Author Topic: How to ruin a boat.  (Read 4863 times)

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Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
How to ruin a boat.
« on: February 16, 2017, 03:09 PM »
About 2 weeks ago we finished another boat interior and usually we varnish it ourselves. The reason for this is simple, you get the best quality when a shipwright varnishes his/her own work. However, due to the amount of work we have the owner of the company decided to hire a house painter to varnish this one. We all (the shipwrights) warned him not to do this because painting a house is completely different from varnishing a yacht interior. We told him there's an 80% change it has to be re-done and we were proven correctly. The painter did a truly hideous job and now everything has to be sanded back to bare wood and re-varnished. When we warned the owner of the company not to take this route we also told him we're not going to re-do the entire interior and we're sticking to our guns. You want to dismiss our warning, that's fine. Just don't expect us to correct your mistake.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3633
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 03:17 PM »
Is the young lady apprentice still there?

Offline antss

  • Posts: 930
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 03:18 PM »
I agree with your stance in principle, but as an employee, I'm not sure that's the best attitude.

If it's a client/customer then , ok.  I'd still offer to fix it for 3 to 4x our normal rate WHEN I have an opening.  Which could be next week or next quarter.  Then it's his decision that the economics aren't worth it not a refusal on your part to not help.

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 04:07 PM »
Is the young lady apprentice still there?
Yes, she is and she's doing very well. I can see her develop into a very good shipwright.

I agree with your stance in principle, but as an employee, I'm not sure that's the best attitude.
He has 4 highly skilled shipwrights with each a minimum of 20 years of experience working for him and he dismissed everything we said. We're not doing it no matter what he says. If he doesn't like it he can fire us and close the company.

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3438
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 06:00 PM »
You want to dismiss our warning, that's fine. Just don't expect us to correct your mistake.

Why did the owner decide to hire this painter? Were there other more qualified painters available? is he the owner under pressure to complete the project at a lower price or much faster than originally agreed to?
Is
It sounds like the relationship between the staff and the owner has gotten very acrimonious.
This will not end well for either party. As the skilled labour, he needs you and presumably you need him, could you not negotiate a reasonable solution such as finding a qualified person to execute the work that you don't have time to do etc.
Tim

Offline AtomicRyan

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Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 07:25 PM »
The owner is the king of his domain. And it is HIS domain, not yours. In my mind, the instant an employee gives me an ultimatum is the instant that employee is handed walking papers.

Now, that doesn't mean he's in the right and you are in the wrong. It just means that rather than threatening the owner, you need to start looking for another job... and take control of your own domain.

Offline bobfog

  • Posts: 796
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 07:55 PM »
All hail the shipwrights!

Shipwrights
God
Jesus
Mother Teresa

Has the female apprentice got to the point she's running rings round us all yet? Pray tell...

Online Wooden Skye

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Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 09:19 PM »
I hope you put it to the owner a little more diplomatically.  If the owner has so much work that he has to get someone else to finish, maybe he should hire someone specific to the task, because this could be a costly mistake.
Bryan

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Offline RKA

  • Posts: 835
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 10:03 PM »
It may not have worked out, but he's not necessarily wrong either.  How much does it cost to employ a shipwright with 20 years of experience?  How much to employ a house painter?  I suspect there is room in the middle to find a better painter.  These are the things business owners have to work out.
-Raj

Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 10:13 PM »
Dear Nose,

I'm cutting you off. 

Sincerely,

Face

Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 10:14 PM »
It may not have worked out, but he's not necessarily wrong either.  How much does it cost to employ a shipwright with 20 years of experience?  How much to employ a house painter?  I suspect there is room in the middle to find a better painter.  These are the things business owners have to work out.

Exactly.

Offline johnbro

  • Posts: 124
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 12:17 AM »
About 2 weeks ago we finished another boat interior and usually we varnish it ourselves. The reason for this is simple, you get the best quality when a shipwright varnishes his/her own work.

That's an interesting conjecture--what's it based on? I know in the large commercial boat yard I used to work with they had specialists who just did paint and varnish--these were multi-million dollar yachts so the level of finish was very high quality. But the other tradespeople (cabinet makers, composite folks, electricians, etc--all shipwrights of a fashion) didn't do varnish.

Offline Untidy Shop

  • Posts: 2503
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 12:27 AM »
The owner is the king of his domain. And it is HIS domain, not yours. In my mind, the instant an employee gives me an ultimatum is the instant that employee is handed walking papers.

Now, that doesn't mean he's in the right and you are in the wrong. It just means that rather than threatening the owner, you need to start looking for another job... and take control of your own domain.

It may not have worked out, but he's not necessarily wrong either.  How much does it cost to employ a shipwright with 20 years of experience?  How much to employ a house painter?  I suspect there is room in the middle to find a better painter.  These are the things business owners have to work out.

Agree with both these sentiments. In the past I have been the 'boss', now I am an employee. It's great when employees make suggestions for improvement or solving issues, rather than becoming the problem themselves.

Is this your reaction to a single 'bad' day, or is it the culmination of longer brewing issues? If there is no respect either way, something has to give. Him or you! If you cannot discuss and work this through then take control of your destany before, as a worst case,  he either sacks you or the business closes.

Is he cutting corners here due to business growth or decline? If decline you should also consider your options for employment elsewhere. If growth, can not you and your fellow workers negotiate with him the employment of a person specialising in marine varnishing? That would leave you and your fellow shiprights the time to concentrate on; well on shiprighting.   [smile]

What ever you decide, best wishes for the future.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 12:46 AM by Untidy Shop »
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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 439
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 10:03 AM »
About 2 weeks ago we finished another boat interior and usually we varnish it ourselves. The reason for this is simple, you get the best quality when a shipwright varnishes his/her own work. However, due to the amount of work we have the owner of the company decided to hire a house painter to varnish this one. We all (the shipwrights) warned him not to do this because painting a house is completely different from varnishing a yacht interior. We told him there's an 80% change it has to be re-done and we were proven correctly. The painter did a truly hideous job and now everything has to be sanded back to bare wood and re-varnished. When we warned the owner of the company not to take this route we also told him we're not going to re-do the entire interior and we're sticking to our guns. You want to dismiss our warning, that's fine. Just don't expect us to correct your mistake.

I hope that you were more diplomatic, but...

I also understand that the owner showed disrespect for your expertise and judgment, and now expects you to do the work to cover his assets.  If it looks like it's going to become a pattern, I'd look for a new owner.  If he is properly contrite and willing to change, I'd cut him some slack.  Sometimes you have to train the bosses, and a trainable boss should not be abandoned lightly.

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1901
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 12:25 PM »
As a side note, can you post pictures so we can see the varnish work?  Just curious what went wrong. Also, I learn from my mistakes and from others making mistakes.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 01:53 PM »
There was an interesting development today. The shipyard is actually owned by a couple and his wife does all the accounting stuff. She paid us a visit this morning and told us she also warned him not to hire a house painter to do the work of a specialised yacht painter. She sided with us because she has the numbers on what this mistake is going to cost the company. Basically, he thought he was being smart by hiring a cheap house painter to varnish a yacht interior. He didn't tell his wife and made the decision by himself. She fully understands why we're p1ssed off. We put a lot of effort into this interior because the client only accepts absolute perfection. She asked us if we're willing to re-varnish the interior as a favour to her and she's going to throw in a small bonus. She also told us she's been in contact with a yacht painter who's going to do all the varnishing starting with the next interior. We all know this yacht painter because the yacht building business is a very small world in the north of The Netherlands and we know he delivers top quality.

This will not end well for either party. As the skilled labour, he needs you and presumably you need him
We don't need him. There's a high shortage of skilled shipwrights because this is not the kind of work most kids want to do nowadays. They want some cushy office job with a useless job title instead of working with their hands and creating something from scratch. I only have to make a few calls and I can start somewhere else within 3 days.

The owner is the king of his domain. And it is HIS domain, not yours. In my mind, the instant an employee gives me an ultimatum is the instant that employee is handed walking papers.
It's a simple case of supply and demand. The demand for skilled shipwrights is much higher than the supply. Good luck finding 4 shipwrights with our experience who are so tuned into each other. We're the reason the yard is doing so well and making a nice profit.

I hope you put it to the owner a little more diplomatically.

We're not very diplomatic [tongue]

That's an interesting conjecture--what's it based on?
A shipwright who received a traditional training is also trained in varnishing. Over here it's more or less expected a shipwright delivers the same quality as a specialised yacht painter. There is one difference though. You can't catch everything the first time (maybe you missed some dried glue in a dark corner or some pencil lines) and you can correct the small things you missed as you come across them during varnishing. A yacht painter will just go over it because he/she doesn't look at an interior the same way as we do.

Is this your reaction to a single 'bad' day, or is it the culmination of longer brewing issues?

Is he cutting corners here due to business growth or decline?
He's made some dumb decisions before that ended up costing the company a lot of money. This was the last straw for us and also for his wife. He promised us that from now on he will listen to us. Time will tell if he's serious.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 04:07 PM by Lemwise »

Online greg mann

  • Posts: 1782
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 03:55 PM »
Well it's one thing to p1ss you guys off and another to p1ss off the wife.  [doh]
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1901
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 03:56 PM »
Well it's one thing to p1ss you guys off and another to p1ss off the wife.  [doh]
  Um... Wisely said... [wink]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2017, 04:53 PM »
And let me tell you she's not happy. She also wants to take a more active role in the company now to avoid something like this happening again. Given her insistence on budget control, a well structured company and planning ahead this is a good thing. All in all I think this fiasco is going to lead to some positive changes.

Offline antss

  • Posts: 930
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2017, 04:58 PM »
Are you sure who is really the boss in this operation ?

I'm thinking there is about to be a change in upper management .   ;D


oh, and I'd hold out for more than a "small" bonus.

Offline rst

  • Posts: 1421
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2017, 05:14 PM »
"do you want to talk to the BOSS or the person in charge???"  [wink] 
 right up there with..."It's not that I don't hear you: I'm ignoring you". 
"our hourly rate is $45.00, $55.00 if you watch, and $75.00 if you tried to fix it yourself before bringing it here"

all signs hanging above our keys & machines in our retail shop
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 05:19 PM by rst »

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3438
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2017, 06:20 PM »
She asked us if we're willing to re-varnish the interior as a favour to her and she's going to throw in a small bonus. She also told us she's been in contact with a yacht painter who's going to do all the varnishing starting with the next interior. We all know this yacht painter because the yacht building business is a very small world in the north of The Netherlands and we know he delivers top quality.

Good to hear.

There's a high shortage of skilled shipwrights because this is not the kind of work most kids want to do nowadays. They want some cushy office job with a useless job title instead of working with their hands and creating something from scratch.

Yes, and parents who discourage their kids doing skilled labor. It's pathetic really, the kids can't pay their university loans off because they can't find a job in marketing or media etc., but don't want to work as electricians, carpenters or cabinetmakers etc.
Tim

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2017, 06:45 PM »
Are you sure who is really the boss in this operation ?

I'm thinking there is about to be a change in upper management .   ;D


oh, and I'd hold out for more than a "small" bonus.
Even though she mostly works from home (she comes to the company once a week) we always suspected she's the one behind a lot of decisions. From now on she's going to come in at least 3 days a week so she can keep a close eye on things. And I will say this about her, she commands respect... and she's made it abundantly clear she has no time for BS'ing around.

Offline Holmz

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Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2017, 06:50 PM »
It may loose something in the translation, but she may "give him a shellacking "?

Offline DB10

  • Posts: 824
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2017, 07:10 PM »
She asked us if we're willing to re-varnish the interior as a favour to her and she's going to throw in a small bonus. She also told us she's been in contact with a yacht painter who's going to do all the varnishing starting with the next interior. We all know this yacht painter because the yacht building business is a very small world in the north of The Netherlands and we know he delivers top quality.

Good to hear.

There's a high shortage of skilled shipwrights because this is not the kind of work most kids want to do nowadays. They want some cushy office job with a useless job title instead of working with their hands and creating something from scratch.

Yes, and parents who discourage their kids doing skilled labor. It's pathetic really, the kids can't pay their university loans off because they can't find a job in marketing or media etc., but don't want to work as electricians, carpenters or cabinetmakers etc.
Tim

Very true but Unfortunately self entitlement and getting your hands dirty don't work we'll together.

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2017, 03:18 PM »
Well, the real boss isn't wasting any time. From now on we're going to have a short meeting every Monday morning to start the week. She wants to know what we're going to work on that week, what has to be finished that week, does anything have to be ordered, that sort of thing. Basically, she's going to introduce some much needed structure. No more guesstimating but weekly goals. It's not a problem for me because I'm used to it from other shipyards (Feadship, Royal Huisman, Mulder Shipyard) but I wonder how well the others will adapt.

Offline Tim Raleigh

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    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2017, 04:51 PM »
Basically, she's going to introduce some much needed structure. No more guesstimating but weekly goals.
She sounds like she has had enough with "seat of the pants" managing. Hopefully she can stick with it.

It's not a problem for me because I'm used to it from other shipyards (Feadship, Royal Huisman, Mulder Shipyard) but I wonder how well the others will adapt.
They will probably like it or at least adapt unless there was someone who was enjoying certain privileges or manipulating the the situation to their personal benefit over others.
Chaos is OK when you are innovating or creating something brand new or for short periods, but if it's everyday it starts to makes you irritable, less able to focus and less productive. I think, structure and stability actually makes you more creative not less.
Tim

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2017, 05:13 PM »
To be honest I liked the seat of the pants managing style of her husband because it gave us a lot of freedom (too much if I'm honest). But if we really want to move forward there needs to be structure and we all acknowledge that. It's also a good thing for our apprentice because she will learn to work with targets and deadlines.


Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2017, 07:56 PM »
Even more changes have been made today. We never had a lead shipwright (or a lead mechanic or lead painter) but today I was appointed as the lead shipwright. She wants one person in each department who she can coordinate things with.

Offline antss

  • Posts: 930
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2017, 10:18 PM »
Sounds like you've finally found someone with management skills.

I'm at a loss as to how you guys lasted this long without having a weekly production meeting.

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1901
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2017, 10:25 PM »
Sounds like you've finally found someone with management skills.

I'm at a loss as to how you guys lasted this long without having a weekly production meeting.
. Oh, I'm not..... I've worked more than one job that was managed this way.  The only way he could have a 'more interesting ' workday is if both husband and wife assigned jobs to people that totally contradicted each of their orders.... in a small family business, been there , done that ..... [big grin]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2017, 04:27 AM »
Well, that's simple. Everyone at the company is in their late 30's or early 40's (I'm turning 41 this year). We've all been doing this so long that we know exactly how long it takes and what we need to do the technical installation or make the interior. We basically managed ourselves.

Another change is that the yacht painter she talked with is also joining us. He was self employed but he's signed a contract and he's going to set up the paint department. Everything paint related will be done in-house from now on.

The only thing I don't get is why it took her so long to take the reins. The fiasco with the house painter who varnished the interior wasn't the first costly mistake her husband made.

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3438
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2017, 05:31 PM »
The only thing I don't get is why it took her so long to take the reins. The fiasco with the house painter who varnished the interior wasn't the first costly mistake her husband made.

A good example of why it's never a good idea to have a significant other or relatives in the business. Difficult to go home at night if you only discuss the bad stuff the other partner did or didn't do. Working with your significant other and/or relatives is good way to bootstrap a business, but fails at creating a professional environment that employees can respect.
Tim

Offline antss

  • Posts: 930
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2017, 06:19 PM »
I'm curious whether your boss started out as a shipwright or other craftsman ?  Clearly he's not a professional manager.

Offline Lemwise

  • Posts: 205
Re: How to ruin a boat.
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2017, 06:45 PM »
They used to own a boat rental company but that went bankrupt during the financial crisis. The shipyard they now own also went out of business and they took over. I guess her husband thought renting out boats is no different from building boats. And even though there is room for a lot of improvement in how the company is managed past clients have always been more than satisfied with the boats we built for them. We're also swamped with work and can't even take on new builds until the end of 2018. We have a 2 year waiting list for new clients.

And I will say this about them, we always have our salary on time. They'd rather make a supplier wait a bit longer on their money than be late with our salary. I have to give them credit for that.