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  the biggest problem
  Posted by: no_kayak on Oct-04-12 2:50 PM (EST)

For any small sea kayak manufacturer is the route to market.

There are only a small number of dealers capable of selling sea kayaks, especially composite boats. The finances of many of these are woeful and the business lives hand to mouth.

Before the financial meltdown in 2008, manufacturers had been stuffing the dealers with more and more inventory, much of which sat and sat for years and was sold at a negligable profit or often a loss.

Large and better financed retailers do not see the margin return on 18 foot boats for the space and time required to sell them.

For a manufacturer, the biggest problem with composite voats is physically supplying them in a cost effective way. They are hard and expensive to ship and, when many are custom built, they have long lead times, too. The way around this is for a manufacturer to offer a wider breadth of product to support the composite sea kayaks. A 40' container will hold around 40 to 50 composite boats. Shipping them on their own is expensive, whereas stuffing any free space with plastic product reduces costs.

A dealer will also prefer to work with a brand who can supply them an easy and saleable solution. If he can get WW, rec and specialist product from the same supplier, as he can do from Pyranha, it's a better overall proposition than getting compositie from someone like Tiderace and the other products from other manufacturers.

When times are good, people don't mind taking a punt on new ideas and risk holding stock. Conversely, when cash is tight and dealers need to turnover stock quickly, brands that do not have such a wide offering can suffer.

By reducing their range, Valley are making it easier for dealers to work with them, as the breadth of pre-ordering and stock boats built is across a smaller range of product. In other words, it's less of a punt for them to take. It also concentrates attention and demand on current and new product, reducing comparisons and competition from within.

The consumer may be disappointed, but if the new models are as good as they are supposed to be, this disappointment should be confined to a small number of people and be for a short lived period of time.

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