A 'new' Beneteau comes off the line in the newly renovated Marion Factory
By Steffani A. Nolte
Published: February 11, 2010
Updated: February 11, 2010
MARION—To create the floating dream, that is the goal of Beneteau USA’s factory in Marion.
“It’s a floating dream because somebody that buys what we create and what we provide has to be dreaming about it for a long time. It’s a huge investment, its more expensive than most people invest in their houses they have to dream about it for years,” Wayne Burdick, Beneteau USA President said.
“It’s their vehicle that they use to go out on God’s great ocean to enjoy time with their family.”
Beneteau USA has been manufacturing these “floating works of art” for 25 years.
Burdick said the finished product is one of the biggest benefits of working for Beneteau.
“People don’t work for money, they work for pride, they work for sense of fulfillment,” Burdick said.
The France based company has been in business since 1884. It was founded by Benjamin Beneteau and has remained a family company and is currently being run by Benjamin’s Granddaughter Madame Annette Beneteau Roux.
“Madame Roux will always ask about the people, how are the people and what are their concerns?” Burdick said.
Beneteau prides itself on being a family company. Burdick said last year was a difficult time and they remembered to take care of the people first.
“We could have done things differently and saved a bunch of money but the reality is you have to be concerned about the people and the family first. We are here in a very special community and Marion needs us and we need our team to be successful,” Burdick said.
“We have some amazing people, simply amazing, their talented, their skilled, their appreciative, their motivated because they want Beneteau to succeed,” Jennifer Reinman, Director of Human Resources said.
The Marion Beneteau family currently has 150 employees. That is after 30 production team members were laid off last February because sales had fallen to new historic lows.
“We’ve treated them well and they’ve stepped up to the plate and they want us to succeed and we will. It’s that conservative community oriented attitude,” Reinman said.
Beneteau reports that sales have improved significantly from last year, though it will take years to be up to what sales used to be.
“It’s going to take quite a while for people to have that confidence again and its not that the money has disappeared, the doctors still have the money and the attorneys still have the money and the big cheeses still have the money, it’s that they are more conservative with how they think about it. They need their confidence to come back and know the world is going to be ok,” Burdick said.
Despite tough economic times Beneteau is continuing to make history. Last week their largest boat left Charleston to head to the Miami boat show.
The 50 ft., injected deck boat is positive for the environment and positive for the physical characteristics of the boat itself and then it also gets a better finish that’s a huge investment and leap forward, Burdick said.
Beneteau’s goal is to continue to make improvements and provide a better value to their customers.
Originally published in http://www.scnow.com/ as Beneteau USA moving forward after low sales
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