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Old 05-23-2016, 03:41 PM   #57
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That will weed out the poor performing companies as well as the less skilled workers. That would leave only the best of the best.
Right now there's no real incentive for workers to keep their job. If the MFG fires them they can just go next door to the competitors plant. Low wages and no real chance for promotion leaves little incentive to do your best all the time.
The problem is that a recession will weed out the companies that have the lowest margin and the least ability to float. If producing a high quality RV meant that you'd do well in the market, we'd have a lot more high quality RVs. Instead, I think it's the opposite - produce as much product as the market demands. The influence on quality is measured by what dealers get paid for repairs. My guess is that there is no "calculating" the impacting that quality has customer retention - and likely most of us dont buy enough RVs frequently enough for that to be a factor.


There were some amazing RVs in the 2000s that went under, not due to quality issues, but due to the economy itself...

Don't count on a recession to right the quality ship.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:48 PM   #58
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To reiterate 1 topic here-
There is no hourly wage in the RV industry. They are all paid by the piece assembled.
Augusta RV, and the 3 custom builders- New Horizon, SpaceCraft, Forks RV are the only ones that pay hourly.
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:11 PM   #59
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Now I see why my drain and vent pipes weren't glued...."we installed the pipes in the trailer boss, paycheck please". Pretty ridiculous I guess to expect quality when they get paid to build it faster and faster.
The work ethic is gone in America. Sad.
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:37 PM   #60
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To reiterate 1 topic here-
There is no hourly wage in the RV industry. They are all paid by the piece assembled.
Augusta RV, and the 3 custom builders- New Horizon, SpaceCraft, Forks RV are the only ones that pay hourly.
Glassdoor confirms what he's saying (Thor Industries): I can't imagine a WORSE way to impact quality than to pay for speed, although the line does stop if QA catches a problem:

"Pros Piece Rate shop, once you're done with your units you get to go home. Most weeks we only have 35-37 hrs"
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:51 PM   #61
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EGWILLY, the work ethic in america isn't gone it just vacated the RV manufacturing industry. As stated above when you push workers, pay incentives to get product out the door as fast as possible it causes quality to go down the tubes. Someone also stated above that quality disappears when workers are paid by the piece. I agree with that, it happens. If management did care about the products they ship they would insure the rv's going out the doors meet customer acceptable quality. NO , quality craftsmanship doesn't have to cost more. Cost difference between units is a result of more bells and whistles, glitter and sizzle. More equipment same crap craftsmanship.
We the consumers are the big dummy's for putting up with it.
Why is it when somebody spends 50 thousand on a new car that has a gazillion more parts that there are virtually no defects compared to an rv. Manufacturers care about their brand preference.

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Old 05-23-2016, 08:09 PM   #62
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Why is it when somebody spends 50 thousand on a new car that has a gazillion more parts that there are virtually no defects compared to an rv. Manufacturers care about their brand preference.
CLIFF
A couple answers to that:

1) Cars are mostly NOT made by humans. They're assembled by robots. Form factors are much more similar to each other than RVs are. When cars were assembled by humans, it was relatively skilled humans that had a life-long stake in keeping that company healthy. Auto union workers received bonuses on company profits. They were not paid "by the job" and allowed to go home early if they could push more stuff through the line.

2) Cars have multi-year warranties and strong legal consumer protection (lemon laws). Most states don't cover RVs.

3) There are enough cars of the same make and model that there businesses built up around continuously testing and reporting on their quality. These metrics have a direct measurable affect on sales. No one wants to be last, as it really hits the business.

4) We buy a LOT of cars. Frequently. As such, many people have brand loyalty and both manufacturers and dealers have a stake in retaining that business long term. I know lots of people with cars, maybe 1 in 100 or so with an RV.
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:22 AM   #63
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It is worth adding that the problem starts in the front office not the assembly line. It is as easy or easier to create an incentive program that rewards workers for doing a good job instead of a fast job. There are good studies that show it is even cheaper to do it right once than to do it fast and fix it later. Management should know that and should be using those tools to get better quality if they are concerned with quality. The fact that they do not operate that way tells me a lot. YMMV.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:09 PM   #64
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It is worth adding that the problem starts in the front office not the assembly line. It is as easy or easier to create an incentive program that rewards workers for doing a good job instead of a fast job. There are good studies that show it is even cheaper to do it right once than to do it fast and fix it later.
Those studies are typically for companies than have to deal with the "fix it" costs directly. RV companies than can push most defects off on to their dealer network and they have direct control over those costs via a negotiated labor rate, directly set number of labor hours, etc. My guess is that it's actually cheaper to have dealers resolve non-factory-return defects than it would be to pay for the skilled line labor and decrease in factory output necessary to reduce production quality issues. These are multi-million dollar businesses that typically have business intelligence teams to figure this stuff out.

Keystone pays for an issue with the dealer network once. They set the number of hours they are willing to pay and how the repair will be made. Once that repair is made, all subsequent repairs of the same time are a problem between the consumer and the dealer. If they were paying retail costs and had to subscribe to best-practices repair methodologies, my guess is the line quality might become more important.


Dealer doesn't like it? They don't get to sell that product. That's a lot of leverage.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:46 AM   #65
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Not arguing. My point was that it starts with decisions made in the Front Office not the production crew. Trying to blame the assembler misses the real target.

It did occur to me to add that there also seems to be a correlation between quality and where the work is done. Companies that make their own sub assemblies also seem to be the one's with fewer quality issues because they have more control to do something when they see an issue.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:34 AM   #66
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The RV makers could move east to Chicago and have access to a huge supply of highly motivated, industrious and intelligent Polish and Mexican workers. But they'd have to pay more for the better help. They could even stay in Indiana and move to the heavily industrialized Hammond area and benefit from a large supply of quality help--in my considerable experience Hoosiers from <NW> Indiana are excellent help. But they'd still have to pay more.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:45 AM   #67
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The RV makers could move east to Chicago and have access to a huge supply of highly motivated, industrious and intelligent Polish and Mexican workers. But they'd have to pay more for the better help. They could even stay in Indiana and move to the heavily industrialized Hammond area and benefit from a large supply of quality help--in my considerable experience Hoosiers from <NW> Indiana are excellent help. But they'd still have to pay more.
I'm not sure where you think the RV makers are but Newmar, Thor and several others are already in NW Indiana in the Elkhart, South Bend, Mishawaka area.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:47 AM   #68
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Not arguing. My point was that it starts with decisions made in the Front Office not the production crew. Trying to blame the assembler misses the real target.

It did occur to me to add that there also seems to be a correlation between quality and where the work is done. Companies that make their own sub assemblies also seem to be the one's with fewer quality issues because they have more control to do something when they see an issue.
Wasn't meant as a challenge - just more discussion.
I think these are C-level decisions and often - done by analysis of metrics with an eye toward the bottom line. It's very hard to calculate the impact to future business. Very easy to calculate the impact to current business.

RVs seem to mostly be sub-assemblies of differing companies, unfortunately...

My major complaint isn't really the quality of what comes out of humand-driven line structures that are incented for speed, but what bothers me is how some (not all) RV companies lack a sense of urgency or responsibility after the unit has been delivered to a dealer.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:59 AM   #69
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Wasn't meant as a challenge - just more discussion.
I think these are C-level decisions and often - done by analysis of metrics with an eye toward the bottom line. It's very hard to calculate the impact to future business. Very easy to calculate the impact to current business.

RVs seem to mostly be sub-assemblies of differing companies, unfortunately...

My major complaint isn't really the quality of what comes out of humand-driven line structures that are incented for speed, but what bothers me is how some (not all) RV companies lack a sense of urgency or responsibility after the unit has been delivered to a dealer.

It's the balance sheets. Most of these RV manufacturers are not Mom & Pop operations anymore. They are full fledged Corporations. Which have a fiduciary requirement to provide added share value to their shareholders. As I stated earlier "We are NOT their customers." We are the consumer, we provide the vehicle to which share value increases or decreases. And we (in general) are not providing an incentive to the Corporation to increase quality. Since we purchase their products regardless of manufacturing defects.

The manufacturers are deferring their outgoing costs for fixing defects to the dealers, where it may actually be cheaper as someone said earlier. But also, since they report revenue quarterly, if they can deflect their outlays to the next quarter, they can make the current fiscal quarter look better.

If you want things to get better, we need to start playing within their rule sets. They have different motivations than the rest of us.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:39 AM   #70
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I'm not sure where you think the RV makers are but Newmar, Thor and several others are already in NW Indiana in the Elkhart, South Bend, Mishawaka area.
I know where they are--in north central Indiana. NW Indiana area is generally considered that part of Indiana from Michigan City east along the Lake to the Illinois line; I used to work over there out of Local 374 once in awhile, in the mills and refineries.

Look at a map---you'd have to be very generous with what you consider west to consider Elkhart in the western part of the state. Indeed, it appears to be closer to Ohio than to Illinois.
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