The 2018 METS Breakfast Briefing ceremony was held this in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. On this occasion, Hervé Gastinel, Groupe Beneteau’s Chief Executive Officer, delivered a speech in which he shared his thoughts and experiences about innovation and industry trends.
Hervé Gastinel highlighted three strategic areas of the Group’s global transformation plan called Transform to Perform and on which innovation has a great role to play: product development, service innovation and manufacturing transformation.
“I’d like to focus this morning on 3 main areas for innovation in product development: connectivity, easy boating and sustainable boating.
Last year we launched a major innovation called SHIP CONTROL. (…) It lets you control all of the boat’s functions, ranging from safety to on-board comfort. We are rolling out this innovation as standard (…) and actively working on the connected boat concept, a bot that you’re able to control remotely using a dedicated App on your mobile phone.
The other major trend is the concept of easy boating. It means connected boats that become more autonomous. (…) The anti-collision system adds safety to your navigation; the self-docking system adds simplicity to your manoeuvres, especially in ports; and predictive maintenance helps prevent unexpected equipment failures, records all the performed operations in the online maintenance book and brings more repeat business to dealers” said Hervé Gastinel.
He insisted on sustainability: “For boatbuilders and equipment manufacturers, it means entering into a life-cycle assessment approach that will take into consideration use patterns, recycling and disposal of the boats. France is pioneering in this field with a law on boat disposal entering into force in January 2019. I believe the rest of Europe will move in that direction too in the coming years. My message to you is that we all need to adapt fast to that by taking a more proactive role.”
He touched upon alternative, cleaner propulsion systems such as electric, hybrid and fuel cell technologies, stressing the importance of a life cycle approach to understand well the environmental impacts at each stage of the product life.
Looking at innovation in services, he explained that far from being a threat, he saw the digital transformation as a formidable enabler to accelerate innovation and force companies in the boating industry to become more user-centric. He added that it will help attracting newcomers and younger customers who give priority to their experience over ownership. The complete care leasing offer Leasyboat, the Beneteau Boat Club and the Jeanneau’s alliance with Freedom Boat Club, the partnership with Sailtime were quoted as examples of the Group’s initiatives in this field. He added that the online service platform Band of Boats has been recently strengthened by the acquisition of the French startup Digital Nautic.
The third priority of the Group is the manufacturing transformation.
“The recent changes in world trade combined with foreign exchange variations have forced us to take another look at our global, free trade-based approach to business. I have decided to develop a more regional approach to our boating business. The objective is to operate our brands globally while securing locally a larger amount of production for every regional market, he explained.”
He concluded with an open invitation to the Tech Days that are organized every 2 months by the Groupe Beneteau: companies are invited to pitch their innovations to the Group’s senior executives, the brand leaders and the engineering teams.