October '17

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90 • RV PRO • October 2017 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S out of his hands because we say, 'You go put it through all the PDIs you normally go through – all your inspections. And then when you're done, we'll take it five miles down the road, and write a report on every unit.'" Random sampling – selecting one out of, say, 20 units – has its shortcomings. If a customer calls Donati with an issue, he can view that unique PDI report using the serial number and learn what defects there may have been before shipment. "There's something powerful about that information," he says, in what can help deduce the cause of part failure. "Customers also feel relieved when they know you're doing PDI. … If you're delivering 20 units a day, you should be able to do a 20-minute, PDI simu- lation. You reduce your warranty and increase your customer satisfaction. That's huge." He foresees more factory's doing PDI in the future as shipments increase. "We learned enough about our own flaws when we implemented it, and how to fix problems by getting to the root cause," Donati says. "The information is so valuable, I think that's why you're starting to hear about it more." NAFTA & the Canadian RV Industry The past two months have been peppered with meetings between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, to discuss the rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement pact. Signed in 1994, the agreement created a trilateral trade bloc, and has had a definite impact upon Canada's RV industry. Shane Devenish, president of the Canadian RV Association (CRVA), says he doesn't have any special insight regarding what trade officials are plan- ning, but he and his associates have kept an ever-watchful eye on the devel- opments and potential implications a change in NAFTA may carry. He says when NAFTA started in 1994, Canada began to see an influx of RV shipments from the U.S. as trade duties decreased. Back then, a l o t o f C a n a d i a n s u p p l i e r s we re working with manufacturers within the country. "That's not the case today," Deve- nish says. "Because of the Free Trade Agreement, about 98 percent of all RVs shipped into Canada are made in the United States." Today, there's only four or five Cana- dian RV makers that ship product to the U.S., he says. "Obviously, there's a lot of inequality there. If NAFTA is scrapped, 98 per- cent of our units that are shipped into Canada, (the tariffs) are going to go up by 6.1 or 6.5 percent at a time where the Canadian dollar is stabilized, but still hovering around 75 percent (of the U.S. dollar)." It has CRVA members worried. Some 75 percent of Canadian exports are shipped to the U.S. The reason the Canadian RV industry has experienced an upswing in the past year-and-a-half is because things have stabilized. Total wholesale shipments, according to the CRVA, went up by 24.5 percent in the second quarter this year versus the same period in 2016. It's a rising trend seen in the past three years. But with Bank of Canada raising lending rates by 25 base points and changes to NAFTA, the RV industry may very well change in 2018. It's the mystery of "the unknown that concerns" members of the Canadian RV industry, according to Devenish. The topic was brought up during the RVIA Canadian Coalition Committee meeting in June. Canadian and U.S. industry professionals have vowed to keep each other notified of any devel- opments they learn about. "In most of the Canadian provinces, we enjoy the ability to bring in U.S.-cer- tified products," Devenish says. "That was one of the components of NAFTA: To recognize certain industry standards for each other and to make trade easier. We don't want that to be impacted." If only products approved by the Canadian Standards Association make it into the country, it could pose an issue for the Canadian RV industry. Mexico and Canada, however, have agreed to remain a part of NAFTA even if the U.S. pulls out. Devenish says he's concerned about the rate of which negotiations are taking place, but he and Eleonore Hamm, pres- ident of the RVDA of Canada, will meet with RVIA's legal committee in Vancouver later this month in part to discuss the state of the NAFTA negotiations. Devenish

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