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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Quality Control in RV Industry?

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mlts22

Austin, Texas

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Posted: 03/02/12 01:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Call me crazy, but why not just put the workers on salary (with bonuses for doing it right the first time), have not just an inspector eyeball the finished product, but have it inspected at every major stage, because a screwed up wiring job is far easier to fix before the outer walls go on and the furniture goes in than after. In almost every big project, this is how things are done -- stuff gets built, QA guy inspects, corrections are made if needed, and it goes to the next stage.

I doubt China or Japan would affect the US RV industry. Mainly because there are not enough sold that economies of scale by mass producing things like fiberglass shells would be feasible. However, I would be leery if they did enter the industry... there would be a chance it would be yet another US job source destroyed just like electronics, bicycles, steel, and many others.

Francesca Knowles

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Posted: 03/02/12 01:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't kid yourself!

China's already IN the American RV industry...they just ship the parts over here to be assembled by Skilled American Workers.

They don't ship whole units because most of them are so flimsy they wouldn't survive the trip.


" Not every mind that wanders is lost. " With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien

daveshan

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Posted: 03/02/12 01:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had to click on this just to see how the OP could use "quality control" and "Rv industry" in the same sentence.

Pretty much agree it's up to the initial buyer to get things set right.


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ktmrfs

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Posted: 03/02/12 02:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PBS had a show on the Amish recently. One segment showed the Amish workers in the RV plants and talked to them. While the Amish workers seemed to be great workers, boy did they fly! they would run from one step to the next, hooking and unhooking air tools. what struck me from year in mfg is that doing that for 8 hrs or more must take a toll on quality. doing roof rafters there was NOT a tape measure in site. they relied on what looked like smal tick marks on framing members for alignment, the bam, bam bam. In the segment they showed, there was not a jig or fixture in sight for any assembly work. that included wall assembly, roof assemblies, axle installation. Second, the work is so fast it looked like it would be hard for any worker to analyze what they were doing and be able to point out areas for improvement or catch anything but a big error during assembly.


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bioman

Pullman

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Posted: 03/02/12 02:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My TH was assembled by an angry 6 year old. Parts misaligned, pieces missing, forgotten sealant, etc. Three pages of warranty items before it even left the lot and I'm working on a new list since getting it home.

Agree the industry is leaving it up to the consumer to complain. I bet someone in an office somewhere found that they could put out low quality product at a lower cost and still be able to increase their profit margin due to people NOT warranting the little stuff.

My "local" dealer is 1.5 hrs away. With the price of fuel it better be a pretty significant issue for me to drag the TH back, leave it for a period of time then a return trip to bring it home.

To end on a positive note: my 2009 Mallard 18CK had 0 issue after 3 seasons of camping. Much better build quality compared to the new TH.


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mlts22

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Posted: 03/02/12 02:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wonder if the answer would be finding a place that can custom build coaches. Of course the price would be higher, but I wonder if it would be that much more.

I can see a niche for a company between the Airstreams and the entry level RVs, where the TTs are made with top quality materials, and assembled/inspected with some reasonable care, and the choice for parts is more than the absolute cheapest at the time. Additionally, they are engineered for easy replacing of items, be it furniture, flooring, or ceilings, so damage from a leak is easily mitigated. What this would do is result in a RV that would have resale value, and just the name itself would mean that a 10 year old model would likely still be servicable.

I see this with Airstreams -- people pay $5000 for a 1970s model, pay $10,000 to have it completely renovated (or more if they want a period restoration), and the result is a well built camper with every component assembled meticulously. It would be nice to see a builder that makes conventional coaches of comparable quality, but offering family friendly options such as multiple slides, onboard generators, fuel stations, and the like. Instead of going with the cheapest slide mechanism out there, going with one that can last the longest.

JayWalker2009

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Posted: 03/02/12 03:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Markiemark32 wrote:

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 doubt you will find much demand for a Six Sigma background in the RV industry. certainly they could benefit from this methodology, but they aren't going to go to the trouble. Their sales have not been affected by their current QA procedures, therefore they don't feel enough heat to bother changing it.

The main reason is because industry standard for RV's are much more lenient than they are with the auto industry. Until they find a need for change, i don't think they will put the time and commitment into it.

Jayco is one mfg that I think does a decent job in QA and customer satisfaction. I personally have been very satisfied with my Jayco TT and the level of service Jayco has provided, but the RV industry as a whole has not adopted six sigma as far as I know, and until they do, I don't think one black belt inquiry is going to change that process. Changing this mindset will be a slow and arduous process

* This post was edited 03/02/12 04:05pm by JayWalker2009 *

dqdick

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Posted: 03/02/12 06:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mlts22 wrote:

I wonder if the answer would be finding a place that can custom build coaches. Of course the price would be higher, but I wonder if it would be that much more.

I can see a niche for a company between the Airstreams and the entry level RVs, where the TTs are made with top quality materials, and assembled/inspected with some reasonable care, and the choice for parts is more than the absolute cheapest at the time. Additionally, they are engineered for easy replacing of items, be it furniture, flooring, or ceilings, so damage from a leak is easily mitigated. What this would do is result in a RV that would have resale value, and just the name itself would mean that a 10 year old model would likely still be servicable.

I see this with Airstreams -- people pay $5000 for a 1970s model, pay $10,000 to have it completely renovated (or more if they want a period restoration), and the result is a well built camper with every component assembled meticulously. It would be nice to see a builder that makes conventional coaches of comparable quality, but offering family friendly options such as multiple slides, onboard generators, fuel stations, and the like. Instead of going with the cheapest slide mechanism out there, going with one that can last the longest.


Couple places in Kansas custom build 5th wheels. Two problems with that. First you have to be well off to afford them and second you need an HDT to pull them. Other than that great workmanship.


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mwebber78

New England

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Posted: 03/02/12 07:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Youy couldn't sell your service to them as producing a higher quality unit to please a customer or dealer. You'd have to sell your service as reducing warranty costs, build time, and reducing re-work. Otherwise, they wouldn't give a squat.


2013 Jayco Eagle 334RBTS
Disclaimer for the daft: Don't confuse my opinion with facts.


Cloud Dancer

San Antonio and Livingston TX USA

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Posted: 03/02/12 08:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The quality control that everyone dreams about would raise the cost of the unit too much. Our opinion on this doesn't count. If it's what the manufacturer decides, that's what you get. The only choice you have is take it or leave it.
I know that good quality is available, but only if you can afford a Newell or Foretravel. I couldn't, but I wanted a big diesel pusher, so I bought a Newmar.
But, it's OK for you to wish for a foreign built RV, and to compare RV manufacturing to automobile manufacturing. Wishing is free.


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