Boatbuilding in the Cloud

Boat Track, the Tallahassee, Florida–based marine software company, has moved to the cloud, offering its products as a subscription rather than as a more expensive server-based purchase. It’s an industry trend that simplifies updates, as they are automatically included in the monthly fee.

Though Boat Track has many notable clients such as Chris-Craft, Carolina Skiff, Marlow Hunter, Ocean Yachts, Everglades, and Hell’s Bay, the first to be set up in the cloud is Parker Boats (Beaufort, North Carolina). Robin Parker says that as of this writing they are still involved in the setup, but already she is impressed with the support she has received and the promise of new efficiencies. “It will give us more information to help us make better decisions,” she said. “It’s logical and user-friendly. Input has been simple.”

Boat Track confirmation formCourtesy Boat Track

Using Boat Track’s Order Pointe module, developed with input from boatbuilding companies, a dealer enters on the Web-based Confirmation Order form all the options and accessories its customer has selected.

Boat Track sells three modules: Order Pointe, Service Pointe, and Dealer Central. The online demo for Order Pointe takes one through a sample of the numerous customizable pages, where, as a builder, you basically enter all the features of the boat sold to a customer: engine selection, seats, colors, every option right down to drink holders. Thus begins a database that enables monitoring the life span of the boat, moving next to the shop floor, where the system records status and can produce production travelers. Using the Dealer Central module, dealers have access to portions of the data, but not all. In fact, you can customize this feature. It’s certainly convenient if a dealer can log in to check production status without calling the company and slowing down someone’s day.

Boat Track sales order formCourtesy Boat Track

The left-hand column on the Sales Order form summarizes the company’s cost to produce and deliver the given boat, including sales commissions, and in the right-hand column, the sales price to be paid by the customer.

A notable benefit of the Service Pointe module, says president Rob Murphy, is tracking and trend analysis of warranty claims, allowing the builder to compare the number and types of claims among its models and dealers.

The “portrait” of the boat can be entered or “pushed” into any existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) program, and it is fully integrated with the ERP program Infor VISUAL. Such integration allows orders to flow into the user’s financial systems and enables the parts department to forecast specific equipment needed in production, and by when.

Boat Track also produces extensive reports. Once codes have been created in Service Pointe for categories of, for example, repairs, Boat Track generates reports on, say, how many times an exhaust system has required warranty work, on what models, installed by which technician, brand of part, sold by which dealers, etc. Broad categories could include electrical systems, plumbing, hardware, fuel, and fiberglass—all customizable.

Parker Boats has 40-plus dealers, and all are expected to be brought online via Order Pointe and Service Pointe. “They’ll be involved,” says Robin Parker, adding that she anticipates few problems making the software transition, because Boat Track is “very intuitive.”

According to Murphy, who purchased Boat Track in 2012, Order Pointe is an affordable option for small builders who may not be able to afford an ERP system, or have the internal resources to manage it. There is a one-time setup and training fee, and then monthly subscription costs are tiered by the number of users, with discounts for additional users. Discounts also apply when combining modules.

Boat Track, 1435 Piedmont Dr. East, #102, Tallahassee, FL 32308 USA, tel. 850–385–7000, website boat-track.com.