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What is up at West Marine?


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Looking for board members to email my displeasure on a winch I paid for that has been backordered for 7 weeks and no resolution in sight, I see West Marine got taken private by investment firm L. Catterton.  This happened on the 14th of April  according to CBS marketwatch and investment site Seeking Alpha.

https://www.crunchbase.com/acquisition/lcatterton-acquires-west-marine--24b2a6b4

 

 

The executive team looks almost all new comparing folks on the WM site, so there must have been a major shakeup.

Seems like internal focus is the current order of the day (eg navel gazing).

Anyone know what is going on in Watsonville?

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Well, WM had previously been acquired in 2017 by Monomoy, a $1.5B PE group. Now L Catterton, a $25B PE group has them. Maybe better, maybe worse, but perhaps your sternly worded letter will make the difference. 

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2 hours ago, mgs said:

Is the winch made by a company oversees? England perhaps?

Bingo!

Seeing how you are on roll, do you happen to have tonight's winning lottery numbers???

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5 minutes ago, Foreverslow said:

Bingo!

Seeing how you are on roll, do you happen to have tonight's winning lottery numbers???

Last I knew Lewmar was bought by an RV parts conglomerate. 
 

Unrelated to Lewmar, I was told some British foundries are 6 months behind schedule 

none of that will help you though 

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I  bought 2 during the buy one get one (assuming that's what you did)  and it was pretty clear that my order was going to be back ordered. And as a side note, my credit card hasn't been charged for the order. I don't think they do that until it's filled. 

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6 hours ago, ordkhntr said:

I  bought 2 during the buy one get one (assuming that's what you did)  and it was pretty clear that my order was going to be back ordered. And as a side note, my credit card hasn't been charged for the order. I don't think they do that until it's filled. 

I did buy during the BOGO, but:

I tried to buy at the start of the sale online, but it would not take the order.

Had to wait 3 hours for the West Coast to come online so I could talk to a sales person in Watsonville.  They told me the reason I could not do the order is because you could only buy what they had in stock.   I had wanted chrome Evo 30s as they are half an inch shorter and these were to replace cockpit winches behind a dodger.  No go.   Also no go on black anodized EVO 30s or plain aluminum ones.  So I ended up getting chrome 30 waves as those were in stock.

One was shipped a week later and it was billed to my credit card.

As far as I was concerned, they HAD my 2 winches else they would not have taken the order on day 1.  So they changed the rules after the sale.

 

More importantly, when I called to follow up a couple weeks ago, the sales rep gave me this story of how she was looking the order up and sure enough there were a couple in the warehouse and she would have someone get onto it that afternoon.   Nothing but crickets and the order is still open with a backorder.  Pure BS to a blow off a customer.

 

Coming from 40 years in the computer service industry, we had a saying "first you fix the customer, then you fix the problem".  You must be honest with what is going on even if bad news, are proactive with updates so the customer never needs to call you, and as any event gets out of normal timetables, escalations to senior management kick in so they are never blindsided by an irate customer.

 

And in those 40 years I also learned when people are fucking with you after you tried to be nice, you need to go to the top and let the shit flow downhill via gravity.  Nothing board members like better than to intervene on behalf of customers as they feel like they are doing something.  Of course all they do is have their secretary call the CEO or president or the Operations VP and then track the issue in a tickler file to ensure the company jumps on this(makes them feel powerful).   Causes pure hell for everyone in the operations, but WTF, they brought it on.    Have done this successfully with several fortune 100 companies.  Once you know how the internal systems of a company work (and most big ones all run similarly), you can get management's attention to help resolve your issue.

 

An interesting aside, I had to stop by the local WM for a sheave this morning.  Was amazed at the stock on the shelves.  2-3 of everything.  Had not seen this in years.  So hopefully the new company has hired a management team that gets it.  One can only hope.

 

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Lewmar is a fairly typical UK manufacturer.  Expensive, inferior products to the competition, slow to ship, don't answer their phone or email, and yet somehow remain in business.

I'd speculate that most of the business is with OEM boat builders and they just don't care about retail sales, even though the margins are higher.

 

Why not switch to Harken? They are often available for 30-40% off from Mauri Pro or Vela sailing supply, which is pretty close to the annual WM buy-one-get-one-free, and unlike Lewmar, you can get them this year.

 

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What are the chances that the pawls were probably on board the Evergiven? And that Brexit snags are holding up other parts coming from Germany? Where is Barient when you need them?  Harkens wouldn't fit? 

 

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The pandemic has caused several global supply chain issues including suppliers struggling to estimate demand with shifting consumer demand and halted factory production.

There is also a global shortage of materials that manufacturers need to make their products. Add in that the Suez Canal closure also added to an already overloaded unidirectional Asia-Europe container supply chain, there is up to four weeks of delays at some European ports right now.

While there may very well be something going on with WM, I would bet it is mostly the industry agnostic, almost universal supply chain issues causing the delay.

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I just took advantage of the Lewmar BOGO also. One Evo 30 arrived a few weeks ago, one arrived on Saturday. I have two 45s still on backorder and I can't even see them in the "recent orders" page on the website. When I called to check, I was 28th in line for 15 minutes and gave up.

The good news is that I'm removing four Barient two speed self tailers to the same spec. They are 1992 vintage and seen some wear. They never let me down, but I have to baby them and I know that one day they are going to, hence the prophylactic replacement. As soon as I get the swap done, I'll be happy to sell them to a good home. They will come with a small bag of spare plastic parts that I bought from Arco at some point. These days I'd probably just print new pieces as needed.

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