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Old 04-29-2013, 11:11 PM   #1
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I had a wonderful tour today with Jason Bontrager as our guide. I went through the Winnebago factory a few years ago, both impressive companies that weathered the storm a few years ago. Here are a few tidbits I picked up; current production is about 12 per week, after moving into new building in July they hope to get up to about 20 per week. The new Rand McNally GPS is being installed on the line in the 2014 models.

Winnebago and Entegra are both great companies, but do things a little different. Winne, makes most all of the components, like basement doors, water tanks, all welding on the bare chassis, even stretching the frame and drive shaft. Entegra farms all of that out. Two schools of thought here: 1) Let the experts do that and we concentrate on putting it together and making a tight fitting quiet ride. 2) if we don't have a part, we will make it for you even if you need it ten years down the road. It was quite interesting to see how they move the coaches down the line using hover type airbags under the tires one person can push the whole coach sideways down to the next station!

After the tour we met with Joyce Skinner, Director of Customer Service and she shared her secrets. When you buy a coach, you will get to know Joyce very well, you will get her cell phone number and can call her anytime you have an urgent matter. She has a whole CS staff that you should go through during business hours, but you can go right to the top any time you feel you need to. She gets a sales printout each day and she will be calling you within a day to see how you are doing. If they don't hear from you once in awhile, they'll call you to make sure you're still loving the coach. They want to know the good and the bad, so don't be a stranger! At the end of each day she writes a report of issues that were handled by the CS staff and sent to the CEO, production manager, and sales manager. I was glad to see issues were being tracked. They even read iRV2!

Joyce has some ideas for the future; she'd like to put together an owners class that could be held a few times a year to help you understand the different systems, and she would like to make available to owners a Technical Manual for maintaining your coach. Both ideas are being considered and are not ready yet, but I'd appreciate some owners support to help those ideas along. I'm not a owner yet............

All in all, I was impressed with the workmanship at each station. I met a Forman who came over from Travel Supreme with many years of knowledge, and I saw high quality cabinets an doors being made from scratch. They have some good ideas on sound proofing and take regular test drives of random coaches. All of the workers were very friendly toward us and felt very easy around Jason. I need to bring the DW back for another tour when they get into the new building.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:36 PM   #2
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It was quite interesting to see how they move the coaches down the line using hover type airbags under the tires one person can push the whole coach sideways down to the next station!
Interesting how some (all?) companies copy others, Newmar has had that on their assembly line since at least 2004. Not sure where they got the idea though.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:18 AM   #3
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Interesting how some (all?) companies copy others, Newmar has had that on their assembly line since at least 2004. Not sure where they got the idea though.
Monaco was doing that when we visited their plant in Wakarusa in 2004.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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I believe that those "air carts" originated with Newmar and was one of Mahlon Miller's ideas, along with the conveyor belt trench that you sweep all the dirt and debris into. Travel Supreme was born out of ex-Newmar people and Entegra took over the assets of Travel Supreme so it's pretty easy to follow the path of how that idea migrated.

In many cases, once one RV manufacturer launches a new idea or floorplan it doesn't take long for others to copy it. Yet, there are still a fair amount of unique things that others don't follow. Which is why every brand isn't the same and keeps Entegra at the top of anyone's list.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:12 AM   #5
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Joyce has some ideas for the future; she'd like to put together an owners class that could be held a few times a year to help you understand the different systems
It would be GREAT if this could be done at the Summerfest rally. What a great time to introduce/test the concept when there will be 50 or more owners in attendance.

Also, is Entegra going to have technicians at the rally to do miscellaneous repairs like other manufacturers do? I hope so.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:20 AM   #6
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Great ideas , BOTH!
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MRUSA14 View Post
It would be GREAT if this could be done at the Summerfest rally. What a great time to introduce/test the concept when there will be 50 or more owners in attendance.

Also, is Entegra going to have technicians at the rally to do miscellaneous repairs like other manufacturers do? I hope so.
You might drop a PM on potential activities to Tom...think he's on the road...
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MRUSA14 View Post
It would be GREAT if this could be done at the Summerfest rally. What a great time to introduce/test the concept when there will be 50 or more owners in attendance.

Also, is Entegra going to have technicians at the rally to do miscellaneous repairs like other manufacturers do? I hope so.
Entegra will not have techs at Summerfest. It is Important to note that Regina and I have planned and organized this event - not Entegra. They are special guests and will be putting on a dinner for us.

Special announcement though and you are the first to hear it here - over breakfast on Friday, August 30, Entegra will be holding a Customer Suggestion meeting giving everyone a chance to express their suggestions for future enhancements etc.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Smitty3509 View Post
I had a wonderful tour today with Jason Bontrager as our guide. I went through the Winnebago factory a few years ago, both impressive companies that weathered the storm a few years ago. Here are a few tidbits I picked up; current production is about 12 per week, after moving into new building in July they hope to get up to about 20 per week. The new Rand McNally GPS is being installed on the line in the 2014 models.

Winnebago and Entegra are both great companies, but do things a little different. Winne, makes most all of the components, like basement doors, water tanks, all welding on the bare chassis, even stretching the frame and drive shaft. Entegra farms all of that out. Two schools of thought here: 1) Let the experts do that and we concentrate on putting it together and making a tight fitting quiet ride. 2) if we don't have a part, we will make it for you even if you need it ten years down the road. It was quite interesting to see how they move the coaches down the line using hover type airbags under the tires one person can push the whole coach sideways down to the next station!

After the tour we met with Joyce Skinner, Director of Customer Service and she shared her secrets. When you buy a coach, you will get to know Joyce very well, you will get her cell phone number and can call her anytime you have an urgent matter. She has a whole CS staff that you should go through during business hours, but you can go right to the top any time you feel you need to. She gets a sales printout each day and she will be calling you within a day to see how you are doing. If they don't hear from you once in awhile, they'll call you to make sure you're still loving the coach. They want to know the good and the bad, so don't be a stranger! At the end of each day she writes a report of issues that were handled by the CS staff and sent to the CEO, production manager, and sales manager. I was glad to see issues were being tracked. They even read iRV2!

Joyce has some ideas for the future; she'd like to put together an owners class that could be held a few times a year to help you understand the different systems, and she would like to make available to owners a Technical Manual for maintaining your coach. Both ideas are being considered and are not ready yet, but I'd appreciate some owners support to help those ideas along. I'm not a owner yet............

All in all, I was impressed with the workmanship at each station. I met a Forman who came over from Travel Supreme with many years of knowledge, and I saw high quality cabinets an doors being made from scratch. They have some good ideas on sound proofing and take regular test drives of random coaches. All of the workers were very friendly toward us and felt very easy around Jason. I need to bring the DW back for another tour when they get into the new building.
Hi, my DW and I took the tour on Monday ( 2. Days ago) and came away with the same info and feelings. Of all the impressive things going on there the best was the sit down with Joyce. She is the real deal. I am sure her staff is as well suited as Joyce to handle the current and future owners and their issues. I brought up one observation to Jason during our tour. As we were sitting in a coach that was having its pdi I noticed that the backsplash did not match the countertop in the kitchen. Everything else in the coach was very tastefully appointed but that stuck out. Jason took a picture and note and was going to show it to the powers that make the decor choices. Browns don't go with grey countertops. We will be starting our buying process soon so we have it for our trip south this coming winter with any luck. Tour was well worth the time and effort spent. We drove all day yesterday (600 miles) with a strong sidewind. Should have waited a day but had to get home.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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Visiting the Factory 3 May

Any of you have numbers of a coach and you want pictures of it...assuming we see it of course, let me know and I'll snap 'em as we visit the factory tomorrow. Send me a PM before 1000 tomorrow morning (3 May).
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:10 PM   #11
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Any of you have numbers of a coach and you want pictures of it...assuming we see it of course, let me know and I'll snap 'em as we visit the factory tomorrow. Send me a PM before 1000 tomorrow morning (3 May).
I asked on our Monday tour about pictures and Jason said they don't allow it after they fought the competition taking a tour and taking lots of pix. He will take certain pictures and email them to you.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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That's interesting...guess you would have to have a general rule like that if that happened.

Shame, as some of us are likely notorious and know by the time we get to the factory.

Guess I'll leave my camera at home.
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