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Old 08-20-2012, 03:17 PM   #15
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Last Friday I finally got to the Entegra factory and had a chance to tour the facility and meet some of the folks there. The day before I had a chance to visit the Forest River Berkshire/Charleston factory. Both factories were interesting visits.

I know some of you wanted me to take some pictures of your units that may be finished or close to being finished. At the time we were there we saw about six units in the finished lot awaiting delivery. That lot is on the far side of the factory and not accessible from where we entered the factory. There were about four units that were nearly complete, but awaiting some parts that were shorted in construction. We did see one completed rig with the Midnight Illusion paint scheme. Wow, that one is a stunner!

I'll try to post some pics this week when I figure out how to downsize some of our pics. In the meantime I just wanted to let you know some of what we saw. The facility is relatively new and modern. Everyone we met was very nice and very helpful. I think my first surprise was the age of most of the workers. I was under the impression that many, if not most of the original Travel Supreme workers were brought in for the Entegra production. Most of the workers we saw were under 40 which surprised me. Many of the workers were Amish, particularly in the wood shop.

In a nutshell I came away with the impression that Entegra does do things differently and makes a very high quality unit. The downside would have to be that they are trying to make everything almost standard which means that there is very little variation in floor plans and more glitz than practicality in their layouts. Also we saw everyone hustling almost to a point of running which bothers me with the potential for error.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:27 PM   #16
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Interesting comment about the pace of things. When we visited the factory in June I was struck with the slow, relaxed pace that everyone seemed to be on at the time. Hopefully because it was a Friday the pace was quicker than normal and that is not getting to be the new normal. That is certainly a concern when you have such a backlog of orders that you do not take the time necessary to maintain high quality. Here's hoping that what you observed is not normal.

Gene
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:30 PM   #17
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Hi Wnytaxman,



Appreciate you taking
time out to share your
factory trip thoughts...


Glad to hear that
you found the
visit informative.


Hope that Entegra
will continue
to build upon
their reputation
as an industry
leader in the
highest quality
motor coaches with
superb customer service.
We quite like their
floorplans and find
the glitz-level is
just about right
for us.


As far as the ++ operating
tempo on the assembly
floor, agree with you
that this could certainly
cause quality control issues.

Hopefully, their
quality-assurance
folks are taking their
time to do the detailed
QA inspections
at the end of production
to ensure that no unit
leaves the facilty with
any major issues.
So important
in sustaining the
integrity commitment
to top-quality
that customers consider
synonymous with
Entegra.


Thanks again
for your
follow-up !!

Cheers,
Gary & Carol
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann n Gene View Post
Interesting comment about the pace of things. When we visited the factory in June I was struck with the slow, relaxed pace that everyone seemed to be on at the time. Hopefully because it was a Friday the pace was quicker than normal and that is not getting to be the new normal. That is certainly a concern when you have such a backlog of orders that you do not take the time necessary to maintain high quality. Here's hoping that what you observed is not normal.

Gene

Gene, perhaps some of what I noticed was due to it being Friday and perhaps some of it may have been the fact that I was at the Forest River plant the day before. The FR plant was very business like and no one seemed to be overly stressed, but everything was done in a steady business like fashion. The Entegra plant seemed to be more hectic and much more of a "pushing to get things done atmosphere" which I found to be somewhat disconcerting.

I know in my business when it's tax season and we are hustling that mistakes can happen so it is a concern at the Entegra factory. At the same token I should say that everyone seemed to be dedicated to the company and there was literally no one fooling around. I was still very impressed with the quality that seemed to be in these units. They are Built and that is meant to be with a capital B.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wnytaxman View Post
Last Friday I finally got to the Entegra factory and had a chance to tour the facility and meet some of the folks there.......... In the meantime I just wanted to let you know some of what we saw. The facility is relatively new and modern. Everyone we met was very nice and very helpful. I think my first surprise was the age of most of the workers. I was under the impression that many, if not most of the original Travel Supreme workers were brought in for the Entegra production. Most of the workers we saw were under 40 which surprised me. Many of the workers were Amish, particularly in the wood shop.

In a nutshell I came away with the impression that Entegra does do things differently and makes a very high quality unit. The downside would have to be that they are trying to make everything almost standard which means that there is very little variation in floor plans and more glitz than practicality in their layouts. Also we saw everyone hustling almost to a point of running which bothers me with the potential for error.
I don't know if this will provide you any comfort, but when I spent two days watching our 2003 Newmar Kountry Star being built I was amazed at how rushed everyone seemed to be. They were completing seventeen (17 ) units per day back then. Trailers, gassers, & DPs all interspersed on a single production line. Each coach was manually pushed sideways from work station to station on air pillows under the tires, and every station had to be swept clean before the pushing could begin. Amazingly, the "mostly" Amish workers seemed to enjoy the hustling nature of their work and they often pitched in to help another guy finish his task. THAT coach was almost trouble free for the 7 years and 98,000 miles I owned it, and I often wish I still had it.

Does anyone KNOW how many Entrgra is completing each day?
Ed
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:28 PM   #20
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I think that they are at 10-12 per WEEK. They have a goal of putting out 15 per week but in my opinion that may require an addition to the main plant and some kind of expanded capacity at Precision Painting as they appear to be the bottleneck right now.

Gene
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:34 PM   #21
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We visited the factory last Wednesday (August 15) and like Gene did not find it rushed. Our tour director was Tadd Jenkins. He walked us thru each station of the process emphasizing how Entegra focuses on making sure their coaches are well insulated and quiet when driving down the road. We stopped at one station where two guys were laying tile on a Cornerstone - one tile at a time! One of the big differences between Entegra and many of their competitors is that they place the floor cabinets first (like in a house) and lay the tiles up to them.

The slides were of great interest to me and how they insure each one is a perfect fit and square. They actually hang the entire wall full length on the coach. Then they cut out the portion of the wall that will make up the wall of the slide. It is marked so they know exactly where the piece came from.

In the walls, front and rear caps plus the ceiling, they use batting insulation rather than foam. The batting gives them a great R factor and superior sound insulation.

When we got to the cabinetry shop, most of the workers were Amish as expected. Tadd explained that they have an extreme work ethic and do not believe in doing any kind/amount of shoddy workmanship. He explained that once he asked them to put out a few more cabinets in a day and were told they couldn't and wouldn't as it would mean the quality wasn't there. We observed a craftsman putting cabinet fronts in a special jig to insure the corners were perfectly squared. He took us over to an area where finished doors were stored. He pulled out a door that looked like it cam out of my Tiffin. He told us to lift it which each of us did. It was pretty light. He then pulled out a different door that had a gorgeous dark finish and told us to lift it. It told both my wife and I to lift it. He pointed out that the first was comparable to the doors of their competition and the second was one of Entegra's solid core doors.

As we know, the entry steps on Entegra coaches are tiled. They are able to do that because of the x bracing they use which helps holds the flooring solid and allowing the suspension to do its job.

Tadd says they are currently building 2 coaches per day.

These are just a few of our observations and we are convinced they build a top quality coach. Is it January yet?!?
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:19 PM   #22
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Tom, I would definitely have to agree with your obervation about the quality. They seem to really have thought out the construction of their units. One of the biggest things I noticed was the huge amount of lumber used in the construction of each unit. I grew up in the lumber business and I can tell you that they were using lumber at least as good as what is used in most stick homes. My only downside of the construction process was the hurried nature at some of the work stations and, as others have noted, it could be more of one time thing than a pattern.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:25 PM   #23
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Here are two units we saw at the Entegra factory. One is a Cornerstone which I believe was in for repairs and the other was a finished unit on the lot.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:56 AM   #24
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Well it was a great week at the factory with a tour after hour so no noise...got all the minor problems fixed and enjoyed making more entegra friends....Several of the folks here left Monday for the Indy FMCA Rally but we were able to meet Joyce before she left...and she is as sweet ever and the entire Customer Service Staff is awesome...working hard to keep 500+ owners happy and problem free as fast as possible....and they do it all with a smile!!!! as you have seen Gary has posted the pictures from our trip...
Also while we were there the parent company Jayco gave the use of 2 C class RV to the tour of Duty group of 24 bicyclist from Australian and American firefighters, military and Police officers that started in California and are riding to Ground Zero New York to arrive on 9/11...and funds collected along the way will support the wounded warriors project and New York police and fire widows and childrens fund......the Bontrager Family certainly do care for the community and our country....gave us a very warm fuzzy feeling
We are heading to the Precision Paint on Monday evening so will get more pictures there!!!
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