June '16

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rv-pro.com JUNE 2016 • RV PRO • 19 With the Keyed Alike system, each external door to an RV can be loaded with tumblers that are made exactly alike, requiring only a single key to perform all of those functions. But for Bruce Bacon, president of engi- neering with Bauer Products, there was more than just consumer convenience at play. There was a bottom-line problem. "What we really noticed once we got into the RV industry is that there is a tre- mendous amount more warranty claims (than in horse trailers)," he says. "When we got those back, we could tell most of the time it was because people were sticking the wrong key in the lock cylinder. We tried saying, 'Why don't we try this?' but we kind of got rejected by the door companies. ... We kind of let it go to the back-burner and then we started getting emails from RV users saying they have two entrance doors on their trailer and they're keyed differently. Why would we do that to them?" Rather than point fingers, Bacon says he set about trying to convince manufacturers of the benefits of the Keyed Alike system. The response, he says, was an over- whelming, "Yeah, but …" In other words, it sounded like a great idea, but manufacturers couldn't possibly slow down the process to ensure they had the exact doors with the exact same locks on them when building the RVs and wouldn't have time to swap the doors out at the end of the process if they had loaded the wrong ones. The Right Partner Bacon gives a lot of credit to Lippert's McKinnon for finally helping him make the breakthrough at the OEM level. McKinnon was able to think about the situation from the perspective of the door manufacturer. Together with Bacon, he was able to come up with an assembly-line system that would allow manufacturers to build the trailers and fluidly leave the lock installation until the end of the process. "To get them to go out our door matching orders with trailers just wasn't Bruce Bacon, president of engineering for Bauer Products, is pictured next to his computer, which displays a picture of one of the company's door locks. Bauer Products expanded into the RV market after many years of providing locking products for the horse trailer market. Jon Bacon, president of operations for Bauer Products, shows off an electronic RV entry door latch made by the company. Bauer Products' locks for RV doors and baggage doors are found on many popular models today.

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