April | May 2020

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GUEST LEADER by Hervé Gastinel

>> COVID-19 - The Way Forward 

The major threat facing our industry during this difficult period is allowing it to come to a complete stop. With no doubt, ensuring employee safety and complying with government instructions should be an absolute priority.

However, we all know the cost of a standstill which goes far beyond the immediate – and very painful – financial impact on already fragile industrial and distribution businesses. The deep and long-lasting disruption that it creates is the major risk in this context: resuming production and returning people to work, ensuring strong standards of quality and efficiency and a smooth supply chain, maintaining client morale and their appetite for non-essential expenditures is a very complex equation, and no one should underestimate the time and cost required in restoring the business to cruising speed.

”This is a time when we should spend wisely working on the future of the boating business.”

Therefore we should learn from, and support the initiatives of all those who across the world are managing to maintain a minimum level of activity: manufacturers (boatbuilders and equipment suppliers) in Poland, Germany, the US, Scandinavia, Taiwan and some other countries; and distributors in most countries (Europe, USA, APAC). These companies are doing their best to sustain momentum and are using this period to improve their operations (finishing and shipping boats, maintaining their plants and troubleshooting problem areas,servicing boats to be ready for the start of the season – whenever that may be – launching marketing initiatives – mostly digital at this time – and even virtual boat shows). There is an amazing wealth of remarkable and inspiring actions across the industry which should be praised and built on.

Keeping at work, even in a limited way, is the only option to stay alive and bring financial solidarity to a deeply affected marine community. And let’s not forget that this is also a time we should spend wisely working on the future of the boating business, as a lot will need to be changed in the aftermath of this terrible turmoil.


HERVÉ GASTINEL was appointed CEO of Groupe Beneteau in August 2015 and oversaw the expansion of the business for the next four years, which resulted in the introduction ofnumerous new models and the company’s total sales increasing from €970m to €1.34bn. He leftthe company in June of last year. Gastinel will be contributing further thoughts in the next issue of IBI on how the industry has reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic and what he considers its future might look like in the wake of the crisis.


IBI, along with the rest of the industry, is battling on in these difficult times. There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as countries begin talk of lifting lockdowns and debate the ways out of this troubling situation. As always we’ll keep the industry briefed on developments via our website and daily newsletter and will be endeavouring to engage with our audience on another level with a series of webinars debating the key issues of the day, details of which we’ll announce soon. Thanks to Hervé for his insight above and we’ll be garnering similar input from other industry leaders going forward. Stay well and stay in touch.

Ed Slack | IBI Editor

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