October '17

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88 • RV PRO • October 2017 rv-pro.com B y the end of 2017, RV wholesale ship- ments are forecasted to hit 479,700 units. For major manufacturers, that means hundreds of units leaving production floors every day. But with all this rapid growth, a big ques- tion looms: Is quality sacrificed in the pursuit of quantity? While pre-delivery inspection (PDI) comes at an extra cost to the manufacturer, the assurance and investment in new and returning customers is priceless. Trust goes a long way, and PDIs are gaining in popularity with good reason. "I think it's becoming more and more rele- vant," says Claude Donati, CEO of NeXus RV. "I think it's going to be necessary. … If it's not being done by a majority of the manufacturers in two years, those companies will fall behind." NeXus RV, which recently went from a fac- tory-direct model to a traditional dealership net- work, began putting each of its units through PDI in 2015. Those quality tests include a four-page, 150-point inspec- tion, and a 25-mile test drive with two people inside lis- tening for squeaks. Ever y outlet is checked on shore power, invertors, generators, and water temperatures. Taking PDI a step fur- ther, NeXus is converting a 27,000-square-foot facility into a "post-manufacturing assembly line" camping simu- lation with a four-hour inspec- tion. After the RV passes, it is then dispatched. If not, the PDI facility reports directly to NeXus RV President Dave Middleton and Donati rather than NeXus RV's general man- ager, to assure they are kept in the loop about any issues that are discovered. NeXus is part of a growing number of RV makers that do detailed PDIs on their units. Other such RV makers include Grand Design, Jayco and Northwood. "Part of our quality story is that we test everything on the line," says Donald Cochran, Northwood Mfg.'s national sales director. "After (an RV) goes through a station, we'll have that electrical or air test. The other step that we take is a pre-delivery inspection to every single unit after the manufacturing process is completed." Northwood units are held after they are made, and are shipped to a separate PDI area. After- ward, they are taken to transporters for delivery. "Some manufacturers boast how they can ship a product right off the line," says Cochran. "We actually boast that we do not do that." "If you have your quality control reporting to the plant manager, there's always a conflict," says Donati. "The plant manager is trying to push units out the door so everyone gets paid on the piece rate. So, we just take that responsibility NeXus RV owners Claude Donati (left) and Dave Middleton. By David MacNeal Refresh combines the best of RV PRO's breaking news daily website reporting with additional information, context and insights available in magazine format. B U S I N E S S Refresh A more in-depth look at recent breaking news

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