Fun Finds Friday: Pontoon Boats Made in Michigan

[dot_recommends] June 24, 2022 Celebrating Manufacturing Wins

What makes Avalon & Tahoe, 2019 Michigan Manufacturer of the Year so successful?

Image shows an urban shoreline in Michigan. Text includes the headline Pontoon Boats Made in Michigan with success facts provided in the blog post.

What’s more fun than a pontoon boat in mid-summer? For Avalon & Tahoe, winner of Michigan Manufacturer of the Year in 2019, the answer could be keeping their customers and employees happy. Proud to produce boats made in Michigan, the company has overcome several challenges in the past year.

Luxury Branding Backed by Happy Teams

According to a MiMfg Magazine feature on company leader Jim Wolf, Avalon & Tahoe focuses on a positive workplace culture to produce boats known for high quality and craftsmanship.

Wolf led the company through re-branding that positioned Avalon & Tahoe as a luxury brand that has become one of the top brands in the industry. Now they are the third largest pontoon manufacturer in the world!

Wolf described what makes the company so successful, “We use the best materials, we make all the components in-house and we’re Michigan-made, but I think it’s the team here that pushes us up a level.”

Wolf said that he believes in keeping employees happy as a way for the company to keep producing great boats.

Award-Winning “Made in Michigan” Manufacturer

Here is a list of the awards won by Avalon & Tahoe, a company founded in 1974 that had 460 employees in 2021.

  • National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) Customer Satisfaction Index Award for 12 consecutive years (2008-2020)
  • 2019 Michigan Manufacturer of the Year
  • 2020 NMMA Innovation Award
  • 2020 Boating Industry’s Top Product Award

Even with this history of winning awards year-after-year, the Avalon was not immune to the challenges that came with the pandemic.

Overcoming 2021 Manufacturing Challenges

Like most global manufacturers, Avalon faced increasing challenges over the past couple years. In 2021, the company overcame several compounding factors:

  • Labor shortages
  • A strained supply chain
  • A new product launch
  • Increasing demand

Any one of these factors would be difficult. Combined, they required a top-notch strategic response.

The company turned to the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center for assistance. The Center worked with Avalon to develop a training plan for management, supervisors, and line leaders. The training provided knowledge of Lean principles and supervisory skills development.

In addition, production changes based on a function and value analysis increased efficiency and quality. As a result of the collaborative work done by company leadership and Center consultants, Avalon achieved these measurable results:

  • Increased throughput by 600 boats
  • Acquired $20 million in new sales
  • Added 60 jobs
  • Retained 45 jobs

Celebrating US Manufacturing Successes

To be clear, we’re sharing this Made in Michigan story because hearing this kind of news delights us!

We especially enjoy sharing news about jobs created and saved. That’s our mission here at StratMg, to support manufacturers in creating and saving U.S. manufacturing jobs through consistent sales growth.

Although we frequently partner with organizations like the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and manufacturers like Avalon & Tahoe, StratMg did not play a role in this project. If you’re curious about our work, see our success stories.

We hope you enjoy Avalon and Tahoe’s story, too. And maybe it will give you ideas for your manufacturing company!

Do you have a good news manufacturing story to share?

Let’s talk! Or, send us a message on LinkedIn or Tweet us.


Managing Partner





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With over two decades of experience, Parin leads an expert demand-generation agency, StratMg, that helps industrial manufacturing clients achieve unambiguous and quantified organic sales growth across the US, EMEA & APAC.

Parin has built & positioned StratMg to be a value-added marketing services provider that strives to create a culture of quantified sales-driven marketing initiatives leading to sustained business growth through channel management, diversification, new customer acquisition and retention strategies and tactical execution.

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