From 5-9 December members from the Northern Lights family visited customers at the 54th Annual Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting (ACYM).
The Charter Yacht Show was very successful with 105 yachts ranging in size from 62 ft to 296 ft. In addition there were another 40-50 yachts in Falmouth Harbour which were not in the Show.
Mike Prado and Nils Nelson, from Deerfield Beach, Vice President/General Manager, Brian Vesely, from Seattle, and Tom Gerker from NL Distributor Parts & Power visited vessels on Falmouth Harbour Marina, the Yacht Club Marina, the Dockyard Marina and the Catamaran Marina.
They found many of the yachts had Northern Lights products on them, both generators and Lugger propulsion engines. In most cases they received nothing but favorable reports from Engineers and Captains. A few vessels had questions or problems on their equipment that the team was able to address. In many cases the NL representatives found a recurring theme that they had discovered at previous shows. Many of the NL customers simply needed advice on how to maintain their Northern Lights equipment, and where to go to get information. In some cases, issues that Engineers and Customers were having in the field were recorded by Brian so he could make changes in Production at the Factory to make Northern Lights products even better.
They found that, in some cases, customers were overhauling their generators prematurely. Because they had owned competitor’s products in the past who recommended overhauls at 10, 15 or 20,000 hours, they felt that they had to do the same on their NL product. Several customers had done overhauls or repairs at 10 or 15,000 hours to find so little wear that they questioned the value in having done the work. Brian and Tom recommended using oil analysis and valve adjustment measurements to monitor wear, as many Northern Lights generators run well past 30,000 hours with nothing but routine maintenance.
Northern Lights were, once again this year, the only engine or generator manufacturer who attended the show. They have been attending the Show for over 15 years, to meet their customers and get feedback on the performance of their equipment. Customers who attend the ACYM typically own generators that run for extensive periods of time, and are more often than not in distant locations far away from a repair facility. So their generators must run reliably.
Having the new General Manager at the show allowed Brian to hear the Voice of the Customer in order to make changes and improvements to the current product, and get an idea of what customers were looking for in future products.