The Operational Excellence Award, given by the Association of Washington Business in recognition of a distinctive manufacturing process, was recently awarded to Fluid Motion of Kent, who are no strangers to the award’s criteria. The idea behind the award is a manufacturing process that includes continual improvement, environmental innovation, R&D leadership, lean and six sigma, or application of high tech, and the Kent firm is no stranger to at least several of those criteria. Their boats feature sideways thrusters, not found on the small size of boat that Fluid Motion builds, which make docking easy. The boats are small enough to be easily trailered, increasing the range for the boats’ owners, and solar panels and diesel engines increase the boats’ efficiency. In addition to that, Fluid Motion’s supply chain is local, allowing it to respond quickly if problems crop up.
Fluid Motion’s quality is proven by its growth over the course of the recession; it has quadrupled in size since 2007, while the overall boating industry shrank. Its flagship product, Ranger Tugs, can be purchased at many dealers in the US, but also in places from New Zealand to Turkey to Norway, as well. Or, you can go to the factory and pick it up there, and tour the San Juans while you’re at it.