Page 34: of Marine News Magazine (July 2019)

Propulsion Technology

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PROPULSION “Our target market is engines that are out of the OEM warranty period.” – Pat Roach, Interstate-McBee’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing in 90+ countries. Hence, a key part of the Interstate-McBee OEM’s do it themselves. That said, Roach insists, price is promise involves distribution centers on the U.S. East, West only one part of the equation. and Gulf Coasts. That infrastructure allows the ? rm to ship “Although price is one area in which we compete with 95% of all orders on the same day. Roach adds, “We tie all the OEM, we excel on the service and support side. As a the centers together with a single back end ERP system so privately held business, we are both ? exible and fast. Our parts in every location are available to everyone at any time.” prices are lower because we take one step out of the distri-

In terms of marine applications, especially if it’s a Caterpil- bution chain meaning one less markup to the ? nal user, lar, Cummins, or Detroit Diesel engines, Interstate-McBee but our same day ship service really puts us above most has over 20,000 part numbers in stock and over 75,000 part of our competition as today’s customer needs and expects numbers available through their distribution points. their parts now, not next week or even next month.”


With all engines, there is a certain “useful life” which In 2008, with the rapid expansion of the business, McBee is often calculated in terms of machine hours. This could Supply moved into an independent dedicated distribution be anywhere from 18,000 to 30,000 hours depending on facility in Cleveland. With more space at the manufactur- the application. At the end of this life cycle, an engine can ing facility Interstate-McBee created two engine test cells be rebuilt for a fraction of the cost for a new engine, par- to validate new products prior to launch. These test cells ticularly a large diesel engine. For marine applications the allow testing of engines up to 2,000HP. That’s important engine will often last as long as the vessel or perhaps even because as engines have evolved, the speci? cations for in- longer. The need to replace the power plant often comes dividual components within engines have become much from emissions regulations and/or the availability of gov- more stringent. The equipment needed to manufacture is ernment funding (DERA or WV funds) to cover a large very different from the equipment used for older compo- portion of the replacement costs. nents. And, says Roach, Interstate-McBee responded to

According to Roach, customers with older engines tend the challenge by investing more heavily in the business.

to be more open to replacement parts rather than just “Starting in early 2018 and with a nudge of the bo- ‘OEM Only.’ But, he says, those same customers still want nus depreciation in the federal tax code, we committed performance and ef? ciency so the quality of their overhaul to bringing in new, state-of-the-art equipment that is not parts and their service parts are just as important to them only more capable, but more productive. We launched a as they are to owners of newer engines. As this domestic new business within the business that will be fully capa- ? eet sector ages, that’s not like to change any time soon. ble of producing the latest common rail fuel injection. In “We still receive calls from customers looking for parts to addition to the new equipment, we are in the process of service engines that were built during WWII,” says Roach. redesigning our factory for ef? ciency and environmental “There is no doubt that a properly maintained engine can control such as humidity and temperature control, cleanli- last literally a lifetime or longer. Certainly parts wear out ness and positive air pressure.” and sometimes catastrophic failures happen which prevent Servicing the complicated aftermarket engine market is an engine from being rebuilt, but in the marine market in no easy task. Hence, Interstate-McBee is constantly expand- particular replacing with new can be very costly which is ing its legacy product offering along with new engine lines. why maintenance is so important. Marine operators tend Roach reports that another addition will be announced lat- to be diligent about maintenance as a breakdown at sea can er this year; something directly related to his marine market have perilous consequences. That is why you see engines in sector work. 72 years old and counting, Interstate-McBee the marine industry lasting for a very long time.” continues to invest into personnel and equipment.

Simply stated, the Interstate-McBee business model in- Pat Roach – bullish on what will come next – sums it up volves the manufacture of myriad replacement parts for simply by saying, “We are positioned for decades to come.” diesel engines, selling direct to service personnel whose That’s good news for domestic workboat operators who want engines are likely out of warranty – for far less than the to claim the very same thing.

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Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.