Princess Yachts streamline production and reduce their warranty bill

Princess Yachts is the leading luxury yacht manufacturer in the UK. They manufacture and supply over 200 yachts annually. Princess was trying to maintain the quality and reputation of their product whilst increasing throughput. However, using multiple different adhesives and sealants from multiple suppliers meant that incorrect application was very common. This then led to quality issues and sometimes customer complaints.

Discover how Princess introduces change, simplifies the adhesive process, and saves millions in warranty costs.

Princess Yachts story

Shaun Williams is Forgeway’s primary point of contact at Princess Yachts. He ensures the boats are built to the company’s comprehensive standards. Shaun continuously looks for improvements he can make to the production of the yachts and improve the quality.

Princess has rapidly grown over the last few years. Shaun’s job is to help offer technical support and ensure the quality of their products doesn’t reduce while the company grows. 

Along with the majority of companies around the world, Princess has also experienced supply issues in recent years. Whilst they were experiencing problems with some of their existing adhesive products before these supply issues, the resistance to change was still greater than the need to change. Those issues with the adhesives were swept under the carpet.

When the supply chain issues exacerbated the need to change, Shaun reconnected with Forgeway to discuss ways we could work together.

Princess Yachts adhesives

Why Princess looked for alternative adhesive options

Shaun described that one of the problems Princess had been facing was with colour-matching sealants. The colour of their existing sealant didn’t accurately match the colour of the interior design of the yachts. This issue resulted in complaints from their customers.

However, Princess was willing to stick with the existing sealants because the resistance to that change was still too great to justify the change taking place.

At this point, Shaun knew that the existing sealant supplier couldn’t meet Princess’ needs. He also knew that this problem wouldn’t be enough to justify going through the extensive change process.

The catalyst for change arrived when the existing supplier was unable to provide the sealant product. Princess was left with no option but to look for alternatives. Shaun reached out to Forgeway to discuss how we could supply them with a replacement sealant.

An ever-increasing number of comments regarding the poor colour-match was the main motivating factor behind looking for an alternative. Added justification for the change occurred when the existing supplier could no longer supply the sealant product to Princess.

Shaun helps ensure Princess maintains the quality of their products

Colour-matching the sealant was the main issue that Shaun and Princess were trying to solve. This provided the starting point for contact with Forgeway. The supply issue then helped force the issue.

Supply issues exacerbated the sealant issues that Princess was already experiencing, forcing them into action. Ultimately, in order for the change to happen, the problem with the existing product became greater than their resistance to change. Princess had recognised they needed to solve the problem.

What challenges did Shaun and Princess face when implementing the change?

Shaun recognised that the change process is never easy. He says that “some staff have done things a certain way for over 10 years,” adding that “getting buy-in to change from that established process is never easy.”

Princess had been using some of the existing sealants for more than 15 years. Moving away from the established method was a daunting prospect. Shaun’s biggest challenge was trying to convince others that – although difficult – the change process was necessary. 

Change will not happen if there is too much resistance

Once Princess had decided to go ahead with the change, there was no going back. Some of the staff weren’t happy that the change was taking place. New products require new skills and from their point of view, Shaun and the Forgeway team had made their job more difficult.

But as Shaun describes, communicating why the change needs to happen is a vital way to improve buy-in. He explained to the staff why having a new sealant (even though they would have to get used to it) is better than having no sealant at all.

Why did Princess choose to work with Forgeway?

The existing problem of colour-matching sealants opened the initial conversations between Forgeway and Princess. However, as soon as Forgeway and Princess began talking, we discovered other areas in which we could help reduce the number of adhesive and sealant products Princess was using.

Princess was buying a multitude of sealants and adhesives from different suppliers. All the different products resulted in the staff bypassing traditional processes. They found it difficult to know which sealant or adhesive they should use in the correct situation. The amount of products was causing confusion. They used the affectionate term ‘Chippies bucket’ to describe the buckets they used to carry the different adhesives and sealants around with them.

‘Chippies bucket’ with Forgeway’s replacement products

It was more than just confusing though. Shaun, in particular, was having to highlight areas where there was an incorrect sealant/adhesive application. This was resulting in quality issues that then sometimes resulted in warranty claims from customers. These quality issues were costing money and damaging their reputation.

After discussing ways to cut down the amount of adhesive and sealant products, one of the products Princess chose to use was Formoa 063. This change alone allowed Princess to cut out three other sealant and adhesive products. 

“Formoa 063 is an excellent product for sealing and bonding that does exactly what it says on the tin (or foil pack like we have it in). It has very good ‘stay-white’ properties. And even as a semi-structural adhesive, I have found it to be an excellent product to use.” 

Shaun, Princess Yachts

How Forgeway helped Princess streamline the adhesive process and improve quality, saving warranty costs

The reduction in the amount of adhesive and sealant products allowed Princess to ensure the right product was being used for the correct application. But it didn’t stop there.

Shaun worked with the team at Forgeway to discuss other ways in which we could help reduce confusion and improve quality. Formoa 010 was the product that Princess chose to resolve the initial colour-matching sealant issue. They were able to colour match the sealant to the exact same colour as the interior of the yachts. They then went on to discuss where they could use other products for different applications. 

But the real issue that Shaun faced was ensuring the production team knew where they should apply these new products. Shaun had already updated Princess yachts’ general work instruction (GWI) with the instructions on where they should use the products.

However, updating the GWI is one thing, actually putting it into practice is a different story. Shaun and the Forgeway team worked together to brainstorm ideas around how to reduce confusion even further.

In the end, they created the idea to produce site boards that displayed the necessary information. This board displayed the different Forgeway products and explained where the staff should use them.

So by doing all this work, Shaun and the Forgeway team were able to work through the different areas of confusion and find ways to reduce it. Whilst it hasn’t completely resolved the problem of incorrect application, the site boards and the reduction in the number of different sealants have helped reduce the quality issues that were so prevalent before working with Forgeway.

What working with Forgeway looks like for Princess

Shaun describes how “one of the nicest things about working with Forgeway has been how easy it is to get together and resolve issues when they arise.” He explains that “never have we been bamboozled into buying a product that isn’t the right fit. Multiple times, Forgeway have told us where they don’t think their product would be a good fit.”

In terms of communicating any issues and having a point of contact near-at-hand, Shaun describes how the weekly meeting with the account manager helps him have a reference point where he can ask any questions and resolve any issues. 

Where there are pressing and urgent issues, Shaun has a direct chat with the account manager where he can send a quick question over for an immediate answer. However, anything that requires a more detailed conversation is discussed in the weekly meeting.

Shaun also describes how the account manager makes regular visits to Princess’ manufacturing facilities. Keeping abreast of the challenges by seeing the product in use helps Forgeway to understand the issues that Princess faces.

In Shaun’s words, “even though it’s a fairly new relationship, it feels like we have been working together for over 20 years already.”

“The products we are getting from Forgeway are far superior to anything we have had in the past. Whenever there is a problem, a member of the Forgeway team will be down to quickly to have a look at it.”

Shaun, Princess Yachts

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