The purchasing process of toys for new builds

07 Jun
The purchasing process of toys for new builds



As yacht size has increased so have the demands on the purchasing team. To outfit a 50m+ yacht is not just a case of popping to your local chandlery and great care needs to be taken to select the right equipment and suppliers at the best price for the owner. The manner in which purchases are made has changed dramatically over the last decade. Management companies are now more involved in the process and yachts are more professionally run. Clearly defined roles and approvals processes are in place for all but the smallest of purchases.

Build teams on the larger yachts (excluding crew) often far exceed 10 people. If you walk into a build team office a few months from launch once crew start getting involved there can easily be 30 people all working up quotes, handling suppliers and working on procedures for drills and equipment. In an environment like this it is essential that purchasing procedures are in place to avoid duplication, maximise efficiency and ensure that nothing gets lost or forgotten in the process.

The quoting process can be a huge job for a yacht even with a team involved. Management companies often require 3 or more quotes to be returned and the time taken to research items, discuss specifications with the build team and the owner, find the best prices, check availability etc takes up a large amount of time. The bigger the boat the more equipment needed to go onboard and the bigger the team needed to stay on top of this.

Build teams on the larger yachts (excluding crew) often far exceed 10 people. If you walk into a build team office a few months from launch once crew start getting involved there can easily be 30 people all working up quotes, handling suppliers and working on procedures for drills and equipment. In an environment like this it is essential that purchasing procedures are in place to avoid duplication, maximise efficiency and ensure that nothing gets lost or forgotten in the process.

The quoting process can be a huge job for a yacht even with a team involved. Management companies often require 3 or more quotes to be returned and the time taken to research items, discuss specifications with the build team and the owner, find the best prices, check availability etc takes up a large amount of time. The bigger the boat the more equipment needed to go onboard and the bigger the team needed to stay on top of this.

As with everything, the earlier the tenders and toys are thought about the easier it is to allow for stowage and securing on board. Garages can be designed to make the most of all available space and require fewer compromises on the purchasing side. That said, as we all know in yachting almost anything is possible and SYTT have delivered full tender, toy and deck inventories on board in a matter of just a few weeks on occasion but compromises may need to be made in these circumstances due to availability of certain items. Trying to get 40 matching wetsuits in a variety of sizes at short notice can be harder than you think!

There are a variety of attitudes towards purchasing from build teams, and those that think ahead undoubtedly get a better result. Having an experienced build team makes a huge difference to the owners supply as items can get purchased in good time avoiding potential issues with late delivery. However, many items of loose deck equipment such as jetskis do not get purchased until much closer to the delivery date when budgets are finalised and junior officers join the vessel.

Purchasing Timeline

SYTT get involved with the purchasing process at various stages.  A rough timeline for purchasing for a typical 60- 140m could typically follow the stages below:

  • 18 -20 months prior to launch:  Tenders being discussed and ordered. Full custom limousine and open tenders take approx. 18 months to build.  Garage and crane details become key criteria here for the specification. If the tender is specified even earlier in the build of the yacht the garage can be customised to fit the tender of choice rather than the other way around.
  • If the yacht is not going along the custom designed tender route then this item could be purchased later, typically around 6 months prior to launch.
  • 12 months prior to launch:  Gym equipment, deck gear such as whips, cradles, safety gear, cranes, ropes. SYTT are also often asked to help design garage storage systems, racking,  power requirements for charging items etc and can provide cradles for jetskis etc to enable them to be moved around the garage with ease.
  • 6 months prior to launch:  Yacht toys, inflatables, watersports, Seabobs, jetpacks, kayaks, SUPs etc. This seems to be the point owners start to get interested! Custom or branded items need to be ordered in good time in order to fit them into a manufacturing schedule and get them shipped to the yacht. Even some production items have a longer than expected lead time due to the small numbers that are produced of some of the high-value items. As experts in this field SYTT are able to advise on lead times of all items and suggest alternatives where time is of the essence.
  • Delivery to the yacht:  Ideally this would be around 2-3 months prior to launch so that items can be checked by the crew, crew can be trained where necessary and then the items are exported with the yacht on delivery.  On export SYTT will handle all customs and paperwork to satisfy VAT and import responsibilities

Purchasing Options

There are two clear approaches taken by purchasing managers on superyachts:

  • Buy everything directly, handle directly with the factory and assume you are getting the best price;
  • Use an agent or specialist to handle much of the leg work

At the end of the day, most decisions are driven by price but many people wrongly assume that if they are using a specialist company to purchase from then the prices will be higher. SYTT expect to have pricing scrutinised and to be up against other quotes and for that reason they quote everything at the best price to get the deal from the beginning. Prices are always less than those quoted directly by the manufacturer and they offer invaluable assistance at all stages of the purchasing process and for the lifetime of the goods. Aftersales assistance is provided for all items at no extra cost, whether this be arranging to repair your Freestyle yacht slide, sourcing spare parts for a jetski, organising warranty repairs on a tender, or liaising over replacement cushions due to that frustrating guest wearing stilettos. Full newbuild toy packages can have equipment from over 100 manufacturers and handling all of this is a huge task with purchase costs running into the hundreds of thousands in this area alone. Having someone to handle all of this is therefore invaluable for a busy cruising yacht that is thrown straight into owner charters upon delivery.

Tender Specification and Purchase

The tender is one of the highest value owner’s supply items on board but for owners and owners’ representatives this can be an overwhelming and confusing item to specify. More and more manufacturers are seeing the superyacht market as a lucrative one to enter where they can potentially just raise the market price (and increase their profit margin) on boats previously offered in the leisure market. If you are looking to buy a new 8m RIB for a yacht there are now a vast number of manufacturers offering this.  Potentially over 100 brands and models, and only a minority of these would actually be recommended for use on a superyacht. Now consider the number of options for SOLAS tenders, Limousine tenders, Chase boats and Landing Crafts and the choices are endless. Everyone professes to offer the fastest, best built, and most awesome boats on the planet! Knowing who can deliver the right quality tender, within the given timescales and for the right price takes experience and this is an area in which SYTT excels and can save their clients huge amounts of time and money.

Many new tender builders are entering the market place and some of these are excellent  and can offer good value for money as they are eager to get into the industry and build up market share. A good example in the fully custom tender world, where a boat is designed exactly to the yacht’s requirements would be Cockwells. Previously building classic boats in the UK they now offer excellent value custom superyacht tenders  with comparable quality to some of the more well-known brands but with a more reasonable price tag.

There is a suitable builder for every budget and brief but matching owners’ expectations with builders’ capabilities takes in-depth knowledge of the market place and years of experience of building these boats. This therefore becomes an area where you need a company who handles the purchasing of these high-value items on a daily basis; negotiating contracts, specifications, on-site supervision of builds and regular inspections as well as a pre-delivery inspections. SYTT can propose all suitable tender options at a discounted price to that offered by builders directly and include considerable added value with all of the above services.

Taking all of this into consideration the world of purchasing on a superyacht can suddenly be seen to be a complex area that requires a huge amount of market knowledge, time and organisation.  By delegating this to a specialist company you can increase your efficiency, utilise purchasing power and get a much better overall result for the yacht and the owner.

The purchasing process of toys for new builds

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  • Louise Harrison
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    It pays to also think about delivery times for submersibles in the same manner as one considers the ordering of limousine tenders. To take delivery of a good quality, class-built submersible can take 12-24 months depending on how deep it is designed to go, and how many passengers it is designed to carry. Few submersible manufacturers are able to build large numbers of submersibles on spec (in part due to worldwide limitations in acrylic sphere production), so if a yacht owner wishes to purchase a submersible, they should consider ordering these at the same time as ordering their vessel.

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