October '17

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30 • RV PRO • October 2017 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S dealers: The company's sale to Thor means Jayco is in a better position than ever to make strides to catch up on that backlog and continue to produce quality products. Breaking the Backlog During remarks by Thompson at the breakfast the first full day of the Dealer Homecoming, Jayco announced it had received approval for funding from Thor to build a 237,000-square-foot mega-facility on its Middlebury, Ind., campus. The facility is expected to add two production lines for the Jay Flight and bring another 300 jobs to the area. "With the successes we've had, we understand the increased demands," Thompson told the crowd. President and CEO Derald Bontrager said he was excited to get the news and credited the partnership with Thor for allowing Jayco to grow at a rate that would not have been possible as a privately held company. "It's the largest building we've ever put up," he said. "We hope to break ground in late September and be operational next spring. "As manufacturers, we like to run with a backlog and build to order when we can. But there is a point when it becomes a detriment. It's something we work at every day to try to figure out ways to reduce our backlog." Over the past year, Bontrager said, Jayco has built and brought online two other 100,000-square-foot production facilities. Those additions, along with other improvements and efficien- cies Jayco has undertaken, have increased production by more than 60 percent over the past three years, according to Bontrager. This new production facility would mean the company could nearly double its production when added to the other improvements. "Product backlogs are a concern for us," Bontrager told dealers during a keynote address. "In spite of these improve- ments, we continue to find ourselves in a backlogged situation. While we, like you, would just love to flip a switch and catch up on demand, it's just not quite that simple. But we keep chipping away at it. It's one thing to build new buildings, but it's another whole new challenge to find qualified production workers. We are taking measured steps to retain the workforce we have. … It's a balancing act to maximize production while keeping product quality high. Rest assured, backlog is at the top of our list." Bontrager said Jayco also has made efforts to help dealers deal with their own backlogs when it comes to servicing units. "When they do show up at your dealership for service, our goal is to minimize the amount of time they spend at your service counter and the time their RV sits at your dealership, waiting for diagnosis or the right part," he said. Jayco recently added onto and completely remodeled its cus- tomer service center to accommodate growth more efficiently. The RV maker also is looking to improve ways to get infor- mation back and forth from the dealership. It is hoped that this process will lead to the right part the first time more often. The Octane T32H toy hauler features the highest profile in a Jayco travel trailer and a new front cap reminiscent of muscle cars. The T32H features a side patio.

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