Boat Building Industry Internet Applications Folder

Recreational Boat Building Industry

Internet Applications Folder

This page provides examples of how other industries are utilizing the internet that might have marine applications.

Discussion of Other Areas of this Site

Marine Internet Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer(B2C) Applications

See our Boating Internet B2B/B2C Page.

Mercury Marine Web Site Review

24 June 1997 we reviewed the just released and long awaited Mercury Marine web site. Many of our comments apply to other boating industry web sites and can be used to stimulate conversations about possibilities for your own site. The Mercury Marine site review is on the Mercury Marine Web Site Report and Review Page in the Brunswick Icon.

Ford Internet / Intranet Applications

The November 18, 1996 issue of the Wall Street Journal included a special Technology Section. One of those articles, "Behind the Wheel" describes several applications Ford is making of internet / intranet technology and especially how it is helping engineering groups around the world to work together.

Discussion of Some Specific Web Sites

Don't forget to browse our Webmaster Links Page. Links to the sites below as well as to many webmaster resources are provided there.

The Port of New Orleans site has a great Java applet of a rocking boat logo.

The Transportation Resources site promotes the use of java on Transportation web sites.

The NKK - Japan site makes great use of file folder for a multilingual application.

Lagoon Cat is another multilingual site using flags to change between languages.

Miscellaneous Items and Ideas

New Xtranet for Marine Power Europe (Mercury Marine)

Marine Power Europe (Mercury Marine) has established an 8 language extranet for dealing with their sales agents and others in Europe. An article titled An Extranet That Works in Eight Languages appeared in Web Week 12 May 1997. The article describes the systems operation and tell that Mercury expects to test run a similar U.S. system very soon.

Boating Safety Training Online

4 Feb 1997 Nautical Know How provides a great online boating safety course. This is an excellent example of using the web as a training tool.


The special technlogy section of the November 18, 1996 Wall Street Journal (pages R28 and R31) talks about Chief Knowledge Officers, harnessing corporate knowledge, knowlege leveraging consultants and other related areas. It also focuses on the idea of capturing your corporate knowledge and making it available via intranets. That section of the article is reproduced below.

A New Class of Worker Arises
To Manage Firms' Know-How


When Gordon Petrash joined Dow Chemical Co. as a young project engineer, his career goal never was to become the company's "director of global intellectual asset and capital management."

And later, as a manager of the business that produces Dow products such as Ziploc bags and Styrofoam, he didn't envision spending his days convincing group vice presidents about the importance of "visualizing their knowledge processes."

So when he was asked to take on the new job as the company's knowledge chief, he agreed only reluctantly, and vowed to move on within two years. Four years later, however, Mr. Petrash can barely contain his enthusiasm and is pushing Dow to vastly expand its commitment to "knowledge management."

"Talk about catching the wave," the 46-year-old Mr. Petrash says from his office at Dow's headquarters in Midland, Mich. "Companies are leapfrogging others based on their intellectual assets. If a company is not addressing these things, it's running a very high risk, because a lot of other companies are."

(the middle of the article is deleted for space and copyright concerns)

Knowing the Know-How

Patents, trademarks and copyrights are easy, however, compared with the intangible "know-how" that makes a company competitive. In a pilot project involving three of Dow's businesses, Mr. Petrash brought together heads of the units, along with research engineers, manufacturing managers, patent attorneys and marketing teams to identify the 200 to 300 most important technical processes at Dow. Then, to document the information, the teams used a template similar to the one used in the application process for patents.

"This is the know-how we want all of our business guys to have," Mr. Petrash says. "We're putting it in a very abbreviated form they can quickly grasp. We're talking one page, the four to five keys to their business. In many cases, that key know-how is the reason we're in that business."

By the end of the year, Mr. Petrash expects a commitment from Dow's top executives to expand the project companywide. Then he plans to move on to capture Dow's marketing knowledge, sales knowledge and customer knowledge.

"In the end, we want to have all of the key know-how that gives us our competitive advantage articulated and databased," he says. "Then we can visualize it. Then we can measure it. Then we can improve it."

--Mr. Bank is a staff reporter in The Wall Street Journal's San Francisco bureau.

List of Coming Attractions

We will soon discuss some of the more relevant tools (web cams, internet telephones, desktop conferencing, white boards, real time test data sharing, remote control of prototypes or testing, real time sound, etc) and how these might be applied in this industry in both intranet and internet applications. Also, if you want to read ahead, check out the Weird Things Connected to the Internet segment of the Webmaster Links page. Try to imagine how you might apply some of these tools and methods to your situation.

Virtual Reality Marine Graphics (Vinyl Boat Name Re-lettering)

Marine Graphics, a firm that creates vinyl boat names for re-lettering boats, uses the tools of the web to show you their various fonts and eventually exactly how the finished job would look on your boat (from a scanned photo). Its one of the first boat related industry web sites to get this level of interaction with their product before the sale.

Engineering Use of the Web

The October 18th 1996 issue of Machine Design has a great landmark article titled, "The Web Ships Up Waves Of Change", that does a great job of illustrating some of the new uses of web technology by engineers.

Hughes Satellite-to-PC Service Goes Home

Wall Street Journal 10 October 1996 article describing new service being offered of home delivery of the internet via a satellite dish. Cost is about $700 for the dish and equipment, plus $40 to $130 a month for the service depending upon time of use, plus your normal internet provider connection charges. Download speed is about 10 times faster than conventional modems and the cost is not far from I.S.D.N. but the speed is 3 times faster.

As this service matures it might be a natural for some applications in the boat building industry.


The October 7, 1996 issue of Business Week has an article , "Why Firefly Has Mad Ave. Buzzing", beginning on page 100. The article describes the use of psychographic profiles and a special agent software to determine people with similar likes. This site or a similar one might be able to identify potential boaters. For some more info on the article, check the Marketing Theory portion of the Marketing Desk.

Soundings Article

The August 1995 issue of Soundings had extensive coverage of boating applications of the internet. Portions of this issue are available on their internet site.

Fork Lift Factory

The May 17, 1996 Wall Street Journal , "The Front Lines" section by Thomas Petzinger Jr. ran a story titled, "Two Educators Turn a Fork Lift Factory into Corporate School". The story talks of Raymond Corp. which makes some of the smartest and most sophisticated fork lifts. They felt they had too many models (sound familiar?) so they decided to create a universal fork lift stuffed with integrated circuits that could be programmed to fulfill the unique needs of the customer. They were flooded with orders, but when the new forklifts hit the field, "all hell broke loose."

"Customers couldn't begin to keep track of the constantly flashing computer codes. In any practical sense, "When you have a truck that can be infinitely configured, you can't come up with enough code numbers,' Mr. Colquhoun says. Even worse, there were close to 1,000 trained service mechanics expertly trained in everything except how to deal with programmable chips."

"Suddenly the truck was a computer,"Mr. Colquhoun says. "It was a traumatic shock"

They deluged mechanics with new service manuals, so many that they engulfed the cargo bay of the service vans. Mechanics were humiliated and didn't know what to do. A 24 hour help line at the factory didn't help much either, "Now we had two blind men at either end of the line."

Mr. Calquhoun approached Diane Gayeski from Ithaca College. She discovered that some individual mechanics were starting to make some breakthroughs in the field. But, these ideas didn't get heard around the circle, because people kept talking about the problems and not about the solutions. No one was recording the "best practices" that were being discovered.

"The biggest weakness is not in Raymonds ability to provide information to dealerships," she wrote, "but rather in their ability to access information from dealerships."

They created a knowledge network and set each dealer up on CompuServe. Service manuals were scanned into databases and a corporate "intranet" was established in which dealers, mechanics, and engineers offered troubleshooting ideas.

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