full service Northern California and San Francisco Bay Area boatyard providing unbeatable service, competitive prices, and outstanding workmanship. Specializing in boat bottom paint, boat hauling and storage, boat carpentry, fiberglass gelcoat and repair, rigging and much more, KKMI’s North Bay Boatyard location in Sausalito and East Bay location in Point Richmond are here to serve all of your Bay Area boating needs. For great prices and service you can trust, make KKMI your SF Bay Area and Northern California boatyard specialist and give us a call today.