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Old 11-06-2015, 07:00 PM   #1
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Post from someone who visited 4 different RV plants

I saw this post on the irv2.com forum and thought it would be interesting to post here as it is about RV manufacturing quality control. It goes into individual factories QC within a major brand. This sentence from the author pretty much outlines the post. "All of them fell under the Forest River umbrella but although they shared the same parent company, they couldn't be more different." This content was posted by the irv2 forum name "mojoracing" and I have that persons permission to post it here. I included the link at the bottom to the whole thread.


My point to what I'm about to tell you is that "brand, or more accurately, who assembles them, matters. Monday and Tuesday of this week I had the good fortune to visit four different trailer and fifth wheel assembly plants. All of them fell under the Forest River umbrella but although they shared the same parent company, they couldn't be more different.
The four companies were Cedar Creek, XLR toy haulers, Sierra and Wolfpack/Cherokee. While all seemed to be very good products based on their price points, there was a huge difference as to the energy and pride put into their assembly. We have all heard the term "Amish built" when speaking of and about the RV industry and perhaps the woodworking and cabinetry that goes into RV's. I have also heard some mention that it was a farce and that some companies used the term purely in a marketing sense. I can tell you that it in fact is a "feature that those companies that employee the Amish should use as a major selling point.
While at the cedar creek plant, I noticed that near the entire workforce was Amish. I was later told that 98% of the folks working there were Amish. They were energetic, friendly and very proud of their work. I noticed that they literally ran between jobs. They ran to get the next part needed and even jogged to go eat lunch so they could be back working as soon as possible. I also noticed, unlike other plants that their work seemed much more focused and although it was being performed at breakneck speed, the attention to detail was there. Even the way the unit came off line was massively different.
Once a unit is built, all plants had an area where they used red tape to go around and mark areas or things that needed further attention. In the Amish plants, there was very little red tape and when I looked for the reason they had red taped it, I either couldn't find the defect or as a consumer, the tiny cosmetic defect would have gone unnoticed. At the non amish plant, the amount of red tape was staggering. To their credit, they did find the defects and I assume repaired them but I don't think many of the issues should have occurred in the first place. Even the cleanliness of the units varied greatly. The amish units were literally spotless while the other plants left something to be desired. For instance, a look inside a cabinet revealed a large layer of dust. Not so in the amish units.
Now, some of this could fall back on plant management and what they expect out of their teams. In all fairness, Cedar Creek is a higher price point than the others but what Im talking about doesn't cost money. The line workers at the other plants just didn't have the enthusiasm for their jobs like the amish workers did and you saw that pride show through.
My trip was extremely interesting in all facets and all the plants really seemed to build nice products but I did take mental note of one thing. Before I buy my next RV, I will visit all the plants that build the units I am considering. Trust me when I tell you, it won't take you five minutes to know what units to exclude and what units stand head and shoulders over the competition. This also applies to the components and construction techniques used. Id also like to say that I have no allegiance to these brands as I don't currently own, nor am I looking to purchase a towable rv. I did also come to some independent conclusions as to what I would look for as far as construction techniques in my next RV by using my own common sense and limited construction experience. Again I didn't write this to sway anyones opinion or to bad mouth any brand. Im simply stating my admiration for the values and pride the Amish folks exhibited toward their product and livelihood. The rest of America could certainly learn a few lessons from them, I know I did.

Further down the thread mojoracer responds to a few comments.

"
Another big factor is that most of the employees were long term. I mean like 15 years, 17 years, that kind of thing. Also, some were 2nd and 3rd generation employees. One of the most interesting things was that I learned they had no HR department. The Amish police themselves"

"Yes you can paste it to another site. I didn't see them working at a pace that would have contributed to poor build quality. I saw them work8ng at a fast pace and being incredibly efficient. Yes they get paid by the piece but the proof is in the quality as many have stated here. I think a major reason these units have the quality they do is due to the workers being there a long time and being intimately familiar with the product they are building. Many other shops have workers that hear plant A 8s paying 25 cents an hour more and off they go. They barely get the rythm of their job down pat and they're off to the next plan"

Here is the link to the thread:
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f59/visit...ml#post2813574

Visited 4 different RV plants - iRV2 Forums
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:00 AM   #2
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That's good to know. Do Dutchmen use Amish workers.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:50 PM   #3
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That's good to know. Do Dutchmen use Amish workers.
Oh Hell No... I think they only hire crack addicts.

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Old 11-07-2015, 12:56 PM   #4
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Um, Aaron, don't forget the visually impaired that work there too.
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Old 11-07-2015, 02:26 PM   #5
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Um, Aaron, don't forget the visually impaired that work there too.
Blind crack addicts? That explains a LOT!

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Old 11-07-2015, 02:29 PM   #6
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Um, Aaron, don't forget the visually impaired that work there too.
Oh! THAT STUNG
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Old 11-07-2015, 02:39 PM   #7
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Factory Visit


For those that may not have seen my post on the tour heres the link.

As far as quality build, the work & play won hands down.. the "tank" of the 5th wheels. Not as fancy interior but a hoss. The Catalyst was the one I observed being built. No running around in that plant... slow and steady.
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