This topic came up in the Trailer Section thought I would ask all RV’ers:
Mark and Linda wrote:
“I often wonder about the manufacturing process now. I worked in manufacturing for 11 years dealing with automotive parts. We had a lot of rework at times because of wrong parts etc. It takes dedicated people working to produce a product with minimal defects. The final quality control checks should find any defects being produced and reduce them in the future. “
Being a PROCESS IMPROVEMENT (Six Sigma/Lean/Total Quality Management) professional the past 10 years, I also wonder about the manufacturing processes & quality control processes, with all of the RV companies.
Look hard enough, and not looking too hard, there are crazy stories about units that go out with total over-looked defects & poor workmanship from all manufacturers.
One would think the warranty costs, poor press, customer satisfaction, lost sales and general quality issues, would drive these companies to a much stronger culture of process improvement & quality products.
There are a lot of variables(not always mfg fault), but I bet the data is out there, to make true changes & get to root causes, for fixing correctly many of the issues customers are finding.
Does anyone out there know if any of the RV Manufacturers, has (Six Sigma / Lean / TQM) cultures and/or programs as part of their company?
Are defects recorded, teams working on reducing defects and getting to root causes through their manufacturing processes? Compnaies understanding Customer value, etc...
If not maybe, I have found my next job opportunity?
Markiemark; I have toured several of the RV factories. Some have cursory QC, some have none at all. Some have people running full speed, firing brads into every thing that is not moving. I have been to a couple Where the line stops when the QC inspector finds a problem. It requires every one to get involved in the correction process. For the most part QC is perfunctory and little time is spent on it. I was appalled at the screws, nails, pieces of sharp tin laying on the ground outside the door where the final electrical check was plugged in.
If you read posts here much at all you see a theme of poor quality and lack of integrity by RV industry workers and parts manufacturer's. Thankfully there are rare exceptions. I had a 1958 Oasis camp trailer that was going strong when I sold it six years ago. No water damage. Beautiful interior wood work, curved cabinet wood, scallopped edges. Obvious pride. Where did that go? It's not in my current rig. better hope the Japanese never enter the RV industry. Sad but true.
Wonderful wife & 4 Really Fun kids
2008 KIA Sedona 3.8L 24 valve V-6
2001 Bantam Trail Lite B-19
I've seen this in person at the Jayco Factory, and also saw different versions at other Manufacturers Plants.
Granted it's not going to catch everything during production on EVERY UNIT...but the feedback it gives the Management and assembly crews certainly helps everyone understand where the problems are during the process.
The person or crew that are responsible for repeated issues are not given their assembly bonuses, which certainly affects their paychecks. So in theory, the better they do at quality control the more money they take home...and the paradox is that the quicker they build an RV...the faster they can go home!
That's why in RV Assembly line videos, they workers appear to be rushing around. But if their pay is based on piece meal work, they only score the bigger paychecks if their workmanship is on good caliber.
It's not unusual to meet assembly employees that have been there at some of these RV Factories for 20 and 30 years, and even several generations of workers at the facility.
There is a certain ammount of pride involved thatv I have noticed at some of the different brands of RV Factorys too.
My posts shouldn't be taken for factual data, and are purely fictional, for entertainment purposes, should not be constituted as related to scientific, technical, engineering, legal, religious, spiritual, or practical advice. After all it's FREE! Amen.
This issue has been discussed before. Having owned 5 RVs I know there is plenty of room for improvement. Was in the aircraft repair QA business for years and spent 4 yrs as a Malcolm Baldridge evaluator. I really don't think things will change any time soon. Unlike high volume manufacturing plantsa (like auto) the RVs places I've seen (only two) are low volume operations and the assemblers are not highly trained. Statistical QA would be difficult to use effectively in this environment. Also they don't spend enough effort on design. The high end units like Airstream seem to get lot more attention than the less expensive rigs. Our role is to keep reporting problems and buy from the better manufactures, then maybe they'll wake up to the fact that it's always better (for everybody) to do it right the first time.
2011 Silverado 1500 LTZ/Trail Lite 8230
Like it or not, in the RV industry the customer is the quality control engineer. The only difference I've found between brands is who they respond to warranty requests. Keystone's been good to us and we had some major issues. Another brand we had basically left me to fix what needed fixing.
Dick and Joyce
2010 Montana 3665RE
Dodge 2500HD Maxi Cab Laramie Edition
Diego, Norm, & Bitsy
Every MFG I know uses a Poka-Yoke process to guarantee the product is complete and ready for delivery. If the unit fits through the roll up door to the outside it's good to ship.
I would think a few have some lean concept processes in place. I highly doubt any have been able to justify the expense to implement a full on TPS system for making a high mix - low volume production line work. The numbers won't pencil out. No excuse for the lack of quality I know.
Usual problem is everyone thinks labor is where all the expense is. Labor accounts for less than %10 of costs for most manufacturing companies. Reality is that materials are usually > %70 of manufacturing costs. Controlling material costs is the #1 key to profitability. It allows for all other process improvements to follow.
Once a company is on a TPS system, they are more of an "assembly" than a manufacturing co. Boeing is largely a big assembly shop.
* This post was
edited 03/02/12 01:16pm by ArcticDodge *
2009 Komfort 256TS
2001 Dodge Ram 3500 QC 4x4 Cummins DRW
2005 Dodge Durango Limited AWD HEMI
2006 Dodge Charger R/T HEMI
2001 Sebring Convertible
1995 Miata M-Edition
1 Wife 2 Boys UW & Bellevue College
1 Trixie (Bichon Frise)
Only 21 years to retirement!!!!
Process Controls has clearly not become part of the norm for RV manufacturers to date. You would think that the first company to institute a real quality control program would quickly gain a leg-up on the competition, so it makes you wonder why...........
Paul & Sandra
New Bedford, MA
2014 Heartland Cyclone 4100 King
There seems to be a general acceptance among RV consumers that just about every new rig is going to have problems within the first year or two. This has always struck me as strange, and unique to the product.
Who would buy a new car- or any other consumer product- with that kind of expectation???
The cost benefit to the industry is twofold- not only can they churn out product quicker with less scrutiny, but many resulting problems are just fixed by the buyer because taking it back for repairs can be such a hassle.
As long as consumers continue to accept this status quo, I see no reason for the industry to care about "quality control".
" Not every mind that wanders is lost. " With apologies toJ.R.R. Tolkien
Quality Control will improve when a imported MH is better than what we can get today. Just like the auto industry, competition will drive change. I would rather purchase a US made product but the US industry has to change.