Corporate philosophy and constant challenge in the research for product excellence. This is how we can probably sum up the thought of Massimo Jannone, Rio Yachts International Sales Director and Board Member, when, during our encounter in Miami, he defined the core business of the Italian brand with these words: ” Our goal is to satisfy the specific needs of our customers through total customization. This precise attitude has generated the new Rio Yachts’ philosophy according to which customers, as well as our dealers, have a direct relationship with us and become part of Rio Yachts’ family”
How does this philosophy translate to concretely?
It results into two different but perfectly complementary levels. The first involves our direct relationship with customers. There are no further intermediaries and our dealers are part and direct expression of Rio Yachts. In this dimension, customers collaborate with us to define the final product. Once the model is chosen, its accessories, layout and materials are selected according to the boat end-use and customer’s specific needs. Our challenge is to achieve that in a manner consistent with the marine qualities of the boat and our brand’s identity. For example, our customization level is so high that we have built two 46-foot boats as tenders for a 180-metre yacht.
Which is the other level?
It concerns the reference market where customers’ requests are generally different for environmental and cultural reasons. The American market, for instance, is deeply different from the European one. In the USA, a Rio Yachts boat sometimes features fewer cabins but more spacious volumes, different layouts, more powerful systems and engines, a different systems arrangement to meet the different concepts of the American customer, who tends to sail with no crew even on big yachts with the consequent need to have easy and fast access to on-board systems.
Is the way a boat is used which changes the requests of the American market?
Yes, it is. And this concept is well-expressed in the post-sales dimension. Especially in the Mediterranean, boats are generally used some weeks during the year. In the USA, especially in southern countries like Florida, people always use boats: in the afternoon after work, at weekends, during holidays. Consequently, eventual problems must be solved within few hours or few days at the most. The response capacity of the shipyard must be immediate. Well, our commercial philosophy translates into this context, too, and we have exported our post-sales vision from Europe to America.
Let’s dwell upon the customization concept for a while. You’ve been often defined as a “boating boutique”. Does your customer have any precise features? Does he have a precise idea of what he wants or needs?
If not intended in the narrowest sense, I like the “boating boutique” idea very much because our customer has precise features. First of all, he’s not a novice. He perfectly knows how, where, how much and with how many passengers he wants to use his boat. Well, the average Rio Yachts customer generally has precise ideas: this is why he immediately empathizes with our specificity and ability to satisfy them.
If ideas are confused, what do you do?
Like a good psychologist, we ask questions and listen to. At the end, clear ideas comes and conclusions are drawn by the customer himself.
Does this level of customization imply any additional costs?
Production costs don’t penalize us. In quantitative terms, we’ve decided to build 20-30 boats a year in the upper-range of the market in order to offer the best quality. Compared with a direct competitor, we can reduce costs by 20% thanks to the fact that we have no commercial intermediary. This means that this money is invested into product quality.
Meanwhile, you’re working on two new products, aren’t you?
Before next summer, we’ll present the Spider 40, a fast boat with very sporty low lines. In this case, too, we intercepted a request coming from our customers who desired a functional daily easy-to-use boat with generous volumes and a significant passenger capacity.
In Italy, she will measure 9.99 m. The other novelty is a 60′ boat. It’s a project which expresses our approach to both customers and market very well. It will be a completely new boat meeting the specific needs of a 2-metre-tall American customer. His physicality was an additional area for reflection which compounds the other customization needs a Rio Yachts customer can express because he’s sure they will be satisfied.
The new 60-foot model is your new flagship and the largest boat you’ve never built. Do you plan to go further?
Yes, we do. Today, the market clearly indicates that business focuses on boats ranging from 50′ and 70′. And Rio Yachts, of course, is ready to lead it.