Sharjah / Emirates Business
Striking a balance between innovation and ongoing customer support for legacy products is crucial to realizing success in a dynamic business environment, according to CEO of Emirates-based yacht and boat builder Gulf Craft.
Speaking to a group of undergraduate business students at the American University of Sharjah, Erwin Bamps warned that brands which do not consider legacy product compatibility as part of their research and development efforts risk losing value as more players are able to enter the marketplace offering same quality products at competitive prices.
“Business models purely based on innovation cycles, those that revolve around new product launches and denounce previous editions, are not sustainable in the long run,” said Bamps. “The consumer electronics industry is a prime example, where manufacturers are struggling to differentiate their products as parts become cheaper and sophisticated technology easier to acquire.”
“In the luxury sector, this challenge is amplified, because you’re talking about much larger investments and longer lifecycles. Therefore, not only are customers looking to use their products for an extended period of time, but retaining resale value is also of great importance.”
By staying committed to legacy products, manufactures do not risk isolating existing customers and enable them to mitigate costs associated with selling or trading-in their assets in the future, explained Bamps.
“If you look at our 30-plus year old boats, for example, you will see that they do not feel outdated, and that is because we provide customers the opportunity and technical capacity to continuously upgrade their craft,” he said. “This cultivates trust between us and our clients – they know that when they are making an investment, it will not go to waste.”
Innovation goes beyond product enhancement and includes recognizing diverse market needs, according to Bamps, adding that had Gulf Craft only focused on manufacturing yachts for private owners, it would not have been able to tap into the broad customer base it enjoys today.
“Yachting has only risen in popularity in the region and in South East Asia over the last two decades – and is still in very much of a growing phase,” said Bamps. “That is why our range includes our Silvercraft fishing boats and family cruisers, Oryx sport cruisers, as well as a series of utility boats, each addressing a very different requirement and serving a unique customer segment. “The pioneering yacht and boat builder continues to innovate. Gulf Craft’s recently launched Nomad Yachts series, for example, was created after the company identified a growing interest in the market for comfortable long-range sea travel.
“We made it our mission to fulfill that aspiration,” says Bamps.