Written by Francesca Webster
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Over recent months, we have taken a look at the team, the organisation, some of their stand-out projects and the ethos of SMART Technology Advisers. Rooted in the desire to solve complex technological problems and to encourage innovation in the superyacht sector, on behalf of the yacht owner, the company is at the heart of many of the industry's most innovative projects. For the final piece in our series, we reflect on the top five reasons to work with SMART and its founders, Steve Puckering and Ian Dixon;
Transparent advice from top industry leaders
Rooted in an ethical approach, SMART is firm in their belief that owners should be given all of the information before decisions are made. While suppliers and integrators may accept mid-project amendments that drive up costs and elongate build periods without asking questions, SMART ensures that they get to the core of a decision at the very beginning to best advise the owner. As Steve explains;
“We are not yes men. We are never going to stand in front of an owner and say everything is possible before we understand the motivations behind the decision. We then give them a transparent explanation of the costs and consequences of that decision. Of course, if the owner then makes that decision, they are doing so with all the information available at the time and that is incredibly important when it comes to project satisfaction and the happiness of the owner.”
With the goal of solving problems and finding solutions that work best for both the owner and the shipyards, the SMART team is trained to ask questions. They are also passionate individuals who are interested and excited about problem solving and who have seen the best and the worst of onboard technology. The experience they have gained from decades in the industry, first as a supplier with Steve's previous company Advanced New Technologies, and now as advisers, means that they have a depth of expertise and knowledge about what works, and what adds value to the owner's superyacht experience.
An impartial and ethical approach to technological innovation
SMART’s firm, no-nonsense approach and commitment to ethical practices, means they don’t have any affiliations with suppliers, or manufacturers allowing them to offer owners the entire scope of available technology. This policy has also gained the trust of the world's biggest manufacturers, who know that the research and development they share with SMART for future release, will remain confidential. Due to this honest approach, many manufacturers now contact the team directly with early innovations, looking for advice on how it may be useful for the yachting sector, allowing SMART to specify future technologies for their projects before their competitors may even be aware of it. This means that when a yacht is delivered, four years after specification, the technology onboard is the newest and most advanced technology available on the market.
Maintain standards, set the bar high for specification in the early stages and make sure those standards are met before acceptance
Leading directly on from the previous point; SMART ensures that the first specification is highly in-depth and specific, reducing the scope for change orders mid-project that often drive up costs and lengthen build times.
Ian explains, “The problem with a broad specification is that it can be interpreted differently by each supplier and that can make the difference of a million euros or more. We drill right down to the details and sit with an owner to understand their motivations for the choices they’re making. We ask owners for their experiences, how they live their lives, we speak to their families; all of this gives a deep understanding of what they are looking for. They trust us to deliver their dream.”
Not only do the SMART team dig deep into the motivations behind the projects, but they advocate for the owner when it comes to the negotiation table.
Their knowledge of the sector means they are able to accurately financially scope a project before suppliers make their submissions. This means that they are able to quickly root out suppliers who are over inflating prices, adding unnecessary elements or even underestimating the value of their time and resources. In the end, this leads to a more efficient project, both financially and in terms of time.
Pushing boundaries but lowering risk
SMART understands that suppliers, integrators and indeed builders see some of the owner’s visions or requirements as obstacles or risks to their timeline and profitability. In most cases this is because they do not have the time, understanding, industry links to investigate, or quite simply because they do not want to move out of their comfort zone. The SMART team excels in situations like this as they interpret the owner’s vision, look at the overall timeline and stage of the project, its budget and feasibility. If opportunity exists at that time to pursue the desired technology, then they will manage the design, engineering and timeline on that change and augment the builders, integrators and even manufacturers team to bring that solution into the project without major disruption to the build programme.
Huge experience in both project management and financial management of the project
As founders, Steve and Ian each bring a unique set of expertise to the projects undertaken by SMART. Having previously worked on the integration and supplier side of the industry and founded one of the biggest marine integrators in the sector, Steve brings a depth of knowledge when it comes to the value of technology. A chartered director and experienced engineer with a passion for innovation and understanding of the sector means that he is excellently placed to solve problems and connect projects with the best possible solutions. Ian, who joined Steve on his previous venture, is a chartered accountant who worked at KPMG for a number of years. He utilises his extensive financial background to carefully analyse every element of the projects undertaken by SMART, and to audit the companies that contribute to each project to ensure that they are a reliable choice and are able to deliver on a long term superyacht construction project.
The team Steve and Ian have built are at the top of their field when it comes to technological understanding, constantly educating themselves on the latest developments in the sector so that they can deliver the most interesting and innovative solutions to the owners they work with.
To find out more about the team at SMART and how they can help you with your new-build or refit, reach out to the team now!
SuperYacht Times reflect on the top five reasons to work with SMART and its founders, Steve Puckering and Ian Dixon.
SuperYacht Times sat down with Ian and Steve to learn how their journeys into the world of superyacht technology began.
SuperYacht Times caught up with Steve, Ian and the SMART team to discuss 10 years of technological innovation.
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