In this edition of the Close Up, we speak to Darren Edwards, Purchasing Director of Williams Jet Tenders – the world’s leading jet tender specialists.
Having worked with our UK distributor Flexiteek UK since 2007, we asked Darren our need to know Williams questions while finding out why they choose to offer Flexiteek 2G synthetic teak on their tenders.
Established in 1996, Williams has seen fantastic growth, starting in a humble garden shed the company are now well recognised as specialists in the luxury yacht market. Turning over a cool £23.5 million in 2019 alone.
With a passion for impeccable standards, Williams works closely with the world’s most prestigious yachts builders including Azimut, Benetti, Fairline and Sunseeker.
The company mission statement is clear, to be the global supplier of choice in the yacht tender market between 40ft – 200ft.
Darren, Williams Jet Tenders are incredibly sought after. How many do you typically manufacture each year?
In 2019 we sold 950 tenders, during the previous few years we have consistently been around the 850-900 mark.
How would you describe the Williams customer base?
We have two distinct sales channels. We work very closely with all the major OEM shipyards globally. Consulting with them at a very early design stage, to ensure our tenders will fit in their garages. We also help design the required launch systems to safely get the tender in and out of the parent yacht. OEM’s account for approximately 30% of our sales.
The other 70% goes through our 50 strong dealer network. We have spent the last 15 years developing a very robust dealer network so customers can rest assured they will be well supported wherever their boating takes them. We specialise in building tenders that service the 50ft – 130ft luxury yacht market.
Out of your range, which is your bestselling tender?
In terms of volume, the best seller is the Sportjet 345 which is designed to fit on 50 – 65ft boats.
Can you tell us which tenders you offer Flexiteek 2G synthetic on and why?
Flexiteek is an optional extra on the Turbojet and Sportjet ranges, with an average optional uptake of 60%+ across the range of models, it’s a very popular addition to every tender.
The main benefit of Flexiteek is the look and feel. Very often customers have to ask during boat shows whether it’s real or fake, that’s how good the finished product looks. The other major benefit is Flexiteek prevents heat build-up in hot environments so unlike real teak, it’s a lot cooler to walk on.
Flexiteek 2G synthetic teak comes in 11 colours, which is most popular with your clients?
Teak is undoubtedly the most popular colour option. However, we are seeing a steady increase in the number of Carbon and Grey decks to match the general increase in demand for darker colour schemes on all of our tenders. Not the most practical in The Med but they do look cool!
Do you think attitudes to synthetic teak have changed over time?
The general push for more sustainable manufacturing techniques in all industry has meant we have had to find more eco-friendly materials. The damage the real teak trade does on an annual basis has been very well publicised, so the acceptance for synthetic equivalents has grown exponentially over the last few years.
You have worked with Flexiteek UK for over 13 years, how would you describe your relationship?
In fulfilling the demands of our discerning customers, we must associate with likeminded supply partners with shared values. Notwithstanding the variation in demands and on occasions complexity, Rob and the team in Hamble have consistently delivered. They have a good understanding of our business and our chosen markets, which enables them to meet our needs more effectively.
You’ve had a fantastic growth since you started, other than having a great product, what else would you say has helped with this?
We have a fantastic company ethos that comes right from the top of constant evolution and questioning of how we can make the product better. We talk to our customers daily to properly understand their needs and what challenges they are trying to solve.
Quality customer insight combined with a drive and passion for developing products that enrich the life of the user has allowed us to grow consistently over the last 15 years. We are lucky that we have operated in a very unique niche within the wider leisure marine industry without too much competition, we very quickly became the ‘Go to Guys’ for all yacht tender needs.
And finally, do you have a memorable Flexiteek moment?
Our most memorable use of Flexiteek was at the Southampton International Boat Show where we created the main walkway from Flexiteek, it looked excellent and received many admiring comments!
For more information on Williams Jet Tenders visit www.williamsjettenders.com.