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Old 04-17-2015, 04:50 AM   #43
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As long as people continue to buy the product at current "quality levels", there is no impetus for change. Jorl said earlier that "quality is free". This is partially true, just as buying a more efficient appliance is free if the operational cost savings pay for the appliance over the life of the appliance. The caveat is that you need the money to invest in the change.

A smart RV company may invest in quality, but the cyclic nature of the business over the years has many companies struggling to stay in business in low times and additional investment burden in the company can mean the diff between solvency and bankruptcy.

This is my opinion as I'm not in finance for the RV industry, but the bottom line is this. If RV consumers don't demand better quality, it won't change. Entry level seems to be the worst and entry level consumers are the least informed about the level of quality in RVs.

Demand isn't complaining on a forum, it's voting with your wallet. If your RV has unacceptable issues at pdi, reject it. Get a lawyer if needed. Research which brands have better quality and buy them instead. Tell potential buyers in a factual manner about issues with specific manufacturers products.

If buyers keep buying what RV manufacturers are selling, they will keep making it.
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:54 AM   #44
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Why is there even a need to discuss Quality?

This idea that the quality is bad because people want it cheap is ridiculous. First rv's are not cheap. Second and more important it costs no more to build it right then it does to do it wrong. Putting screws through the wiring doesn't cost less then putting the screw in the right place. Leaving gaps in caulking and causing leaks is not cheaper then running a full bead. The problem is people keep excepting it and buying crap at overinflated prices.
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:05 PM   #45
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Quote:
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Demand isn't complaining on a forum, it's voting with your wallet. If your RV has unacceptable issues at pdi, reject it. Get a lawyer if needed. Research which brands have better quality and buy them instead. Tell potential buyers in a factual manner about issues with specific manufacturers products.

If buyers keep buying what RV manufacturers are selling, they will keep making it.
Quality is one of the more debated issues on the forum. If you read all of the threads it becomes apparent that none of the manufacturers are able to build a truly quality coach. True some of them have more problems than others but none are near perfect.

Several years ago I spoke with a Marathon owner who was on his way back to the factory. He had some major issues and was livid.

It is tough to make quality decisions when there is such a play of brand loyalty mixed into the evaluations. Also tough to determine what quality really means as it varies widely from person to person based their experience, expectations and core values.

I agree we can vote with our wallet and should get the best product for what we spend. But on some of the threads it has been stated that the show models are rife with flaws. If that is what you are buying after you see the show models you have purchased the quality that was presented.
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:16 PM   #46
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Spent 30 yrs in A/C QA and safety business and spent one whole year looking at different QA programs including a visit to Japan. ( The Japanese workers didn't seem to be any better or more mtivated than in the US and they had lots of inspectors but when they had a problem they took it personally and were really embarassed) but this was years ago.Only have visited one RV manufacturer one of the best ones but have looked at many auto programs. Gordon is right about everyone has a different definition of quality. Most of what you see in the RV area are based primarily on fit and finish issues. My guest is that large RVs will never have the same level as autos becuase of less volume and less automation. RVs are more one off piece work and workers do a lot of different jobs. I downsized from MHs to a small TTs. The mechanical aspects, running gear have always been fairly well designed and reliable in both, similar to autos but the living things (house) tends to be poorly designed and stuck together. My guess is that the workers need more and better training (plus motivation) this is a mangement thing. There is a Quality standard (or was) a QA standard for RVs but it is more of a voluntary guideline and lacked any real inforcement, unlike the ISO standards for the auto industry. My answer is when I get a new RV I go over everything and if I can't get the Dealer/Manufacturer to fix it I do it myself. Not sure anything going to change in the near future.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:05 PM   #47
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Poor quality IS NOT caused by sloppy workers who don't care. It is not caused by poorly trained workers. It is not caused by the desire to maximize profits.

Before quality can be discussed in any meaningful way we need to have a definition of quality. To most quality professionals, quality is not a measure of "goodness." Rather, it is a measure of conformance to specifications. Where there are no detailed specifications (such as in the RV industry), the result is not poor quality. Rather, it is no quality. The concept simply doesn't apply.

The root cause of what we perceive as poor quality is that RVs are not mass produced. Instead, they are individually hand crafted. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that each manufacturer has too many models with too many options. The individual worker probably never produces the same thing twice in a row.

In the auto industry, for example, every part has a specification. Every single piece of wire is specified as to overall length, strip length, wire gauge, insulation color and type, etc. In the RV industry, he knows that he needs to run a wire from here to there. If is happens to be a little long, so it will rub, or a little short so that it is under tension and will eventually pull out. so be it. There is no drawing that he can refer to and look up the required length.

As for the quest to maximize profits, there is a maxim among quality professionals that "Quality is Free." In virtually case, any company in any industry experiences a reduction in overall costs when they implement a real quality system. It is unfortunate that the RV industry hasn't learnde that yet.

Jorl


Sounds like another fan of Dr Edward Deming? For those not familiar with him, he is given a great deal of credit for changing the image of Japan from one who produces "Made in Japan" junk to the high quality products they produce today.

Way back in my working life in manufacturing, our division decided to adopt Japanese manufacturing techniques. This was around 1979. We even hired Dr Deming himself as a consultant.

As stated above, "quality" should be defined as conformance to requirements. Then accurate processes and procedures must be documented, followed, measured, and tracked to produce the product the customer requires.

Dr Deming's most popular book was actually called "Quality is Free" and he does an excellent job of demonstrating how elimination of rework (both on factory floor and as a function of warranty failures) can fund process improvement efforts and yield better profits and happier customers. Our "Quality Assurance" function became that of educators and not policemen. They never actually performed "inspections" on products about to ship.

I understand the point about RVs not being mass produced like toasters but the concepts should still be leveraged IMHO. For such a system to work, employees have to feel empowered to do their jobs and rewarded when they take pride in what they do. I think the lack of pride might be the biggest contributor to quality issues with RVs but it's management's responsibility to create the environment which fosters that pride. This has to come from the top. Adding inspectors to the end of the line isn't the long term answer.

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Old 04-17-2015, 06:21 PM   #48
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Sounds like another fan of Dr Edward Deming? For those not familiar with him, he is given a great deal of credit for changing the image of Japan from one who produces "Made in Japan" junk to the high quality products they produce today.

Way back in my working life in manufacturing, our division decided to adopt Japanese manufacturing techniques. This was around 1979. We even hired Dr Deming himself as a consultant.

As stated above, "quality" should be defined as conformance to requirements. Then accurate processes and procedures must be documented, followed, measured, and tracked to produce the product the customer requires.

Dr Deming's most popular book was actually called "Quality is Free" and he does an excellent job of demonstrating how elimination of rework (both on factory floor and as a function of warranty failures) can fund process improvement efforts and yield better profits and happier customers. Our "Quality Assurance" function became that of educators and not policemen. They never actually performed "inspections" on products about to ship.

I understand the point about RVs not being mass produced like toasters but the concepts should still be leveraged IMHO. For such a system to work, employees have to feel empowered to do their jobs and rewarded when they take pride in what they do. I think the lack of pride might be the biggest contributor to quality issues with RVs but it's management's responsibility to create the environment which fosters that pride. This has to come from the top. Adding inspectors to the end of the line isn't the long term answer.

Rick
I am indeed, a fan of Dr. Deming. I find it ironic that the American auto industry had to go learn from an American quality expert via Japan, in order to compete with the Japanese auto makers on quality.

I (and several others here) have mentioned, the root cause of the problem is that due to low production volume, RVs are essentially hand crafted. In facy, there in a an even more fundamental cause. There are simply too many manufacturers producing too many different models. I have no real data, but I would bet that for every model of auto produced in the U.S., there must be 50 models of RV.

Ford took the auto industry out of the "hand crafted" mode when he put the model "T" (his only model at the time) on an assembly line and said we could have any color we wanted, as long as we wanted black.

Perhaps, it is time for a good strong shake out in the RV industry.

Joel
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Old 04-17-2015, 07:04 PM   #49
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I agree 100% with zmotorsports, everywhere you go no accountability for doing a lousy job . In my shop,you do crappy work,YOUR GONE!!!!, I have a shop motto " RESULTS NOT EXCUSES" no exceptions. This has made it the norm to those who work for me to add a P in front of my first name, thats ok, have come to like my new name,in french it means "quality". As far as the mh, perfection would be nice,not holding my breath for that ,just fix what I have myself,correctly, I might add,and move on..
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:30 AM   #50
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Also a fan of Dr. Deming. Saw a video about him years ago. Funny you should mention the US and Japan. After WWII Dr. Deming tried to work with the American industries but they refuse to listen so he went to Japan and they listened.
That video also said that one of the most honored awards a company can get is called the "Deming Award." They also said that FL Power & Light has that award.

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Old 04-18-2015, 11:57 AM   #51
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Quality is like buying oats. "If you want good, clean, quality oats you must pay a fair price. Howver if you can be satisfied with oats that have gone through a horse, that comes cheaper."

On one hand everyone wants quality and want to pay the least amount possible. On the other hand they want their investments to pay huge dividends or make huge gains on the market. Some of those folks might be complaining about the performance of the stock they hold in the very company they are also complaining about the quality.

Much is said about the Japanese. Much of what they have accomplished is laudable. But they were working from the bottom and had no where to go but up. Our manufacturers have been around for years and are at the top so there is only one way for them to go if they are unable to maintain the peak.

I am not sure about compensation for the Japanese CEO but it seems to be out of step with North American wages and benefits. It seems to be a mark of success for a CEO to have an outrageous salary and bonuses for just doing their job. Bonuses in the millions for just keeping a company from declining to much more. A few years ago a CEO got a 5 million bonus for taking the company into bankruptcy. During the last financial crisis a bank CEO got a 8 million dollar bonus (down from 13 million because of the crisis) for not getting the bank in trouble. And the list can go on.

The entire structure and attitude has to change from what can the company do for me to what can I do to be successful and grow with the company. Money is not the measure we should be using. But the two cars in every garage has taken over our lives.
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:29 PM   #52
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This idea that the quality is bad because people want it cheap is ridiculous. First rv's are not cheap. Second and more important it costs no more to build it right then it does to do it wrong. Putting screws through the wiring doesn't cost less then putting the screw in the right place. Leaving gaps in caulking and causing leaks is not cheaper then running a full bead. The problem is people keep excepting it and buying crap at overinflated prices.
It's not quality that's near as important as workmanship. I shudder to buy anything because it's a crap shoot if it will work as advertised. It takes no more effort to put a correct sized screw in so it is tight and not going through a wire. Using a few small brads and a few dabs of glue to hold up crown moldings is not smart.
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:52 PM   #53
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I think it is skills and workmanship that make a good finished product. The individual needs the skill set and desire to do the work properly. I don't know but I bet a lot of manufactures have a work force based on piece work so the easiest way to make more money is do it faster not better. So it probably pays the same good or bad so what's the incentive for the person building the RV to do a good job? There is none I bet.


My Excursion has a recall, issue is the seats may tear loose from the floor! Fleet wood wants me to take it 30 miles to a dealer and let it sit for weeks. I looked into the issue. What they did was use plastic backing plates under the floor. I know why! they used the shipping hardware from the pallet the seats were shipped on. Too lazy and time consuming to go get the correct hardware to mount the seats correctly so they used the shipping hardware to cut corners. Probably were able to install another set of seats that day so they probably got paid extra for cutting corners. Now Fleetwood wants me to waste my time and fuel to take it to an authorized dealer instead of my local dealer. Fat chance. I do better work than they do any way, I will fix it myself.


This is what we are all up against, I don't see it getting better unless you spend the big money. Maybe the correct question we should all be asking before purchase should be piece work or hourly employees at the factory!
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:44 PM   #54
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Why is there a need to discuss Quality?

Because we the customers have asked for cheaper and cheaper and to make it cheaper company after company has decided to reduce quality and quality control and in many cases (NOTE JUST RV) "Let the customer do the final inspection and fix it under warranty".

That is why need to discuss quality.. Because for too long we have not.

I have nothing more to add to this thread and doubt I will return to it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:04 PM   #55
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Who has purchased an operating system for their computer or any software that works as it should? We understand bad product and expect an upgrade every Tuesday.

Who has their computer set to upgrade automatically?
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:22 PM   #56
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Why is there a need to discuss Quality?

Because we the customers have asked for cheaper and cheaper and to make it cheaper company after company has decided to reduce quality and quality control and in many cases (NOTE JUST RV) "Let the customer do the final inspection and fix it under warranty".

That is why need to discuss quality.. Because for too long we have not.

I have nothing more to add to this thread and doubt I will return to it.
I was in the boat business in the '80s. Bayliner was owned by AMF. Their motto was build it cheap and pretty, fix it under warranty.
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